My Favorite Poem From my New Book

Drawing from my son Aaron, circa 1981

What My Grandkids Will Say About Me on Oprah

When my grandkids talk to Oprah
    about their Nana, the famous writer,
they will say words were my oxygen–
    to read, to write, to share,
and that I spent way too much money
    at Thrift Stores on books by dead authors–
Emily Dickinson, George Herbert, LM Montgomery
    and Keats.

They will also tell her I loved to sing–
    another form of breathing–
and how I embarrassed them in public
    by belting out the “Tomorrow” song from Annie
or grabbing their elbows in the mall
    while shouting “We’re off to see the Wizard!”

They will announce to the world,
    in front of God and everybody,
that my profession as a teacher was their   
    greatest undoing;
constantly coaching them about penmanship,
the correct formation of the letter “a”
    or while reading, pointing out misread syllables in
    a favorite text.

They will oblige Ms. O’s prodding by adding the death 
    knell~
that I couldn’t help myself when it came to learning,
    revealing in hushed tones I often resorted
    to using an encyclopedia as torture 
    (the 1956 World Book edition).

My grandchildren will remind her, however,
    (before the commercial break)
my best qualities were the way I delighted in the world,
    showing them wonders in the garden,
surprises in the grass, the avian miracles of
    chickadees and juncos in the branches 
    or robins in the birdbath.

Most of all, when my grandkids talk to Oprah,
    they will tell her my lungs longed for the breath of
    Heaven, the Word, and how its oxygen proved
    my greatest life support throughout my livelong days.

Tell me friends, if you have grandchildren, what would they tell Oprah how about your life? I would love to hear in the comments.

Also, you can get a copy of my new book by clicking on this link HERE. 

And if you think a friend would enjoy this poem, you can click on the Share buttons below. Thanks!

Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers is HERE!

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or from your independent bookseller.

Hey Dear Readers–rejoice with me?

Almost nine months to the day since I began paying attention to the nudge from God to publish my poetry, Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers has been officially birthed into the world. As a self-published author, one never knows what surprises await and – ta da! – here’s my book ahead of time. (I originally chose Jan. 26th as Book Day, but what do you know? It’s an 11th Day of Christmas gift.

I do hope you’ll consider buying a copy for yourself, especially if you’ve thought, “I don’t like poetry,” or “I don’t get poetry.” The poems are anchored in creation and the every day and will point readers to beauty and the wisdom of paying attention.

PRAISE FOR “HEARTS ON PILGRIMAGE-POEMS & PRAYERS”

“I recommend reading Hearts on Pilgrimage under an open sky, accompanied by a warm cup of tea. These poems ring with the joy of nature and the sweetness to be found in the ordinary moment. As Jody Collins says in the preface, “Annual cycles of our physical world also mirror our interior lives,” a point well made herein. A teacher-poet, Jody’s poems teach us to see, to hear—to notice our lives, and let the simple gifts arriving in each common moment move us to a place of praise and intimacy with God.” ~Laura Boggess, author of Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World and Waiting for Neruda’s Memoirs

“Collins work is deliberate, her cadence soothing. As I read, I find myself taking in deeper breaths and sighing, everything slowing around me. ‘Bring the wind of your spirit and build anew,’ she writes. Indeed. Except here the spirit arrives on the wind of her words, and I can feel something new building inside of me.”     ~Shawn Smucker, author of Light from Distant Stars

“In Hearts on Pilgrimage, poet Jody Collins pays detailed attention to our world and the language we use to describe it. At times playful, always articulate, Collins skillfully weaves poems exploring the overlap of our internal and external worlds of awareness and observation. Full of questions and patient listening, Collins writes our hearts toward home with words that “fly, lunar-drawn, to the sky.” ~Kelly Chripczuk, Author/Speaker at thiscontemplativelife.org. 

 “In Hearts on Pilgrimage, Jody Collins takes her readers on a journey of delight and discovery.  Each deftly rendered image – from doing dishes in the dark to listening to birdsong – paints a portrait of the mysteries that lay just beyond our reach.  Full of warmth and insight, Collins’ poems invite you to take a seat at the table, drink deeply of everyday moments, and enter the presence of God.”   ~Laura Kauffman, author of Carolina Clay: A Collection of Poems on Love and Loss

The poems of Hearts on Pilgrimage find the sacred in the everyday — a spider’s web, the music of the wind, the pattern in the sky, a flower in a field. But Collins does more: she sees, with a poet’s eye, the everyday holiness of the image in an ultrasound, the voice of a grandchild, and the natural process of aging. The collection is an exercise in startling stillness.” ~Glynn Young, contributing editor at Tweetspeak Poetry and author of the five Dancing Priest novels and Poetry at Work

“In her newest release, Hearts on Pilgrimage – Poems & Prayers, Jody Collins offers readers a beautifully crafted and artfully organized collection. This work invites readers onto the page as pilgrims on a seasonal journey of becoming aware, of both God’s presence and His created beauty. Collins’ poems and prayers come from an earthy richness, born from the soil of profoundly personal storytelling as she unearths the world around her. Each work meets us in our own humanity as co-sojourners, where poems are readable, relatable and approachable in their crafting. Well-written and well-timed in its release into the world, Hearts on Pilgrimage is the perfect antidote for the world of 2020 and beyond; for it is a book of hope.” ~Elizabeth Marshall, writer at elizabethmarshall.com.

“In Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers, Jody Collins delights in things most of us take for granted—the ruby postscript of a raspberry, the honeyed breeze of dawn, and chip-clacking juncos. She ponders single pantry ingredients shelved in the dark—safe but isolated. Collins carves her heart on and houses hope in these pages, inviting us to find our own balance in beauty and to seek God’s presence in every season. ~Sandra Heska King, Community Care & Social Media at Tweetspeak Poetry, Photographer/Writer at sandraheskaking.com

“Collins had me at the word, “Pilgrimage.”  Wrapped in the certain rhythm of seasons, she lends us her eyes to see the wonder and everyday beauty of dishes in the dark or a baby bird’s first solo flight. Whatever season you’re in, Jody’s soulful words in Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers will meet you with comfort, hope, and joy for your journey. ~Kim Hyland, author of The Imperfect Woman: Letting Go of the Need to Have it All Together, founder Winsome Retreat.” 

Original watercolor for cover by the gifted Laura Winslow

Publishing a book of poetry, noticing the good, true, and beautiful, seems a fruitless endeavor in the midst of the world’s current challenges and heartache. But we will always have trouble and sorrow with us. While we live in a fallen world, we live with a risen Savior, and God’s invisible Kingdom is there for us to see if we are looking. 

As you read this work through the year or match it to your current season, I pray you will find an echo of our Creator’s voice while walking your own path. There is much to behold, and I look forward to pointing the way, showing you what I see and hear. Then I hope you’ll find time to jot your own poetic thoughts in the margins.

We are all on pilgrimage. Come walk with me? 

You can order SIGNED COPIES of “Hearts on Pilgrimage” directly from me for $12.50 (incl. postage) Click on the envelope icon above my photo on the right to send me an email and I’ll have a copy on its way.

Or order your copy today by clicking HERE.

 

It’s Almost Here–Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers

It’s the fourth day of Christmas and I’m sitting at my dining table while shadows play on the Advent wreath and the dishwasher hums.

The post-holiday lull has begun, that in-between time where memories of enjoying my family’s company, complete with six noisy grandkids, partner with a looking-forward frame of mind to a new year and a new book.

Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers is allllmoooost finished; the final touches are being added to the cover and I am working on the electronic download of the book as well.  Since I’m self-publishing the process is a little nerve-wracking as all the details of content, design and cover are up to me (and a remarkable design gal for who I am eternally grateful.) Come mid-January we should be ready to launch. I so look forward to having some poetic inspiration available and in readers’ hands soon. The book will be available on Amazon and orderable wherever books are sold.

If you’d like be one of the first to receive an announcement of the book’s release, just click HERE.

In the meantime, may I offer you the title poem?

Pilgrimage

Since I am coming to that holy room…

            I shall be made thy music. -John Donne

Our journey home begins

daily with the sun. And a map.

Oriented by true north, that

compass which magnets

us in subtle, insistent ways, we move.

Deep and invisible, His song draws

us on as we come ’round again

in a thousand turns to the sound

of that voice.

We are Peregrinus, pilgrims

wandering place to place,

straining for an echo of melody,

words to a song we forgot we knew.

Forever we crease and fold our maps,

spilling tea as we travel, stain and blur

lines as we learn the way.

We look up. Scan the signs,

slow down, take note.

*****

No. Not a map, a musical score,

vellum notes traced over time

played on heart’s harp, tuning

our ears ever more finely to the

pitch, not of His voice, but His tent,

that dwelling place where we finally

meno with Him. Home at last.

Plating the Bread of Life

Bed askew with straw, rummaged      

leftovers of the menageries’ last meal.

A stone space quarried like the heart of a 

small ark, opening just enough 

to cradle the straw.

The stall, open planks no match for the midnight 

chill, gaps lasering light, streaming in on stone.

Mother draped in simple cloth, teenaged

hands trembling as she lays her infant 

in the place of the animals’ meal.

Suckling sounds as He stares, still, into the sky 

where the host of Heaven lift voices 

through the spheres

Announcing His presentation, 

which, as the young father recalls, 

would at last be everything.

Merry Christmas, friends.

We Interrupt your Holiday Preparations With a “Hearts on Pilgrimage” Book Update

To new followers here–Welcome! And for those faithful readers & friends–an update:
Anyone who’s decided to write, edit or release a book in the last nine months of #lifeinthetimeofcorona might be considered misguided, but that’s exactly what I’ve been up to. My book of poetry--Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers–will, God willing, be released at the end of January 2021. Publishing a book of poetry, with an eye on the beauty of Creation and leaning towards God seems a fruitless endeavor in the midst of the current challenges and heartache. But we will always have trouble and sorrow with us; who couldn’t use more beauty and goodness right about now-ish? ⁣
Exactly. ⁣

When I began the draft of Hearts on Pilgrimage it was early Spring 2020, which is the season when life came to a slow and completely weird halt for all of us. (Side note: that seems like y e a r s ago, doesn’t it?) I will never look at Spring the same way again, but I am hopeful. And that is the purpose of Spring—God’s eternal message that new life will come from what seems lifeless and gone.

I have been humbled by responses from early readers who have endorsed the work in glowing terms, for which I give God the praise. It’s such a gift when people “get” your work and the intent shines through. Here’s a thought from friend Glynn Young.


I hope you’ll keep your eyes open for my little book when it releases into the wild. The early book launch campaign will begin soon in the middle of the Christmas season–I do hope you’ll consider sharing about H o P when you see a graphic go by. Who couldn’t use the gift of poetry in the coming year?

Until next time~

Jody

If you want to find out more about the process and background of Hearts on Pilgrimage, you can read that HERE.
Note: This is a draft of the book cover featuring the beautiful artwork of watercolor artist Laura Winslow. 

Anna Waits {a #poem}

Light is coming
she’d heard and read,
and widowed, she had
nothing calling her name
but His across the years
like an echo from The Garden
so long ago.
She’d been seeking
(was He hiding?),
steadfastly determined,
for what else was her life
but this–an always looking
in the temple courts,
trusting the doorway would
be darkened some day
when Light came into the room.

(sharing from the Archives)