Debut author Stevens celebrates interpersonal relationships in this slim collection of Christian poetry.
In this book, God’s omnipresence is felt in poems ostensibly directed at others, such as “Daughter,” which begins, “No one has forgotten you! / For the least not He. / He who reigns, / Who is / And always / Will be.” Stevens’ poems find God in the space between people: friends, lovers, relatives, or anyone who can share an intimate, human moment. There are poems here about love, including one about the emotional blindness that it can cause: “In love / But can’t see; / The smile on your face / The glance or question, / Intrigue in your eyes. / The pout and annoyance / Of your mouth when sad.” The poem “Surgical Team” is an ode to doctors’ altruism: “New adventures, methods / To achieve what is needed / And desired to treat. / Patients, all kinds / None without need.” The late poem “Sorrow” is a cry for deliverance from the titular emotion: “Take my hand, / Let me see; / Are you here / To assist and guide me? / Lord, I have / Reached for you / And you have / Witnessed my sorrow.” There are also a handful of short prose pieces, as well as lovely full-color illustrations by the author that effectively evoke the serenity of Japanese landscape drawings. Stevens’ free-verse compositions contain some lovely, surprising lines, as in the opening of “The Many”: “For you, / Because there is / A cause amongst / Us all and it is / Called forever.” However, she also has a tendency to hide behind abstract language, making many of the verses less powerful than they might otherwise have been. More successful are prose pieces such as “North Sea Storm,” which tells an emotional story of waiting for a friend who’s driving at night in terrible weather. The narrator begins to fear that her friend is lost. “How my heart sank! Where was she to be? Do I wait, seek or listen? What to do?” The answer ends up being something close to prayer.
An uneven but earnest book of devotional verse.