Words

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Reading Kelly’s blog this morning, I was confronted with the fact that I have lost poetry in my life. In high school, I loved poetry. Reading it, writing it, everything about it. I took creative writing classes all through high school and college and despite some of the REALLY bad things I cranked out during these years, some of it wasn’t half bad. But it all of a sudden stopped sometime in college.

And I think I need the beauty of poetry back in my life.

Here is one of my favorite poems by Elizabeth Bishop, who was my very favorite poet in high school. From what I can find, it is just referred to by the first line as the title, “It is Marvellous” or “It is Marvellous to Wake Up Together.”

It is marvellous to wake up together
At the same minute; marvellous to hear
The rain begin suddenly all over the roof,
To feel the air suddenly clear
As if electricity had passed through it
From a black mesh of wires in the sky.
All over the roof the rain hisses,
And below, the light falling of kisses.

An electrical storm is coming or moving away;
It is the prickling air that wakes us up.
If lightning struck the house now, it would run
From the four blue china balls on top
Down the roof and down the rods all around us,
And we imagine dreamily
How the whole house caught in a bird-cage of lightning
Would be quite delightful rather than frightening;

And from the same simplified point of view
Of night and lying flat on one’s back
All things might change equally easily,
Since always to warn us there must be these black
Electrical wires dangling. Without surprise
The world might change to something quite different,
As the air changes or the lightning comes without our blinking,
Change as our kisses are changing without our thinking.

One thought on “Words

  1. Amen. I miss non-academic literature period. During my breaks when I have time to read novels it’s a breath of fresh air. I certainly haven’t been reading poetry — and as a general rule it hasn’t seemed a good idea to write poetry when one hasn’t taken time to read it.

    I dare to hope that if there is a priestly choice between your Hopkins country parson-poet and your activist city-priest, I’ll take the first. As much theology as I’m trying to cram in now, I have a sort of suspicion that poetry and fiction will be the sort of theology that sustains me (in addition to the basic nourishment of the Scriptures in the daily office) in the long years when I do not have the energy or inclination to read the latest book in systematics or 4th century liturgical history or Greek analysis.

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