In this highly personal collection of poetry and essays, Chelsey Louise Lloyd explores traumas ranging from lost love, adultery, addiction, violence, bullying and poverty, to the ravages of aging, abuse and war. The author, whose faith is unshakeable, offers spiritual solutions to these crises that swing between “The healing power of the cross” and “…the touch of warming Angel love.” Although she tries mightily to convince readers these paths will offer solace and healing, for those unable to find comfort in either the divine or the supernatural, Lloyd’s slim volume may leave them feeling depressed rather than elevated.
It’s not only the subject matter that is dark and leaden, pulling readers down; Lloyd’s language is thick with clichÃ©s, among them: “One must be responsible for one’s actions”: “Money doesn’t make you happy”; “I was lost but now I am found”; and “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” There are, however, occasional bright spots when the author’s verse is inspired. In one poem she writes: “The brain is the control panel for our lives.” In another, “Spread your love like butter.” Unfortunately, phrases like these are infrequent blips of light on an otherwise bleak vista.
There’s no doubt Lloyd is earnest. The author deals with innumerable challenges and manages through force of will and spirit to survive, and her candor and willingness to share her journey are admirable and touching. But due to the book’s literary limitations, Spiritual of Love will likely leave readers still wandering in the dark searching for a way out.