‘This thoughtful collection of poetry explores the connection between the joys and pleasures of contemporary life and its complexities and anxieties. And more especially, when that life is strengthened by faith. There is an acceptance of the world and its uncertainties and this is well caught in both the diction and the imagery contained in these poems.
With his feet firmly on the ground the poetry contrasts daily existence and spiritual existence and the possibilities for all of grace and redemption. ‘Hear the call of the Music on a distant shore’ he reminds us. There is here an overriding sense of the promise inherent in human endeavour, in life and love.’
— Elaine Barker, poet and author of The Day Lit by Memory and High Heels & Tartan Slippers
Mark Worthing, Author and pastor (verified owner) –
Geoff Johnston has been writing and publishing poems for more than two decades, but this is his first collection. The title for this collection, The Last Hint of Epiphany, picks the underlying theme of light found it these poems. In language that is sometime spiritual, sometimes sensual, sometimes gritty, there is always light, and often from unexpected places. The first poem, ‘The black wet,’ sets the tone. ‘Into the still calm/ the black wet/ where every longing/ finds its rest.’ These are poems about the pain and grittiness of life. But they are also, and usually at the same time, about hope and light.
Johnston looks at the failings of religious leaders, the pains and disappoints of life, the experience of refugees, the ordinary and the profound, but always finds light. In ‘Believers in a Venezuelan prison,’ for instance, in the midst of bribes, filth, despair and the pains of humanity, ‘an “Hallelujah” is heard’ which is more than just an hint of epiphany.
Similarly, picking up on the plight of recent refugees, especially those arriving on Christmas Island, Johnston challenges those in the Christian community to think about their own obligation to these desperate souls. In ‘Come unto me’ he begins with the lines: ‘Jesus said/ ‘Let the boats come unto me/ do not hinder them/ for to such belong/ harbours of my relief.’ And after a short reflection on refugees past and present, he finishes the poem with the strong and ironic lines: ‘Come to the Island/ Christ’s mass Island/ The welcome is sweet/ wine to drink and bread to eat/ “Come unto me,” Jesus said.’
For all of us who have been struggling to find the words to express our feelings in the face of contemporary injustices, without losing sight of the hope and light that is also present, Geoff Johnston’s profound and delightful collection give us the words we have been seeking.
Author and pastor