by Brenda G. Stanley
If a jubilee is a celebration, then this book is a celebration of life. Life, the universe, and freedom are precious gifts that should be celebrated, and even in darkness, the spirit can endure. It does not break but instead emerges like a butterfly from the cocoon – becoming more beautiful from the transformative experience.
This is Your Year of Jubilee is a powerful book of poetry and prose that will elevate your heart and liberate your soul, filled with a harmonious spiritual beauty that echoes the joy of being. Living and Loving is one of the signature poems in This is Your Year of Jubilee. It talks about enjoying life to the fullest, without stress or negativity. It also highlights the importance of not giving up on life and humanity when faced with adversity.
Overall This is Your Year of Jubilee: Living and Loving is an extraordinary collection of thoughts and poetry. It is full of the poetic artist and seer’s visionary essence, combining spiritual experiences with the beauty of verse. This is all perfectly illustrated in the profoundly moving opening poem I Speak Lifelines. This beginning poem highlights the traditional connection between poetry and the nature of the divine, revealing to us how wisdom has always been connected with the language of the poet. Poets, like, prophets, are anointed and chosen.
Love is central to life, and this brings us to the prose/poetry piece Miraculous, which speaks of the sanctity and sacred nature of birth – this is not just the delightful arrival of the newborn infant. It also connects the fecundity of conception to the primordial origin of life on earth.
This narrative then transports us back to the nature of humanity, and the Garden of Eden, using nakedness as an allegory for innocence – the innocence of the newborn child, or in this case, the purity of a newly created humanity. Like a child, the nature of the self is born unashamed, and there is wisdom to be learned in this return to the original, untarnished state of the self.
The grand self-affirmation that heals us all is found in the poem All the Stars Shine, which illustrates that every soul is a star – unique and beautiful. This self-affirmation and cognition of self-worth then leads us to the question, Do You Know Who You Are? Here the author relates an incident between Judge Glenda Hatchett and two teenage boys and how their awareness of self-identity leads to a positive transformation and self-affirmation.
Other noteworthy poems include Yes I am, Un-Caste, $Net Worth, Follow the Leader, What Message do you Bring?, and the innovative structure of Sharpen Your Focus – which includes an eyesight test at the end to help reinforce the poem’s statement.
Connections and Live and Let Live move on from the nature of the self to the essence of the self acting within the broader context of humanity. This brings us to the celebration of life and accepting the full diversity of the community. Another excellent poem that stands out is When a Black Man Loves. This poem is a moving tribute to the author’s father.
Chapter four brings us to learning how to deal with the unpleasant aspects of life, which we all must face at some point in our lives, and provides positive coping mechanisms for these scenarios. For example, this is illustrated in an extract from I Will Press Forward and Onward.
Then I hear a song that tells me,
that the only way to look is up,
and the only way to move is ahead.
Therefore, I must believe in where I am going, and I must believe
Let it Go returns us to the importance of living in the present and future, and how letting the past go can be a healing process, a theme the author continues in Healing the Deep Wounds and in Hope is Moving Forward.
Chapter five teaches us to have the courage to succeed and struggle against impossible odds. Swimming Upstream highlights this by using the metaphor of the salmon, whose tenacity keeps the species alive. Chapters six & seven return to the earlier themes of life, living, and love. The final chapter, Leave Your Footprint, deals with leaving an enduring legacy of your existence to inspire others. This is Lifetime, my personal favorite poem in the collection.
This is followed by the conclusion of the anthology Unfinished Works, with emotionally moving statements of life, liberty, and the importance of freedom from all forms of discrimination. This section utilizes a metaphor involving Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures.
“Unfinished” means so much more than its definition. It is an encouraging state of being. ‘Unfinished’ does not mean that the sculpture is defected or flawed, but beautiful in its natural form. It is in a perfect state for becoming more.
The books closing statements on the importance of freedom of all people also return to the books opening themes on our natural state in the Garden of Eden, innocent, self-accepting, and equal in our natural state before God.
This is Your Year of Jubilee is much more than poetry. It also contains powerful inspirational writing, offering us the pertinent advice that love is more powerful than hatred and signifies that we can find the courage to stand up against injustice by embracing life.
This is Your Year of Jubilee is available on Amazon, and a Kindle version will be available soon.
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