Saturday, August 23, 2008

Poetry commotion


It's very, very late here, but this couldn't wait.

One of my very closest friends these days is a very wise woman named Dorothea. (How fitting that her name, from the Greek, speaks of God's gift!) She and I met at church a long while ago now, probably because I had been saying outrageous things while wearing rather over-the-top vesture and wielding a large and smoking incense pot.

She'd not been to church in quite a while, and discovered she was welcomed back, and welcome to be back, much to her surprise and consternation.

Dorothea is a wonderful poet, who has been gifting me with the fruits of her artistic labors for lo these many years now. How I've envied her wordsmithery [if it's not a word, it ought to be]! Oh to be able to tell truths economically! To communicate richness of meaning through poverty of words!

That's Dorothea. Don't get me wrong: She can write prose beautifully, but it's her poetry that captures my attention and leaves me breathless with delight and surprise and gratitude.

She's been through the wringer -- more than most of my other friends (who, being recovering addicts for the most part, have amazing stories to tell) -- and the crucible of that suffering has somehow refined her ability to connect words one to another.

I'm in awe of her artistic accomplishments, and have felt inadequate in the face of them.

So it was with great trepidation this morning that I sent *her* a poem. To the one who sends *me* poems.

I'd been wanting to do it for a long time, but never felt adequate to the desire.

SFC McG and I arrived here Down Range and I noticed that first night how bright the stars were, and not just because there wasn't a lot of light pollution as there is in the States. There was no moon. It was the new moon.

Over the course of our time here, I've been noticing (when the dust isn't too bad!) the moon waxing full. It's been beautiful. Compelling. Easy to see how the ancients would worship it as divine.

It's now waning again, marking the passage of time, as it does.

I'd been wondering what to say about all that, until this morning. This is what I came up with:

A Full Moon in Iraq

We arrived at the new moon,
the night sky as dark
as my ignorance,
naïveté, and
fears.

Almost
imperceptibly,
the evening light
returned to illumine
the heavens and my soul.

I sent it off to Dorothea, who's in the hospital, and once again in a lot of pain. (Please remember Dorothea and her husband Mike (it's his birthday in a couple of days) in your prayers, if you're the type to do that sort of thing.)

I really agonized over sending it, but I figured when I've been to other places and attempted to speak the local language, people often seemed to appreciate the effort, even if/as I was making a fool of myself.

So I figured I'd try to speak Dorothea's language even if/as I was making a fool of myself.

Love is like that sometimes, isn't it?

Tonight, after being in the office most of the day (and until 2330) -- even though it was my day off! -- I found a note back from Dorothea that took my breath away. Here's what she wrote:

I met you in the light
Of Easter morning.
My days have been
Illuminated, mostly,
Ever since.

How wonderful that when things seem a bit bleak, and my thread in the warp and woof of life feels incredibly fragile and inconsequential, as it has felt here, I'm reminded so simply, so economically, and so beautifully of what's true.

Love is definitely like that.

God is love.


All rights reserved, 2008
Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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4 comments:

Mary Coady said...

Gorgeous poem from you, T. You under-rate yourself. And a beautiful response from Dorothea.

Now,for the here and now, an important grace note: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SFC McG!!!!!!!

Luis Carlos Montalvan said...

Namaste & Blessings to you, my Dear Padre Tim...

I think about you every day and working hard to make God and all proud...

Love and blessings,
Luis

marne.laughlin said...

Father Tim, once more you bring tears to my eyes by sharing your growth and god's grace, and an outrageously wonderful poem!
Love and peace,
Marne

islander said...

there is a comminity of souls - erik

 
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