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  Poetry Review    

 

With Glory and Honor:
Daily Devotions for Each Day of the Year
by
Barbara Longstreth Mulkey
America House Book Publishers. 2002
Paperback, $24.95 (389pp)
ISBN:1-59129-144-5
 
 
 

I’m not a great fan of dribbly thoughts about religion that are iced over with sugarcoated pious overtones of underthought theology.  Occasionally, however, something sticks out in the literature that catches my eye—something that is based on Biblical principles and that approaches the sublime and empirical truth: With Glory and Honor is, in my opinion, one of those works.  

As with other considered pieces, such as The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, or My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, Mulkey’s poems at once speaks of truths within truths, and do not simply echo already-stated scripture. 

The book is organized into a collection of Scripture references, original poetry relating to those references (by Mrs. Mulkey) and a relevant thought for the day (also by the author)...one for each day of the year.  On the back cover of her book, Mulkey maintains that her poetry is not “preachy,” and I find that it is not.  It is simply reflective and based upon her own experience and understanding.  As a wife of a retired United Methodist Minister, she has a deep well of experience to draw from, you may agree. 

Barbara was also the director of the Arkansas Writers’ Conference this last year and has taught English and journalism as well as being in a weekly newspaper column and a poetry editor.  She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

I quote now from selected pages of her book that I found to be significant:

From January 24th

A Word 

There’s nothing else in all the world
as lovely as a word.
As gorgeous as a sunset is
or radiant redbird.
yet still the word of kindness ranks
as beauty unsurpassed.

 

For though I marvel at the sight
of snow, it will not last,
and while a tree, in autumn shades
of red and burnished gold
with sunlight playing on the leaves,
is something to behold…
 
there is nothing so exquisite
as just the one right word
spoken at the one right moment
it needed to be heard.

Some snippets come to mind also:

From March 5:

                             If God forgives and clears the slate
                             And calls for us to dwell
                             In present light…not prior night…
                             Why keep ourselves in hell?

Her “Thought for the Day:”

“I will try to forget my past mistakes and misdeeds, accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive myself.  I will move on into the light.” 

From February 9:

                             And if we ask for faith then plead,
                             “Let no troubles come our way,”
                             it isn’t really faith we want,
                             but ease and plenty from earth’s font.

This, from November 21 (about Thanksgiving Day)

                             One day each year that’s set aside
                             For giving thanks to God
                             Seems extremely insufficient
                             And just a little odd.
 
                             What with all the days we’re given—
                             Three-hundred-sixty-five—
                             In which to profit from God’s blessings,
                             To hoard earth’s gifts, to thrive…

Finally, there is this, from December 7 (And perhaps my favorite Mulkey poem!)

 

No Regrets 

The land is being cleared,
so nothing on it grows,
but just before the bush was cut
I saved a bright, red rose.
 
Though it won’t live for long,
I saved a rose today,
and I was blessed by loveliness
beyond all pay.
 
Just think of all the gifts
that we could ever get,
and none beats life lived so that there
is no regret.
 
Today I saved a rose…
was all that could be done;
but if I save one rose each day…
regrets?…there will be none.

 

Robert L. Hall
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

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