Review of The Consequence of Moonlight by Sofia Starnes

Run Toward the Darkness with Borrowed Light

In times of danger and disaster throughout history, true believers have made their mark by running toward the darkness. Whether it was a plague in second century Rome or a twenty-first century hurricane in America’s deep south, if we follow Mr. Rogers’s advice and “look for the helpers,” we might be surprised by how many of them are Christians who have chosen to be part of this particular dark setting in order to put the Light of the World on display.

As Christians, we have no light of our own, but the nature of our Borrowed Light is so compelling that others are drawn to its warmth and luminosity, just as we are drawn to the borrowed light of the moon against an inky sky.  In her poetry collection (The Consequence of Moonlight: Poems), Sofia Starnes has expressed this exact quality of sainthood, the here-ness or there-ness of a life that “orbits the earth but [is] not of the earth.

It is the discipline of recalling the source of our Light that keeps the underlying Presence in proper view. G.K. Chesterton borrows the same reality for his own timeless metaphor, for “just as the sun and the moon look the same size” at first glance, a right understanding of the universe soon reveals that “the sun is immeasurably our master, and the small moon only our satellite.” (229)

An accomplished poetess, Starnes employs delightful wordplay to embody the intangible to convey the loveliness of her observations:

“I wonder how such puny a word as pit,
could be both seed and slum, both dormant agency
and tomb; both conflict verb–met up against–

and scoop; a stone that yields, yields small,
yet hurts the hand. I wonder how,
but pittances deceive; thus is the way of potency

and plea; the oil is notched by hooves
and by the Fall, and then by falling fledglings,
insecure.

How measured is the earth for gift and scar,
for creaks and croons, for the precarious child.”  (69)

Borrowed Light for Living

One of my favorite elements of poetic writing is the surprising Scriptural connections that arise. Writing of Israel’s waste and desolate places, the prophet Isaiah imagines the complaint of future generations:  “The place is too cramped for me, make room for me to live.” (Isaiah 49:20 ESV) The poem “Catacombs” (64) adds to the imagery with comparison to an 80-year-old woman’s real-life six-day confinement in earthquake rubble, prompting the reader to examine her own surroundings. From what cramped places may I also emerge unscathed and with a great story to share?

Let us continue to trust in the borrowed Light that dwells in power, living our way into richly share-able tales by holy risk and trusting in the the “Lord of spill and swell” (118). May we also, in our own day, run toward the darkness with a glorious excess–“not merely patched: pampered, festooned, unspent,” but instead (YES, Lord!) trusting in the future of “a risen body our flesh has never dreamt.” (118)

Many thanks to Paraclete Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase The Consequence of Moonlight: Poems simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Rejoicing in the Brilliance of Our Borrowed Light,

Image Credit:  Calvin R. Morin (on the bridge to Rackliffe Island) 

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

49 thoughts on “Run Toward the Darkness with Borrowed Light”

  1. I love the phrase “borrowed light” that you use here. My goal is always to empty myself of my SELF to allow God’s light to shine through me. You have written so beautifully about this light.

    My post today was also about moonlight. Great minds…:)

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    1. Well, in all honesty, my first inclination is to high tail it toward the brightest and safest and most well-lit corner of the universe. And I forget all the time that I’m not running a generator myself–I’m so thankful for the brightness of His glory!

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  2. Very interesting concept about the moon reflecting the sun’s light and we as Christian’s reflecting the light of God. I just read about this the other day in a book. Sounds like these two books have a lot in common.

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    1. Reading poetry slows me down. Something I would skim over quickly in a full page presentation–because it’s all laid right out for me, right?–I read and re-read when it’s merely suggested in poetic form.

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  3. This fits well with a post I wrote some time ago entitled “The Call to be Darkness Chasers.” Great reminders of how the Lord positions us in the world as His light-bearers!❤️

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  4. Ahhh, Michele. You have shone new meaning on darkness. Instead of running from it, we can run toward it with the borrowed light of Jesus in our lives. Loved this. I’m not a big poetry reader, but what you shared today intrigued me. Loved this!

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  5. I love that phrase “borrowed light” too. I’m not traditionally “religious” but I’d consider myself to be spiritual and love this idea of light, energy, goodness, spirit that exists in us and in the universe and how we can transfer it or lend it to others when they need it.
    Julei | This Main Line Life

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this!

    Jesus said that He is the the Light and when we ask him into our hearts then he comes into us…and bring His light with Him. I love the phrase “borrowed light” and I had never thought about it that way before.

    Realizing this truth makes our choice and lifestyle seem that much more important because the things we do can block that “borrowed light”.

    Thank you so much for sharing! #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Poetry definitely does slow me down when I read, and so do several specific authors whose deep thinking keeps me from speeding along. I think that’s a good thing for me, because I always tend to hurry things along.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a beautiful thought – “borrowed light”. My prayer each morning is for His Light to shine in and through my life.

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  8. borrowed light, that’s very beautiful isn’t it, comforting and yet a lot to think about, sending love and thank you so much for being part of the #ABloggingGoodTime Link Up

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