The Coastal Star

Books: Tender Flower of Heaven celebrates poetry

By Steve Pike
You know that feeling you get when you hear a song on the radio that brings back a memory? It’s as if you’re transported back to that moment in time — to the sights, sounds and smells of another lifetime.
    Ann Purcell transports you back to those times in her life not with song, but with poetry. Purcell’s new book, Tender Flower of Heaven, is a collection of 130 poems she has written over the past 30 years from places ranging from Switzerland and Holland to Heavenly Mountain, N.C., and Livingston Manor, N.Y.
    Purcell, who splits her time between Delray Beach and Livingston Manor, has been a teacher of Transcendental Meditation since 1973. Each poem in Tender Flower of Heaven was inspired by her teacher, the legendary Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
    Purcell originally published Tender Flower of Heaven in 2006 basically for family and friends. The second edition was published to a larger audience this past December.
    The poems, Purcell said, “certainly bring back a sense of place. I can’t say that with all of them, but with some of them, for sure.’’
    One in particular is called Am I the Poet? Written in 1989, it’s one of Purcell’s first attempts at poetry, as well as one of her most revealing.
    “It expresses my creative processes,’’ Purcell said. “I often refer to this poem when I’m talking about creativity.’’
    “Silence stirred, an impulse heard
    “Beyond all meter, beyond all word …”
    “I wrote it in Switzerland,’’ Purcell said. “But I get the feeling I didn’t write it; I just watched it being written by itself, as though I was a vessel.
    “Every now and then, when writing poems, it just flows so effortlessly you think, ‘Where did that come from?’ Other poems haven’t always appeared so effortlessly. This poem expresses that effortless experience.’’
    And in each poem, Purcell takes you on an experience worth reading.

Tender Flower of Heaven, by Ann Purcell; available at
http://EnlightenmentFor, 205 pp., $8.99

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