Pruning Burning Bushes: A book review

I love poetry.  I often don’t understand it, but I still love it.

I took a poetry class by Carol Halm at the Loft Literary Center in an effort to write better prayers, and out of the many things she helped me with, was being a fearless poetry reader.  I had been afraid of purchasing a poetry book of someone I didn’t know of, thinking that if I didn’t 

“get it” it would be a waste.  Carol’s comment to just enjoy and if you don’t get it, figure out what you don’t like about it in order to help your own writing.

Now I have a slowly growing collection of poetry, with the latest  by Sarah B. WellsPruning Burning Bushes.  I am so thankful for over coming my “fear” of poetry, and each page has been a wonderful surprise.

Sarah seems to write in waves.  Her words and images, carefully crafted phrases wash over, around and though my life.

On some pages I see my life expressed in intricate and perfect detail, but with a level of spirituality unaccessible in the rush life.  She slows down the moment, mixing heart and mind, soul and body.  The result is an inspired capturing of life.

For me, “Last Born” described those last moments of joy and panic before my daughter, our last born, was born.  In my state of trying to control things, be clam, lessen the complications, and cope through some less than comfortable moments, I had an overwhelming sensation that I couldn’t describe or handle, so I had pushed it aside.  But then reading “Last Born”, those feelings came back and I allowed myself to fully inhabit my body, where that sensation still resided.  A mix of grief and joy, time passing, never the same.

Then there are poems that are outside my personal experience, yet crafted in such a way that I can fully and honestly relate.  Sarah’s gift is amazing…and I am thankful for it.

During my time as a hospital chaplain, I was the one called in to support a woman or couple with a miscarriage or infant death.  Somehow I was there to provide support for people who were going through something utterly traumatic (there were exceptions when they were thankful) and I knew I really had no idea what they were going through.  And in a similar way, with friends who have had to deal with such a loss…not only emotionally but physically.  I’ve read some memoirs to help understand, but it was Sarah’s “D&C (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep)”  that drew me the closest to understanding.  The images interlaced with prayer.  Truly inspired.

All I can say is that if you love poetry, or are scared of it, you need to read this.  Pruning Burning Bushes will become an intimate friend.


Thank you Kate Hopper and Sarah for offering Sarah M. Wells, book as a give-a-way on Kate’s blog.  Was so surprised to win it!!!  I have shared it with others and will continue to.




About SFriant

I live to walk with others on their journeys - because everyone needs to know that they are loved, that they matter, and that they are doing amazing things. I'm a lot like our two kids: obsessed with learning, and constantly creating.
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