In this delightful collection of poems, Leong Kwok Thye employs the basic devices of this literary genre—meter, rhyme scheme and imagery—to give eloquent voice to his deepest thoughts about God and the Christian life.
The first impression that one gets from perusing the 22 poems in this collection is their simplicity. Their vocabulary is penny-plain and their structures are straightforward and unostentatious. But the simplicity of these verses belies the weightiness of the themes they explore and the insights they offer.
To mine their treasures, the reader must not read these poems cursorily and superficially. Instead, he should read them slowly, meditatively and, most importantly, prayerfully. The patient reader will encounter, in the familiar, that which is refreshingly new and challenging.
The poems in this collection cover a wide range of topics. Poems like “The New Birth”, “There is Life After Death”, and “The Last Days” deal with doctrine and theology, while “Ask” and “My Super Mobile Phone” explore the meaning and privilege of prayer.
There are also poems that deal with the trappings of our culture. For example, “Chasing After the Wind” exposes the illusions that society creates and by which its members are enslaved, such as wealth, fame and success: “We seek achievements / To gain fame, / And build monuments / To establish our name.”
“Does God Care?” explores how human beings, driven by “arrogance and greed”, have exploited and abused the world that God created for their enjoyment. It highlights our responsibility for the welfare of our children and our children’s children—an issue that has long occupied the minds of both theologians and ethicists.
The poem entitled “The Word of God” serves as a fitting conclusion to this collection. In it we find these words, which not only reveal their author’s faith but also the inspiration behind the poems he pens:
Thy word is a light to my path,
Guiding my journey on earth.
Directs my wandering soul
To your glorious eternal goal.
The poems in this volume may therefore be appropriately described as homilies, for they invite readers to look at all of reality through the lens of God’s revealed Word.
Dr Roland Chia is Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor at the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity (http://ethosinstitute.sg).
Book visual courtesy of Scripture Union Singapore