My Heart Makes Its Home In A Faraway Land: A Book of Poetry and Reflections, by Lisa Hare Wimberly
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Author Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.]
As a longtime poet, it is always enjoyable for me to examine the works of other poets. This particular volume consists of a variety of reflective poems from a ‘mainstream’ Christian experienced with divorce and remarriage whose reflections range across a wide variety of subjects, including family (see, for example, this representative quatrain about a special needs foster child named Scott from p.120) among other topics:
He had the innocence of a child,
With a heart that was gentle and pure.
It was hard for him not to tell the truth
Whatever consequences he had to endure.
These particular lines are emblematic of the poems of this book as a whole. The vast majority of these books are written in ABCB rhyming format with little attention paid to meter. The lines are straightforward, referring to personal incidents for the author or those she was commissioned to write for or literature (including the story of “The Three Little Pigs”) as well as many scriptural references. As a poetess, Ms. Wimberly is not a subtle or deep thinker, although her reflections are full of feeling and her observations are generally sound and focused. She is not a writer of ambiguity or layering, but rather someone whose writings express her thoughts and feelings very openly and transparently in a rhyming manner. Those readers who want elegant poems along the line of the witty haiku of Lady Murasaki or the ambiguous sonnets of Shakespeare or Petrarch or the terza rima of Dante will be disappointed; this is not that sort of work and Ms. Wimberly is not that kind of poetess.
What this is, and is a good example of, is of devotional Christian poetry with biblical quotes and commentary on the circumstances of how and why and about whom the poems were written. I have myself undertaken such tasks as a poet myself, and this book also contains thoughts on brokenness that are not too different, if more optimistic, than my own . The book is divided into four sections: reflection, inspiration, introspection, and celebration. All throughout the poetess makes reference to marriage, family, faith, and friendship. The first poem, a reflection on our being strangers and pilgrims in this earth, gives the collection its title. For all of those who have mused upon the subjects of this poem and share a biblical faith, this is a worthwhile book to read, and one whose straightforwardness will make it easier to appreciate the poetry rather than be daunted by the usual difficulty in understanding poems. This, therefore, ought to be a book with a wide potential reading audience, as long as that audience is not scared away from reading poetry altogether because of prior experiences.