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A READER'S JOURNAL

Morning Glories
Poetry and Prose to Touch Your Heart

by
Kathleen Nichols
Published by Sunshyne Enterprises in 1995
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2006

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"How do the Morning Glories know they are suppose to climb up those strings," I would ask my daddy every year. "How do they know where to go?"

"I don't know," Daddy would answer. "They just know. They know they are supposed to go up, so they look for what will help them go up."

"It's like ice cream: some people like vanilla and some like chocolate. If someone doesn't like your poems, it may that they're a vanilla person and it's a chocolate poem." Randy Kellogg said these words to the author of Morning Glories to encourage her to publish her work. She had been reluctant to do so because it meant baring her deepest self to the world, and what if the world didn't like her? Kathy came to realize that if some people didn't like her poems, it was the poem, not her that they didn't like. It was a just a case of vanilla and chocolate. These are chocolate poems. If you are a vanilla person, be forewarned so that your taste buds might be ready for the dark lusciousness that will twine its tendrils around your heart.

Kathy's poems are like morning glories, whose vine tendrils reach out in all directions until they find a line they can grasp as they go up. Sometimes her poems grasp a taut line, as in this stanza from Mama's Hands (Page 41):

Now Mama's hands are spotted with age,
      and hard work has left its mark.
As I reach out to hold them close,
      tears of love flow from my heart.

Sometimes her poems grasp a line woven around a natural rhythm as in this fragment from Making Braids (Page 33) :

Working the sections,
Slowly and deliberately at first,
Then faster, tighter,
As I find the rhythm.

Her Morning Glories are braided of poems, short reminiscences, and narratives explaining the origin of the poems. Kathy interweaves them with love and skill so that each turning of a page brings a fresh view of a familiar braid. If a poet's job is to "mess with people's heads," Kathy does so gently and lovingly, so that when she's done with our heads, we can also feel, like the little girl in Making Braids, the "shiny" in our hair as the plaits fall "neatly, plumply" against our shoulders.

Below is a poem entitled "Touched by an Angel" followed by Kathy's notes about the origin of the poem (from page 27). The themes she touches on in this poem, such as how disbelief in their reality drives our angels away, among other things, are dealt with by Rudolf Steiner in a book which collects his lectures on Guardian Angels. See also this Reference Page on Guardian Angels.

       Touched by an Angel

Today an angel touched my face
       with a feathery caress,
And as I felt that tender stroke,
       I knew that I was blessed.

Before the touch, my heart was filled
       with pain and nameless fear,
But now I'm calmed because I know
       my angel friend is near.

For all these years I've heard of them
       these guardians of our way
But I was just too caught up in
       the struggles of the day.

Oh, yes, I liked the stories of
       the miracles they brought,
But they really were just stories!
      (At least, that's what I thought.)

I always stayed so busy with
       the toils of daily life;
I thought that I was strong enough
      To handle any strife.

And then one night a stranger came,
      an intruder in my space,
And suddenly I knew a danger
       I had never had to face.

As terror flooded through my soul,
       I thought I was alone,
But now I know my angel's love
       was just waiting to be shown.

And then the stranger ran away,
      But anger filled my soul
How could I let these feelings go?
      Would I ever again be whole?

I flailed about in deep despair,
       and with my angry shouts,
I created so much noise inside
       I closed my angel out.

Then finally my rage was spent,
       and weariness set in,
And knowing that I needed help
      I went to meet with friends.

There, in the stillness of the hour,
       as healing light came through,
I simply set the anger free
       there was nothing else to do.

And then, the angel touched my face
       just a stroke upon my brow
As if to say, "I'm always near.
       Yes, Dear, you know that now."

Today an angel touched my face
       with a feathery caress
And as I felt that tender stroke,
      I knew that I was blessed.

Notes on Poem: I was touched by an angel on Saturday afternoon, October 22, 1994, during a Healing Workshop at Life's Journey Bookstore. The previous Wednesday I had been a victim of a non-violent crime, thus the "intruder in my space." I had been shaken to the very core by this incident and felt unsafe and frightened. I cried out silently from the depths of my heart for comfort and reassurance and release, and I believe I was answered in this very special way. The angel's touch was as real as any human touch ever was, but so much more loving just a tender lifting of my hair from my forehead, brushing it back gently with a coolness like a soft whisper. I opened my eyes immediately to see who had touched me, but no human form was near. I felt relaxed, calm, secure and filled with more love than I ever knew was possible, just filled up to overflowing as tears of joy rinsed and refreshed my face. And now I know angels are not just pretty stories. They are real, and they are here right now!
Kathy Nichols

We human beings are born knowing that we are supposed to "go up", but in the hustle, bustle, and cacophonous noise of everyday life, we sometimes forget what we knew in early childhood. Kathy Nichols reminds us of this in her story of the Morning Glories and reinforces it with the poem "Touched by an Angel". Read this book and allow yourself to remember what you knew as a child and perhaps you will be touched by an angel yourself.


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Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne

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