Brightness from the Shadows
This is an earnest and heartfelt book of poems that addresses all aspects of life, from love and family, to freedom, loneliness, confusion, and perseverance. Author Jon M. Nelson calls on his varied experiences to write poems that speak to human commonality. The first section, ‘Human Condition,’ has poems about children, father, mother, friends and other relationships. ‘Humanity Thrives’ compiles Nelson’s musings on how we should interact with each other and treat each other. There are poems of inspiration and encouragement, story poems, patriotic and soldier poems, and very intimate ones written for his love.
Although there are many poems that deal with tragedy and pain, the overall tone is one of cautious optimism, and heartfelt faith, both in God and in the better side of humanity. This is not naivete; his experiences as a soldier and his encounters with bullying, racism, and hate underlie many of his poems, but his reaction is with a sense of deep sorrow and even confusion for people’s atrocities, rather than anger or bitterness. Even through the confusion, he chooses love. This is an uplifting collection; readers will empathize with his sorrow, but he never lets himself actually sink into despair; the most depressed poems sit firmly placed between inspirational ones, as if Nelson refuses to let himself be overcome by his negative contemplation – there is so much of good in life.
The poems show clearly Nelson’s love of country, his patriotic pride, his deep connection to his home and family and faith. They are full of sentiment that is authentic and unpretentious. Not sophisticated, they are more child-like in their simplicity and sincerity. Most of the poems are in the form of rhyming couplets, with uneven rhyme and meter; this rough-hewed style, like that of country music, appeals to the common experience with emotion and conviction. Everyone will find something that resonates here.
Jon M. Nelson