Essence of Life: Poetry & Life in Motion 1
by Jennifer Fahie
Stratton Press

"The Lord my God will see to all."

In this selection of eighteen poems, Fahie presents reflections on morality and life, many of which pay homage to biblical lessons. For example, "Human Law" weaves together the Ten Commandments with descriptions to help modern-day readers relate to them, while other poems like "Daniel" and "A Sign" interpret stories from the Bible and stress what they can teach devoted Christians. Such themes continue throughout the book, even amid a gradual shift towards especially intimate and contemporary issues, including racial biases, social injustices, and personal relationships. "Consequences," for instance, calls for a reevaluation of the punishments for serious crimes. Meanwhile, a later piece, "Relationships (Void and Null)," discusses the gulf that has developed between a couple over time due to their neglected relationship.

What makes these poems resonate so well is their distinctive vitality. They feel like brief conversations with a friend, dominated by goodwill, in which Fahie encourages the need to be grateful for blessings but also aware that the world has its shadows to overcome. Additionally, although several of the pieces are serious in nature, most of them are hopeful and uplifting. That comfy tone draws in readers and keeps them invested in discovering what topic might pop up next. The general format is also worth noting, as the pieces alternate in alignment from left to right as if they are dancing. More than a few have rhyme schemes, adding a certain musicality to the work as a whole. Taken together with the strong narrative voice, this collection offers an active, upbeat, and memorable read.

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