Friday, January 10, 2014

We all need more poetry in our lives

I do not have enough poetry in my life. There have been lovely but rare times when Drew and I have decided to pull out a poetry book on a lazy day, and it's always a rewarding experience. Reading poems out load can be interesting, emotional, insightful, and can spur wonderful conversation. But sadly, these days I don't have enough poetry in my life.

Last year my book club did something I highly recommend. One of our members decided that the meeting she hosted would be a poetry meeting. Everyone was asked to bring a poem and then we went around and read them out load and discussed each before going onto the next one. A really wonderful night. And it was so fun to see what the other members chose. One woman read the lyrics to Eleanor Ridby by the Beatles since she felt music was the first poetry that really spoke to her (and the lyrics to that song certainly are haunting). Another woman shared short poems her husband had written. My mother (who is also in the book club) read a poem about Africa that reminded her of her childhood there and brought tears to her eyes. Through sharing poems we ended up sharing personal things about ourselves, often unknowingly. It was beautifully intimate.

The poem I chose was "The Earth" by Anne Sexton. Not sure what it reveals about me but you may have some ideas:

God loafs around heaven,
without a shape
but He would like to smoke His cigar
or bite His fingernails
and so forth.

God owns heaven
but He craves the earth,
the earth with its little sleepy caves,
its bird resting at the kitchen window,
even its murders lined up like broken chairs,
even its writers digging into their souls
with jackhammers,
even its hucksters selling their animals
for gold,
even its babies sniffing for their music,
the farm house, white as a bone,
sitting in the lap of its corn,
even the statue holding up its widowed life,
but most of all He envies the bodies,
He who has no body.

The eyes, opening and shutting like keyholes
and never forgetting, recording by thousands,
the skull with its brains like eels-
the tablet of the world-
the bones and their joints
that build and break for any trick,
the genitals,
the ballast of the eternal,
and the heart, of course,
that swallows the tides
and spits them out cleansed.

He does not envy the soul so much.
He is all soul
but He would like to house it in a body
and come down
and give it a bath
now and then.

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