Matter of Thoughts by Edna Pressley is a brief collection of poetry on the theme of loving God and giving one’s life to Jesus. With straightforward titles such as, “God is Blessing Me,” “Don’t Worry about a Thing,” and “Where is the Temple,” the 32 poems embrace a positive tone, consistently praising God and advising readers to turn to God for strength and guidance.
One of the central ideas expressed here is that God accepts and helps everyone who asks. Pressley generally avoids figurative language, instead speaking directly to readers, as in “The Cross of Calvary,” which ends with: “Jesus loves you just come as you are. / He will save you, cleanse you and / give you a new start. Yes Jesus loves you and me.” As in that example, most poems are written in what is essentially prose broken into lines.
While many Christian readers may find the sentiments expressed here comforting and affirming, the poems’ ultimate effectiveness is hampered by the overall lack of the use of poetic devises. (One exception: some pieces use repetition for emphasis, as in “God is Blessing Me,” which repeats the line “I am so glad God knows what’s best for me” three times). Nearly all of Pressley’s pieces deal with abstractions, and readers never get a sense of the speaker’s uniqueness. The addition of concrete detail and fresh visual imagery would make for a more fully engaging experience overall.
In Matter of Thoughts, the author’s religious joy and gratitude are omnipresent. Those who appreciate sophisticated poetry will want to look elsewhere. But readers seeking prayer-like poems without many specifics may enjoy and feel reassured by this volume.
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