A nightstand companion for inspiration and comfort.
A book like Bedside Prayers: Prayers and Poems for When You Rise and Go to Sleep is not one to
gobble down like a mystery novel or best-seller. Edited by June Cotner, this compact book of poems
is better in small bites, savored slowly.
It is also best read in the spirit of those who wrote the poems: On either edge of sleep, the poet (and
reader) can drop worldly pretense, momentarily set aside cynicism and through the poet’s words
take the stance of a child, not embarrassed by outright expressions of wonder, longing, gratitude and
Divided into sections titled “Inspiration,” “Comfort,” “Reflections,” “Nightfall” and “Morning,” the
collection draws from a variety of spiritual backgrounds, yet most of the poems are not colored by
language associated with a particular faith. Accessible and straightforward, they speak of the
universal human experience, often expressing a genuine desire to live more kindly, be more fully
awake to the beauty around us and move closer to the divine.
Bedside Prayers includes verses by George Eliot, Rainer Maria Rilke, Buddha, Helen Keller and
Ralph Waldo Emerson as well as numerous lesser-known poets. Two Santa Fe poets, Penny Harter
and Elizabeth Searle Lamb, have works in the collection.
Harter, in particular, provides one of the more original voices in the book, whose poems range from
the almost sing-songy to the fresh and surprising. For the reader in a receptive, dawn or dusk state of
mind, both kinds have their place.
The New Mexican
Cotner’s book may help you sleep.
It’s the end of a long day. You’re in bed feeling as worn out as your favorite flannel pajamas when
you reach for a copy of June Cotner’s new book, “Bedside Prayers.”
You read a passage from the “Nightfall” section and soon are lulled to sleep by a gentle prayer.
Poulsbo author June Cotner doesn’t mind if her book puts you to sleep. In fact, she took special care
to find just the right poems and prayers to sleep on and rise by. Her collection includes inspirational
poems and prayers that offer comforting words and wisdom.
“Bedside Prayers” includes poetry and prayers drawn from Christian, Gaelic, Native American and
ancient Chinese traditions. Cotner feels it can be read by anyone seeking spiritual comfort or
guidance, regardless of one’s religion or ethnic origin.
Read an Excerpt
In All Endeavors
In all endeavors
Strive to celebrate
The spirit of the warrior ...
Whether tending to the flower garden
Or searching for the heart of the divine.
These Are The Gifts I Ask
These are the gifts I ask
Of Thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road,
Good cheer to help me bear the traveler's load,
And, for the hours of rest that come between,
An inward joy of all things heard and seen.
Henry Van DykeBedside Prayers. Copyright © by June Cotner. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.