Prayer and poetry mingle and fuse in this debut collection of Christian verse.
Duncan announces the intentions for her volume before readers see even a scrap of her verse. On an early page in her book, she reproduces in its entirety the Lord’s Prayer, whose opening lines are familiar to many: “Our Father which art in heaven, / Hallowed be thy name.” Unsurprisingly, then, much of what follows is Christian devotional poetry that sings God’s praises and asks for Jesus’ comfort. Accordingly, here are a few stanzas from “The Living Bread”: “For I am Yours Lord, / And I need your help, / Life has taken from me, / More than I can tell, / But you are my friend, Lord, / Your salvation is what, / I’ve found, / No matter how bad, / It hurts.” In its content, such work is a fitting follow-up to the Lord’s Prayer; it speaks to the author’s trust in God and her faith that his son is both succor and savior. But what is perhaps less obvious are the ways in which Duncan’s poetry deftly follows the Lord’s Prayer in its form and style. The prayer is a model of compactness and approachability. Its diction is plain and accessible, and its structure is balanced. The same things can be said of Duncan’s writing. Take as an example the closing movement of her poem “Victory”: “The devil comes to kill, / And destroy, / But he will not prevail, / He will not, because he cannot, / For Christ lives, / And his resurrection is real, / In Jesus there is a victory, / Let it never be forgot, / That for this world, / He came, / And He will always be, / Our Mighty Rock.” Here, as in the Lord’s Prayer, the poet’s diction is unpretentious, and her syntax is simple and direct; further, the commas are fulcrums on which carefully composed lines stably rest.
An elegant and heartfelt tribute to the words of God.