Book Review: Joy Lenton, ‘Sacred Noticing’


On this Mother’s Day, where my gift is quiet sacred noticing in this exquisite, sun soaked Autumn, I wanted to share with you the gift of my friend Joy Lenton’s new poetry collection ‘Sacred Noticing’.

Here is one of her gentle, nourishing poems:


We live on the liminal edge
between this world
and the next, betwixt
seasons, moments,
months, inhabiting a space
where hope dwells
and mystery lives,
beset by longings
at the heart of all our years.

We live consumed by tasks
which always demand
too much of us,
clothed as they are in the
dust of repetition, of sameness,
while they dampen
our inner drives for Other
as they stall and chain us.

We live with blinkered vision,
a myopic, telescopic
view that becomes skewed
by the world’s opinions,
by seeming happenstance,
yet a voice calls us
to break free,
to notice the sacred unveiling
in every bird and tree.

Joy Lenton
from ‘Sacred Noticing – Seasonal Glimpses of the Infinite’

I was honoured to be asked to write the following foreword for Joy’s very special book:

Joy speaks of the tiny openings that can open up anywhere. Certainly there are lessons in weeds, as Joy says, in their ‘rising above confinement’. Certainly the hedgerow blooms open each year, the daffodils rise up simply because they are anchored underground. This small book of Joy’s, in its blooming hope, is
much needed right now. Sacred Noticing speaks of resilience and hidden things yet to unfold, misted dreams, or our true identity saved as seeds to sprout again in a new day.
Joy is always looking for the signs of hope. Beyond the workman’s mess in her new abode, by standing and looking out windows. Beyond grief and pain, by looking at what can be recovered and restored. Beyond sickness, by looking at what can be born out of heartache and long suffering. Joy asks us to be aware of the voice that is always calling us beyond ourselves, ‘to break free, to notice the sacred unveiling in every bird and tree’. Nature speaks to those who stop and notice, and its these messages from nature that Joy seeks to translate for us in her sensitive, soft voice. And nature also points us to the creator who speaks in our own inward beings, and Joy is attentive to this also, weaving the two sacred inner and outer worlds together in the poet’s deft way.
The carefully chosen quotes that echo Joy’s words make this book even more of a gem, something to keep on the bedside table. And when hope seems hard to muster, Joy reminds us to trust in the small things, not the obvious and bold, but to look out for brief glimpses, those ‘fragile, filmy flags’. To stay rooted, believing in Kairos time, in rhythms and the turning of the seasons. To live ‘receptive to the light’, ‘paying attention to all sentient beings’ and remaining pliable, open, accepting, while still anticipating, as nature does, the breath of the Holy orchestrating all things.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Author and Contemplative Poet

Available on Kindle or Paperback through Amazon at the link below. I do encourage you to partake of Joy’s restful, soothing voice. She has been an encouragement to me since I first started writing and a true contemplative who has much to offer by pointing out to us the true and real things. Ana Lisa.

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