The themes in Thelma Barlow Blaxall’s Nature Echo Series Book 2 are enthralling reprises of the purity of faith and virtue she uses as the lodestone of her rhymes. Many of them, of course, are connected to nature or natural imagery as the collection’s title would suggest, but readers will find it a pleasant surprise that they mostly spring from heart-driven thoughts and enduring recollections of memorable experience, good and bad.
The author’s aim to always connect with nature is sublimated into life. Her poems are alive with Blaxall’s own brave thoughts of the past and bright hopes for the future. Unspoiled nature is echoed in the purity of her lines, of her wish to always come back to a pristine, unspoiled place–as exemplified by a poem called “Childhood Innocence” which tells readers that, “Common lives and common thoughts/ Are the stuff which life has brought/ If God’s grace would be a part of his intent,/ Take, receive what he has sent.”
In sum Blaxall achieves what she’s aimed for–to make life echo the natural ideal. She chooses her lines well, for unspoiled beauty and simplicity. They always flow with a spiritual grace–heaven on earth is what forms within readers’ own imaginations as the poet continually echoes nature as God intended it to be appreciated by mankind.
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About the Author
Born Thelma Loretta Barlow in Aberdeen, Maryland, she was the daughter of Scotch American immigrants of the Southern Highland Appalachian Valley. The family came north to the Susquehanna Region to seek a better life. Two children of the family died at an early age, leaving the author and a younger sister, Shirley. Both became nurses. It was during this time that she enrolled at the local university, earning a BS degree. When she retired, she and her husband bought a farm, raised sheep, and grew Christmas trees. Deciding to continue her studies, she earned a master’s degree in liberal arts at the age of sixty-six. She had two studies abroad in economics and art history. Continuing her interest in writing, she parlayed a college senior project into a book about Appalachian culture called Cultural Transformation of the Back Country, which was published in 2001. She also continued writing poetry. Her poetry has been published in seven poetry anthologies, earning an Editor’s Choice Award and several runner-up mentions. She benefited from her interest in animals for her first book of poetry of the Nature Echo series and her observation of the nature of man for the second Nature Echo book.