Poetry is food for the soul

In English class the other day, a student who sits behind me opined that she hated poetry, that she couldn’t stand it. I was completely bemused. I love to put myself in anothers place and try to see the world through their eyes and I have been turning that idea over and over in my mind like a pebble in my mouth, tasting of grit and iron.
It is my opinion that poetry is somewhat like liquor, it’s not that you don’t like it, it’s just that you haven’t found the right one for your taste. Just as Absolut tastes incredibly vile to me, my sister thinks it’s the nectar of heaven. I find my vodka bliss in Stoli and she turns her nose up at it…there are poets and poetry for every taste and every mood and emotion.
There is a great tool at the Poetry Foundation’s website and I use it often.
It helps you find the perfect poem for how you are feeling that day, or to express what you want to say to someone else, but cannot find the words for.
Take this poem:

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I know what my heart is like
Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
Left there by the tide,
A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

I love this little poem at melancholy moments right now.

Today is a day for steady work on all of my tasks, yet it is a day for reflection as well. Much was accomplished in the last week. I was awarded a Freya scholarship, completely unexpectedly. I was offered an internship at my church and I had a meeting at church with Barkley, my rector and Lisa the assistant rector to discuss the role I would play. At the end of that meeting we had an interesting conversation.

My relationship with God and the journey I am on right now is so unlike anything I have experienced. Alternately terrifying and filled with moments of transcendent peace. Terrifying because of the vulnerability I must sometimes show to people. Truly, I am one of the more sensitive people in the world, literally feeling other people’s pain, but having spent a lifetime hiding that. Now suddenly I am moving into a process where it will be required of me to open myself to people so they can discern whether I am right for ministry.

As I expressed my fear about this, Barkley and Lisa reassured me and we talked about the seminaries I might attend and I was struck by how much I felt I belonged. This has happened before when I have been with any of the clergy at the church and had conversations about my faith experiences. What is striking to me is that I’ve really NEVER felt that way before these moments with them. It’s quite jarring when you realize you are finally where you are supposed to be. Humbling too.

One other thing Barkley said has stuck with me and I hope to talk to him further about this. He said a life in the church makes you understand the idea of the “fall” is much more than a theoretical idea. That you will see the absolute worst of people and they will disappoint you and that can be disillusioning for some people just out of seminary. I wondered about his experience.
Maybe he means that people don’t keep promises, they commit and then back out.

I already know this about people, they are imperfect, that’s what makes them beautiful and interesting. I am imperfect too. After all, church is where sinners go…that’s why they are there. To find redemption and try to reach out to God, but it’s the trying that matters. Sometimes, it’s just coming that matters, when you can’t even try. That’s when a priest can reach out and help you to.

At least that’s what I believe.

My dog, Tucker the Yorkie is begging to be played with. “Throw the Ball!” he insists with his eyes.
Me, I need to go find a quiet place, away from people so I can write my “Prompt Post”


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