In her first poetry collection, Living the Season Well, Jody Lee Collins challenged readers to consider the season of Christmas in a different way. Her second collection, Hearts on Pilgrimage, used the four seasons as metaphors for living a faithful life.
In her third and new collection, Mining the Bright Birds, Collins considers the eternal. You reach an age when the rush and tumult of marriage-job-children-career calm down, or at least move into more serene waters. And the eternal, because it’s the eternal that’s drawing closer, becomes more important.
She divides the collections 45 poems into four sections: Waiting Spaces, Tuning, Seasons, and Wayfinding. She uses the physical, the seasonal, the natural world, the everyday, and the spiritual as metaphors or guideposts to point the way.
The poems reflect the time of life when most (if not all) of the shouting is over. They’re less about what you want to do with your life and more about reflection of a life lived and what lies ahead. She’s connecting, or re-connecting, to the natural world, looking to it as a compass for thinking and moving forward. And like the collection’s title indicates, the birds have much to tell us.
This shady place, shrouded
with the shushing of trees,
cathedral of water-sounds
borne on leaves.
Here is worship in the wind
bending carillon chimes,
blowing clouds, leaving blue.
Praises lift in birdsong
Do you hear him?
Is He not wonderful,
our Creator God?
I concur and continue to
catch the small cacophony—
an anthem to His presence—
without any words, save those
written within me.
|Jody Lee Collins|
These poems are a joy to read. They’ll resonate if you’re more along in years. They’ll encourage if you’re younger. No matter age you might be, they’ll still your spirit and your soul.
Collins retired from elementary education after a 25-year career and has written non-fiction and poetry for numerous online sites, including Altarwork, Jennifer Dukes-Lee, Grace Table, and (in)courage. She serves on the worship team at her church, and she and her family live in the Seattle area. What she has included in this compact book has been distilled from lessons she learned from her students, her children, and her grandchildren.
Some Monday Readings
East End Women at Work – Spitalfields Life.
Wind turbines may be killing whales. Why won’t Greenpeace admit it? – Matt Ridley at The Spectator.
Yesterday – artwork by Sonja Benskin Mesher.