"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

23 October 2006


(I wanted to post this last Friday, but computer glitches did not allow.)

From Mark Jarman's Unholy Sonnets, #34

Although I know God's immanence can speak
In sunlight's parallels and intersections;
Although I know the spiritual techniques
For finding God in all things, when I pray

It is to nothing manifest at all.
And though I know it's only technical,
I do not pray to nothing. Yesterday,
One of those off-hand, razor-edged rejections
The world flips like a Frisbee grazed my cheek.
It drew blood. No consoling recollections
Of having shaken off that sort of play
Helped me to forget it. I could not recall
My strength, and brooded, lost and tragical,
Till, marking this blank page, I found a way.

Failure seems to be the predominant mode of my life lately. I love this poem because it reminds me, first, that I'm not the only one who can't seem to live by spiritual cliches, and second, that I need to write. So it's off to finish the grading and give myself time to write, seriously, for at least a few hours this so-called break.

Needing to stop brooding, lost and tragical. What a pathetic way to live this "one wild and precious life" (Mary Oliver).


GrumpyTeacher1 said...

That is quite a poem. I feel better knowing I'm not alone spiritually. I feel that way a lot, especially at church.

Thanks for posting that.

alaiyo said...

You would love Jarman, you and LuCindy both. My favorite of his Unholy Sonnets is in his other book, which I don't have (yet!), but these are marvelous.

Fieldfleur said...

Awesome stuff. Thanks for sharing!

I wouldn't know any (modern) Christian poets if it weren't for you and Cindy!


alaiyo said...

You are welcome, Teri!

Thinking of you often -- Beth