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10/01/2008

the poetry of waiting



I finished reading Home too late last night, but oh, the fatigue is worth it today. I cried a little and drifted off to sleep basking in the beauty of a perfect ending. The very last sentence. Such a good, true bedtime story.

And though the soft morning light in our bedroom was beautiful, my health didn't feel so lovely and I caught a whiff of despair. A few tears, perfect words of comfort from Johnny, prayer, my morning routine, the aroma of chicory coffee filling the air, and then, this verse from Daily Light:

"Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."
[1 Cor. 9:25-27]

Johnny said something similar as he hugged and soothed me. "This is a fight. Don't give up now. We're near the end. It's hard, but you can do it. Jesus has this - He's in control. He loves you." And so, after settling into the living room with an Empire-mug full of coffee, I picked up where I left off - grasping and fighting for faith, for peace, for beauty. When next I doubt the mercy of God, I hope to quickly recall how He wiped my tears this day with brushes of grace ~ soft gestures, exactly in the way He made me to see (and smell) the world:

-Steam rising from my coffee cup.

-Thinking of those verses and this "wear your crown" plaque made of clay.

-A vanilla candle lit in the morning light, reminding me of this quote from Gilead:

"The moon looks wonderful in this warm evening light, just as a candle flame looks beautiful in the light of morning. Light within light... It seems to me to be a metaphor for the human soul, the singular light within that great general light of existence."

-Catching up on Writer's Almanac podcasts.

-Feeling the clash of my husband's silliness (too early), then realizing just how good he is for me.

-How golden the autumn sunshine.

-A new issue of this joy+ride.

-Recalling two poems from the latest IMAGE (perused during an afternoon-soak in the tub yesterday):

Psalm as Frustration I Can Live With
by Nicholas Samaras

I love the fierce wind outside my window
but know I would freeze in it.
I love the fierce wind from where I view it.
I love to wake and feel the presence of the Lord within.
I feel his presence only to lose it,
lose his presence only to feel it return.
I am seriousness which falls away from seriousness.
I control and lose control. I seize and lose my grasp,
don't see and glimpse again.
I ration the irrational. I dive into ecstasy
and love the Lord as long as I can bear,
as I love the fierce wind outside my window
.

The Psalm of Then
by Nicholas Samaras

Then, the Lord heard me in the wilderness of my soul.
Then, the lost place of me became clear.
Then, I recognized distraction for what it is.
Then, I was freed from the desert of diversion.
Then, I was moved to the green oasis within me.
Then, the still voice of the Lord was as the depth of water.
Then, I could cease the constant music in my head.
Then, I could move beyond myself and the noise of myself.
Then, I could hear the smallness of my own voice.
Then, the still voice of the Lord was as the depth of the water.
Then, the lost place of me became clear as a cascade.
Then, I could hear the bass of my name.
Then, I heard the Lord in the wilderness of my soul.
Then, stillness and stillness and stillness sang
.

OK, one more:

A Prayer
by Tara Bray

like a slap, like a bone, like a spice,
like a thought gone still in the light,
another kind of sorrow, a kind of life,
a cheek stroked, then freckled.
Its rhythm amounts to injury, to a small space.
No singing. Just a sack of air, a soiled shirt,
more sermonizing that picks away at the grass.
There is no seedbed of ecstasy,
just mildew in the sheets, and prayer
like a crack at the birds
who without pause, shape themselves
out of flight, out of song
.

-Noticing hues of autumn-orange on the covers of recent periodicals from the mailbox.

-Squirrels chit-chattering outside. And, I spy hummingbirds.

-A second cup of coffee.

-Diving into Acedia & Me this evening. I think I battle acedia myself at times. Can't wait to read Kathleen Norris' brilliant thoughts on the matter.

6 comments:

nicole said...

you're welcome!

beautiful poetry, and autumn in print.

Laura Leigh Dobson said...

love the poems. . . and your posts always uplift me. :) blessings!

kate o. said...

that first poem is beautiful. i let my image subscription lapse and am now questioning my decision.

jenni said...

I know, Kate. I've decided that as long as we can afford it, I'll keep subscribing to IMAGE. It's always so, so good.

You might want to go ahead and renew because the next issue - #60 - is a symposium to celebrate 20 years. "Fully Human: Art and the Religious Sense" w/Kathleen Norris and others; new artwork by Mary McCleary, Makoto Fujimura, etc.; fiction by Ron Hansen; poetry by Scott Cairns, and more! I'm renewing ASAP.

shari said...

thanks for the kind link jenni. lots of goodness here. i'm curious to hear more about the kathleen norris book.

jenni said...

The new K. Norris is fascinating as usual. I think I'll post a good definition of acedia on my blog this week. Such an interesting little word.