Erin and I are bookaholics – we hoard books. It’s a double-edged sword because we’re
running out of space to store them! We’re both avid readers of fiction and we also have
extensive professional libraries. (The minister’s curse!) So, the upshot is we’ve got a whole
pile of books for which we must find space.
Let’s just simply say we like to read and we collect books.
Over the years I’ve set aside books to read in retirement – unfortunately, I’ve never fully
retired so they’re still waiting to be read. Some folks like to read about travel, or science, or
world history, or the “classics,” but I’ve set my sights on poetry, primarily American poetry.
Our poets write in a particular “American style” about the American experience: Philip Appleman,
e.e. cummings, Adrienne Rich, Wendell Berry, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Kenneth
Rexroth, Mary Oliver, Walt Whitman, Rita Dove, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to name
but a few. Each of them is unique and each of them has something important to say.
Like American art, and American music, our words (when used with craft and care), reflect
our peculiar American psyche. For good, or for ill, the American experience is not a perfect
one. Darkness sometimes lurks just below the surface, and
our inner demons are always longing to come out and play.
Poetry enables us to examine our bitter and better selves in
the light of day. Sometimes we like what we see, and at
other times, we’re ashamed of ourselves: “Is that who we really are as a people and a nation?”
That’s OK because like all the other cultures which inhabit the globe, we’re only human with
all that that entails. And so, we celebrate our existence with words:
The Evening Is Tranquil and Dawn Is a Thousand Miles Away
The mares go down for their evening feed
into the meadow grass.
Two pine trees sway in the invisible wind –
some sway, some don’t sway.
The heart of the world lies open, leached and ticking with sunlight
For just a minute or so.
The mares have their heads on the ground,
the trees have their heads on the blue sky.
Two ravens circle and twist.
On the borders of heaven, the river flows clear a bit longer.
From Pastor Kent’s Desk
Grace & Peace, Kent