Begun in 2001 as a contribution to an annual concert, the collection of 21 poems explores Christmas from the viewpoints of God, the sheep, the moon, the Magi and more. Using poetic styles from free verse to pantoum and glosa, Peace gives us much to ponder.
In the first of three seven-poem sections, she sets incarnation’s stage. She imagines God’s song from before creation in mind-bending, cosmological thoughts of a time before time. Through Joseph’s and Mary’s songs we experience Jesus’ rich Jewish heritage.
Section two deals with events just prior to Jesus’ birth. “Song of Bethlehem” explains how Bethlehem is much more than “a circle / on a map.” “Song of the Inn,” a pantoum with repeating lines, echoes the innkeeper’s glib apologies.
Section three muses over the meaning of Christ’s birth. The poignant “Song of God: For Judas not yet born“ is followed by the final “Song of Mary: Light falls in parables” with lines that are a perfect sum-up of the book’s impact:
“… the song
to enlarge my idea of you, and even
That’s what these mythical yet real, simple yet complex, accessible yet deep poems do. They retell the familiar story in a way that charms and woos us into a richer experience of the incarnation and its meaning.
Peace’s first book, Kyrie, was published in 2001. In June 2009, Duet for Wings and Earth won (tied with D. S. Martin’s Poiema) The Word Guild Canadian Christian Writing Award 2009 for Book - Special category.
Duet for Wings and Earth would make a fabulous gift for the lover of poetry on your Christmas list. Or purchase a copy as a resource for the person who plans the Christmas services at your church. Of course you'll also want one of your own.
Order through Amazon or Sono Nis press.
(This review was first published in the November/December issue of Faith Today.)
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