The Gathering Time: A Collection of Poetry and Prose to Lift the Spirit

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There is a beauty -- and an enormous personal value -- in the pleasures of reflection. When you look deeply within yourself, when you actively engage yourself in the world around you, when you heighten your senses to soak in the perfection and the subtle delights of the natural world, you are doing yourself an enormous favour.

Trouble is, in this fast-paced, hectic world, we can rarely find the time. We are wired to our work 24/7, we are rushed off our feet with family matters on our personal time -- and our daily lives are run at warp speed. And when we do finally find the time to reflect upon the world's joys and delights, our thoughts must inevitably be counter-balanced by the notion that this world of ours, for all its beauty, can still be a dangerous, threatening place.

Maeve Omstead-Johnston acknowledges all of that. She understands how the world changed forever on Sept. 11, 2001 -- and she acknowledges as much in the first writings of latest published work. "This attack on mankind,'' she writes, "pressures us to stand back and regroup. Each hour is precious. Each life is fragile.''

The Gathering Time is a lovely work. It's a collection of the author's poetry and prose -- and if there exists a central theme, it appears to be that of the universal search for inner peace, belonging and serenity. The author reflects upon her happy, active childhood, her growing-up years, her adult life as a spouse and mother. From the perspective of her 72 years of joy, fulfillment and heartbreak, she reflects upon her loves, her passions, her friendships and the simple things that make our lives worth living.

What makes The Gathering Time so special is that Maeve Johnson is clearly grateful for everything that has fallen her way. That sense of purpose, happiness and gratitude runs like a clear, bubbling spring throughout her writing -- and the reader is left fuller and richer for the experience of having read it.

The Gathering Time collection will be most appreciated by the mature, adult reader. It is both thoughtful and thought-provoking and it presents itself as a work that will infuse its readers with a deep, resonating sense of all that is good, all that is truly splendid, about our time on Planet Earth. At its heart is a compelling sense of wonder, awe and optimism. That's a remarkable literary combination -- and The Gathering Time is a book that you will treasure.

Maeve Omstead Johnston is a Canadian writer, born and raised in Fort Erie, Ontario. The Gathering Time is dedicated to her late parents -- and also to her late son, Frederick William Omstead, who died in 2004.

The Gathering Time: Poetry and Prose
By Maeve Omstead Johnston
ISBN 9780973093827
$14.99 Cdn

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