When I was a little girl, my mother would yodel to call us in to dinner from outside where we were playing with our friends. All of the other Mothers used dinner bells. I was so embarrassed by Mother’s “call”; I sprinted home from wherever I was. I knew my Mother’s “voice”, and she knew how to get the response she desired. While playing our game of life, the Holy Spirit calls us to Him using diverse devices and voices.
In logic, the first thing we do is define our terms. In Wholly God’s: Poems, how do we define the title? “Wholly” means entirely, fully, completely, totally, or to the full extent. And “God’s” reflects the covenant between each one of us eternal persons made in His image and likeness to God and Himself.
I like mind maps—schematics with a concept in the center circle with branches growing out from that center with the variables that exhaust themselves in describing the concept. These Poems are like mind maps assembling concepts of the essence of a “Wholly God’s” featured creature in whom through consecration to Jesus in Grace grows into new transfigured identities.
“Wholly God’s: Poems” is divided into 3 sections. The first section is: Pilgrims. The second section is: The Corporal Works of Mercy. The last section is: Martyrs.
Throughout our lifetime we are a Pilgrim People. From the womb to the tomb, we are traveling to our Heavenly Home. Some pilgrims travel long distances over many miles. Some pilgrims journey in place waiting for others to reach them. Some pilgrims journey alone; some pilgrims are together in a holy cohort. All are united as a member of the Mystical Body in a sacramental bond.
As you might anticipate, The Corporal Works of Mercy Poems embellish those whom we might think do the ordinary ministry: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, care for the sick, shelter the homeless, and bury the dead. Although ordinary tasks in one sense, the poet selects extraordinary words in a word pattern that is magnetic. I open the book, read a poem, and put it down. And yes, like a magnet the poem draws me back to read again and ponder how extraordinary the ordinary really is through the poet’s periscope.
The third section, Martyrs, is my favorite. We might expect St. Maria Goretti likely to be cancelled today in our secular humanist setting. But the poet lifts her up as a model of womanly virtue and love who transforms her murderer through her forgiveness. St. Archbishop Oscar Romero was also murdered. He was celebrating Mass “intoning his own requiem”. His microphone is upheld as a first class relic. Definitely, the highlights for me of this Martyrs section are the poems on St. John the Baptist, Jakob Gapp and the 21 Coptic Martyrs. The word “nimbus” magnetizes me to the description of 21 kneeling shackled prisoners and the Egyptian shrine to them.
This poetry volume is a chapbook. A chapbook is a short (10–30 poems) collection of poems with a unifying principle, theme, question, or experience. This is a new word for me. We are stats people. We like to crunch numbers, the higher the better. This number is perfect. And with this chapbook, I want to be a chapman and go out on the street and like The Missionary of Wall Street say, “Have you seen this poem? Do you think often of the ways God is calling you? Are you praying to have the courage to die for your Faith? Have you ever thought of this before? “
But, in reality, I need a little more work……I am still at a whisper…..Your servant is listening, Lord. Tell me the words you want to describe me so I can grow my spirit into them, for I want to be your Wholly God’s: Poem, too.
Wholly God’s: Poems by Philip C. Kolin is available from: Wind and Water Press, P.O. Box 5276, Conneaut Lake, PA 16316. Orders ($8.99 per copy) are only available from Wind and Water Press.