A Reflection of God by Joanna Tulloch
This collection of one hundred and one poems and reflections is a treasure. The first section offers poems from Joanna’s inner journey, the second contains reflections on scripture and icons, and the final section gives us poems reaching out prayerfully to the world. Joanna writes poetry as many of us breathe (although one poem – By Beckley Mast p.25 - reveals the anguish when the poems do not come). The book is both a companion for the soul and a resource for those who lead worship.
These poems and meditations are real and speak from soul to soul. They trace a movement from fear and darkness to the light and love of God in which the imperfect self is held in the grace of God. Joanna might call this a movement from jungle to garden. This is not an inevitable movement for we have to choose it, and choose it again and again.
Some of her phrases are exquisite: 'Dapple me daffodil' (p.13), 'Like a spaniel with soft mouth you picked me up' (p.35). I love the word-play in many of the poems. Flagging (p.26) means both a flagging spirit and the tattered flags of prayer which yet attract God’s attention.
Joanna’s poem Conveyancing (p. 67) provided the key to focus some writing of my own. She speaks of the new home for the body, post resurrection: 'The train that takes us there stops at every station.' This image of a train journey where the stations must be travelled through one after the other, with no short-cuts, was precisely the image I needed. I think this is why these poems and meditations are so powerful. They question and connect with our own experience of anguish and of God’s grace. There is meeting.
Revd Bob Whorton: Chaplain, Sir Michael Sobell House, Oxford.