In this glossy-paged volume, author Pat Gowdy humbly juxtaposes extraordinary photographic skill with more unevenly executed rhymed verse and occasional prose. Gowdy sums up his purpose at the end of the book: “I genuinely pray that this little book has given you hope. Hope that produces trust. And then through that trust comes faith which will lead you to the GOLD BENEATH YOUR FEET! [sic]” The gold refers to the Biblical description of heaven’s streets being paved with gold.
The author’s stunning photographs, appearing on nearly every two-page spread, provide up-close, as well as far-off glimpses of nature. He welcomes his reader in the introduction: “…if we don’t have the chance to meet on this side of Heaven, hang on, for we have climbed to the peak of Calvary and have seen the other side where we will all meet and be in his care forever.” His poetry, usually in rough iambic pentameter, carries an easy, free-flowing rhythm with rhymes that reveal meaning of the heart: “When I have finished my journey here/I hope you all may tell/’He found the Lord there in his heart/ and finished living well…’.”
The oral reader, however, sometimes trips on the beat. Lines, often uneven in the number of syllables, lack the specific rhythm needed to pull the storyline along flawlessly and, in one poem of A-B-A-B patterning, the not-true rhymes (“steed”/”blood”) seem to introduce a C line inconsistent with the rest of the poem. Gowdy’s essays, revealing memories and life-lessons from his point of view, are overly wordy at times.
In general, the vibrant photographs combine well with the written words, adding needed punch to the serious tone of the poetry. Despite flaws in the poetry and prose, readers will find a welcome respite here in which to ponder the questions the author presents.
Also available as an ebook.