If there is such a poetry genre as “gentle voice,” Chris Yokel may be the master of it. His newest collection, A Child’s Year: Poems, only underscores that. Its 43 poems display a quiet, gentle beauty that force you to stop and consider the world around you.
The poems are organized by seasons. More importantly, they are written with the simplicity of a child’s heart. We experience Lent as a child, we wonder at tragedies like plane crashes as a child, we walk through woods and taste snow like a child. Elements of wonder and subtle amazement permeate the poems and their subjects.
Consider the mountains, where God “walks the stones in a whirlwind.”
The mountains are always drawing
us toward worlds unknown—
realms shrouded in mist at the peak of heaven
where God walks the stones
in a whirlwind,
and we long to behold his
face in a cloudbreak
till our souls are shaken
and stripped of all dross,
and we descend with both
a little less, and
a little more than who we were.
Yokel has published several books of poetry, including A Year in the Weetamoo Woods, Elements, Sketches, and Sunrise. His poems have appeared in The Curator, Tweetspeak Poetry, The Molehill and other publications. He’s a regular contributor to The Rabbit Room. He has also recorded and released two CDs, “The Rain That Falls” and “The Color and The Light.” Currently teaching writing and literature to college students, he lives in Massachusetts.
Reading A Child’s Year is hearing the admonition to “suffer the little children unto me.” I’m finding licorice again on a shelf in the garage. I watch my father make snow ice cream for the first time. I’m playing hide-and-seek in the woods near my childhood home. And I’m reminded of what it means to have a simple heart.
Top photograph by Jordan Whitt via Unsplash. Used with permission.