Tuesday Poetry

It’s Wednesday, I know, I know. Yesterday was Valentine’s! And the day before was a snow day! The days go wacky in the depths of this winter weather. We still managed to infuse poetry into our Tuesday. Both of us kind of had slapdash poems; who cares? It’s fun to use your brain in a creative, stretchy, thoughtful way that you don’t normally. Without further ado, the poems.


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A field beyond

The snow is falling quickly here, and sideways. It’s a nice occasion to stop and slow down. I’m home from work (hooray for snow days!) and my husband is working from home. This is how life should be: slow, with two or three cups of coffee per person, and people alone together.

There has been so much on my mind. Since last writing, I am feeling less stuck. I am worrying less about if I’m seeing and hearing God. That feeling comes in waves. But what’s been stuck in my mind is the delicate balance of knowing that God is both imminent and transcendent. Meaning: God needs me to care about the daily, mundane nonsense – the nitty-gritty, the politics, etc; God also needs me to care about the greater good, the long-term vision, the kingdom.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and rightdoing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about.


That field is the kingdom of God; a beloved community if God is not a part of your vision and vocabulary. I can’t help but feel that I can see that field, a vision of wholeness and holiness, even though there’s a lot obscuring it. John Lewis gave an interview for the podcast On Being, and one of the things he discusses is that those in the Civil Rights Movement had a vision of a beloved community. When they worked toward their goals, it was on the level of the imminent (politics, community-building, etc); the goal, however, was always transcendent.  They behaved like it already existed; the worked like the kingdom had already come.

What is our vision for ourselves? It feels so limited, if I look at Twitter or Facebook or the news. It’s pieces of legislation; it’s political victories and defeats. That is certainly important, but it’s not enough, is it?

John Lewis also spoke of the immense inner work that activists underwent, and it strikes me that this is something most of us miss. The revolution is two-fold: inner and outer. The revolution can only be sustained if we can sustain ourselves. The world is broken because it is made up of broken people. We need to address both levels of brokenness.

Focusing on this inner revolution has helped me feel less stuck. What does the beloved community look like, in my own small world? I think it has less advertising, less crappy TV, less mindless surfing of social media. Fewer snap judgments. It has smaller churches and more coffee hours; dinners that we make together. It has hours set aside for games, and hours set aside for volunteering, and hours set aside for consuming art. It supports local businesses, and does not judge when we simply must get to Walmart because our wallets or our time demands it. It resists duality, over and over and over again. It resists duality when it comes from the Right; it resists duality when it comes from the Left.

When I stop getting worked up into a rage, and I close my eyes to everything around me, I can feel my heart open up, into a wide field where my soul can lie down in the grass. Now to actually build that community … 

Tuesday Poetry

It’s Tuesday, which means poems! Today, there was a strange mix of icy rain and gigantic, spaceship-sized snow flakes that kept the schools closed. For whatever reason, William Carlos Williams’ poem “This is Just to Say” was echoing in my head. The Academy of American Poets has it here for your reading – it’s short, sweet, and beautiful. It’s one of my all time favorites for its clear imagery that somehow manages to pack such a wallop of a feeling. With that in mind, we wrote poems that were short and sweet. 


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Salty Bruises

In the midst of all the noise that was the 2016 election cycle, and is the beginning of 2017, I’ve been quietly doing something that feels radical: unplugging from the matrix. We cut cable at my apartment; I’ve logged out of all my social media accounts and restrict their use to the weekends (mostly). I blocked sites that tend to create a feeling of anxiety within me. In a time where news feels more urgent than ever, and the need to connect more vital, I am opting out.

There was just too much anxiety seeping through my screens. Too much surface level discussions and analysis; too little compassion. Too much need for me to be a Savior.

I can’t save the world. Not with the fiercest advocacy, not even with a march of 10 million people. It’s relieving to say, “I can’t do it” because I expect myself to be able to do a lot of things. This hasn’t stopped me from trying, though. Maybe I’ll be the one to post the eloquent status that goes viral, or the pithy tweet that challenges others in the right ways! I haven’t yet though. Usually just my siblings and friends retweet me; nothing happens except I get more hysterical with each new article I see emerging.


It’s very hard to find God in so much inanity, so much dullness. I watch everyone around me reacting, and that’s not all bad, but I wonder how healthy it is. In my own personal life it is difficult to always be reacting; it’s very tiresome. How does that play out in public life? I don’t have enough reactions.

“The deepest part of me is God,” reads a small plastic card stuck on my mirror. I know and believe that, truly, in my core. I sure as hell don’t feel it right now. I know that hope, faith, and love remain. I cannot see how, or where, or with whom sometimes, but I know it. The feelings of anxiety and of vigilance seem more powerful, though. We just have to ride them out, I suppose. You have to either submerge yourself with a wave, or dive completely into and beneath it to survive. (I am terrible at this in real life; waves are horrendous.) If you dilly dally, you get caught in it and bruised badly, saltwater stinging your nose.

If there were an eloquent way to end this, I would. Maybe I’ll say this: the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, it’s certainty. This is not my idea: it belongs to Fr. Richard Rohr, or maybe Henri Nouwen, or maybe any spiritual thinker worth their salt. Maybe this can be an age to clarify my faith, even if it’s going to leave me with salty bruises.