Poem of the Week · Reflections

Sacramental Poetry

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Dancing under the installation Anything Can Break

One of the joys of a sacramental view of the universe (recognizing that God has made Himself known to us through all of His creation) is how all the things that we take pleasure in suddenly have more meaning. Dancing, eating, painting, and even the enjoyment of poetry, becomes an act of worship as we use these activities as an opportunity to pay attention to what God has called “good”. Poetry, specifically, as I was recently reminded in Preston Yancey’s Out of the House of Bread, helps us to heighten our awareness so that we perceive what is glorious all around us, which in turn offers Christ to us anew.

Allow these gorgeous excerpts, from Swedish Nobel Prize winning poet Tomas Tranströmer, to refresh your attention to the world around you. There are no titles; all headings are my addition. These pieces are taken from the collection Bright Scythe, translated by Patty Crane.

On nature:

“There’s a tree walking around in the rain,
hurrying past us in the pouring gray.
It has an errand. It’s gathering life out of the rain
like a blackbird in an orchard.”

On living:

“Sometimes my life opened its eyes in the dark.
A feeling as if crowds moved through the streets
in blindness and angst on the way to a miracle,
while I, invisible, remain standing still.”

On communication:

“Tired of all who come with words,
words but no language,
I headed for the snow-covered island.
The wild has no words.
Unwritten pages spread out in every direction!
I come upon tracks of roe deer in the snow.
Language but no words.”

On human connection:

“During the dismal months, I sparked to life
only when I made love with you.
As the firefly lights and fades out, lights and
fades–in glimpses we trace its flight
Through the dark night among the olive trees.”

 

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