Dr. Nadjwa E. L. Norton Not My Last Breath: Collected Spirit in Print


Dr. Nadjwa E. L. Norton Not My Last Breath: Collected Spirit in Print


Take a deep breath: Inhale then exhale: listen carefully to your heart, thoughts and feelings as you envelop yourself and engulf your inner most thoughts, prayers and feelings into reading Not My Last Breath; Collected Spirit in Print and embrace the prayer/poems that you connect with after reading them several times and thinking about their meanings. The author writes that the poems were written as a “result of a spiritual act designed to further the notion and worldview of poetry as prayer.” Presented to readers in four sections each with a specific purpose. Breathe Life Into Me: Part One: She states, “ compiles a set of poems that serve as prayers for the asking of breath to be inspired, motivated, energized and pushed on.” Trying to Catch my Breath: Part Two: Contains poems that speak to the times in your life that we might be overwhelmed, stressed, dealing with adversity or actively seeking to strengthen our spiritual identities. The poems/prayers in Part Two will help the reader develop more discipline in their individual spiritual life. Monitoring, Regulating, Altering and Exhaling My Breath: Section 3 has poems of prayers that are conversations centered on reflecting self-worth, service, purpose, transformation and critique. Finally, Breathe Freely, the final section contains poems/prayers that lay claim to honor the ways we rejoice in our spiritual identities. Now: Deep Breath: Inhale: Exhale: The poems I will showcase are in each section follow. Be Myself is the first prayer/poem that I read several times. Its meaning is strong as we hear the author’s words as she sits in her room, prays for strength to just handle and make it through the day knowing that she will receive God’s mercy and hoping to be closer to him. “I Would Cry,” is really powerful a prayer/poem that expresses her hope of being even closer to God. Silent tears, noisy tears hoping that each tear would give her some relief-answers-power to change. Deep Breath: Inhale: Exhale: Let’s continue. “There is Pain,” is the next poem in this section that I read numerous times to understand the author’s feelings and messages. I realized that she shares her anguish, hurt, feelings and pain that she has experienced while dealing with the true meaning and hoping to find the solution to understanding this complex word: Pain. As she enlightens the reader to understand that she, like most have no true understanding of pain and she waits, listens, prays, meditates and listens hoping for the answer. Followed by Pain Prayer and Trying to Pray. Finally in Part One: Scared to Be Me encompass how many feel when they are not sure of who they are or where they are supposed to be.


Part Two: Trying to Catch My Breathing has a cadre of poems that focus on prayers that help us to develop more discipline in our spiritual lives. Beginning with “Speak to My Heart Lord, Desiring Silence and Gather Myself Back to Whole. The prayer/poems that I read several times were “Scattered Pieces,” “Win Your Battle,” and “Desiring Silence.” Desiring Silence is quite powerful although only three lines. It is not the length of the poem it is the words and the meanings. Migraines, headaches plague everyone at one time and the only relief often comes from praying to God to alleviate the pain and silence being alone. Did you ever feel like your body and mind seem to be going in different directions? Did you ever feel like you were being torn apart and need to feel whole again? Scattered Pieces expresses these feelings in this short poem that I read five times before deciding how to spotlight it. There are so many times when we all feel like we are going in so many different directions and feel that we are pieces of a puzzle coming part needing and hoping God will guide us into reattaching ourselves and creating a puzzle and person that becomes whole again. Finally Win Your Battle is a poem of hope. Many who have endured defeat, pain, and strife or feel that life is too hard can identify with the words in this poem. You cannot accept defeat; you can Win Your Battle! Never Give Up! Take a Breath: Inhale/Exhale: Continue!

The third section focuses on the times in your life when you reflect on your self-worth, service, purpose, transformation and critique. “Prayer Is, Questions, and Silence is Prayer,” are the three poems that I will spotlight. Prayer Is: short but states in words how not speaking sometimes helps as we reflect in silence what bothers us and how we can find relief without words. Questions asks God to let you know where life is going to take you and when will you arrive promising to use the map that he has given you as your guide. Silence Is My Prayer is my favorite as sometimes no words are needed to communicate the “jumble of thoughts,” within you and silence might bring the clarity you need. Finally, Part Four: Breathing Freely: Rejoicing in your spiritual identities; “ Everyone Needs to Laugh, Faith and Prized Possessions and Sing a Song of Faith are the final three poems that I will spotlight. Laughter is great for the Soul I’ve always thought. This poem is strong, motivating and definitely will help the reader gain a true perspective of how to deal with stress, problems, when you don’t want to cry and need to make the right choices. Appreciating another person’s wonderful personality and laugh is inspiring. Laughter is joyous, powerful, and contagious. Take a deep breath: Laugh out loud: God laughs as they laugh! Sing a Song of Faith allows the author to sing even off key the melody of life and how she wants to deal with tragedy. Prized Possessions: unspoken words, silent prayers, unuttered words: so true: Prized possessions so valuable: her strong belief in God allowing him to communicate within each of us.


Each poem speaks to the reader as the author takes us all of a spiritual journey to understand how poems are prayers and sharing her insight, thoughts, wisdom and innermost thoughts with the reader. Take A Deep Breath: Inhale: Exhale: read the poems. Decide which ones you want to embrace and make them your own. Read them again; Make them yours!


Fran Lewis: reviewer






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