In this new collection, Lewis finds God in the curve of the hawk’s beak and in bends in the road.
The working title of this book, the author says, was Searching for God, and her verse demonstrates that she’s still energetically involved in that search. Readers will see evidence of it frequently, as in the early piece “Dirt Road”: “If there was a dirt road from earth to heaven, / I know, I wouldn’t be the only one / who would start walking, / and never look back. / One night I imagined / I did just that.” This is Lewis writing as she often does, with simple diction, accessible imagery, and an unpretentious tone. Perhaps her closest relative among contemporary authors is Mary Oliver, who also makes writing poetry look easy; like her, Lewis sees the presence of God in nature and traces the divine fingerprints that she sees all over the natural world: “Pandas eating bamboo / amid green forests of China; / Zebras running wild / over the straw-colored African savannah / … / share the common bond of / being brought to you by God.” In repeatedly returning to the divine presence in the physical, Lewis keeps her poetry grounded in the comforting realities of the tangible world. The book’s subtitle indicates that it features both “poems and prose poems,” and its only weakness is that it sometimes gets baggy when it dips into the latter. Take, for instance, these lines from “Origins and Connections”: “While I agree with the premise, I believe Thich Nhat Hanh’s / starting point is wrong. He left out the most necessary / component.” Its hedging makes it sound a bit like an undergraduate philosophy essay. Lewis is at her best when she cuts such extraneous language away, leaving readers with essential truths.
A tenderly conceived record of a poet’s efforts to walk with God.