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Heartfelt Expressions

Heartfelt Expressions

Claudette Inglis

review by R.J. Johnson

“Let the joy of the Lord be upon you.”
The poems in the author’s inspiring collection offer comfort to those of the Christian faith or. for that matter, to anyone who is soothed by faith-based verse. At moments, these expressions give voice to a struggle that develops into a need to lean into the Bible: “He gave me faith so I can move mountains.” At other moments, these pieces are freewheeling expressions of devotion. The speaker in the poems is one who has been through illness, addiction, hardship, sin, hopelessness, and heartbreak. And yet the verses reflect on how God has been present with the narrator through everything: “When I partied from dusk to dawn / My Good Lord He kept me from harm.”

No matter the subject, the .poems delight with their rhymes and unique rhythm. As the title clearly states, these are heartfelt expressions. But more than that, they can be received as heartening faith in a God who can assure one of his provision in life: “I made steep hills easy for you to climb.” These expressions ring with a strong belief in the Savior. For instance, the repetition of the image of Christ dying on the cross at Calvary reminds one of perseverance. This is religious poetry that displays a humble and sincere poetic journey into contemplation of sacrifice and hope.

The poems explore different themes, such as courage, divine intimacy, conviction, provision, and faith. Additionally, through her poems the poet pays homage to the people in her life who helped encourage, guide, support, and celebrate. The universal theme of love is interwoven with the theme of remembrance. There are plenty of uplifting messages to discover here: “Each helps each other and says to his brother / Be strong, be strong.”

Christian devotional poetry has been a popular genre since a seventh-century goatherd composed “Caedmon’s Hymn.” Over time the poetry transformed, but in keeping with the title of this volume, the poems were still expressed from the heart. For example, the Scottish poet, William Dunbar, celebrated God’s aid in helping him overcome evil. Meanwhile, John Donne lamented his sinful ways and begged God’s forgiveness. Likewise, Phillis Wheatley composed an unforgettable eulogy on the death of the famous evangelist George Whitefield. Christian wisdom continues to inspire poems to pour forth from the faithful, and Inglis maintains the tradition as she gives voice to finding solace in remembering that Christ died for all.

Inglis’ poem “Healing” resounds with tenderness. It’s about Christ attending the bedside when the poet is ill. The Savior “took my hand in His hand / He covered me with His precious blood.” The power and assurance these stanzas proclaim give off a depth of certainty and faith. “Jehovah Rapha, the Lord Who Heals, Jehovah Shalom, the Lord of Peace, “Jehova Rohi, The Lord is my Shepherd.” The repetition of these names of God that reflect his varying aspects inspires meditation. Meanwhile, the poem “Awareness” encourages readers to “look beyond the universe” to see that “God the Father will always be your guide.” “Life” urges readers to embrace life experiences by “Not pondering on the past, but using our experiences as a tool for greater achievements.” These passionate poems can motivate poetry fans irrespective of their faith. As the title states, they truly do express the poet’s heart.

Heartfelt Expressions