Word of Hope: Devastating Beauty

My husband Shann teaches poetry for Stanford. I read one of his lessons and it was so beautiful I felt like crying. He says that courage is needed to be a poet.  

Courage is so necessary in poetry because pain is involved. It’s the pain of the growth and the work necessary through countless hours of reading. It’s the discipline to welcome critique and cherish what wise writers recommend to change. It’s the ability to risk, the patience to be rejected, and the suffering required to be emotionally and spiritually present in the face of devastation or terrible beauty.  

I have witnessed terrible beauty in the death of my father. His body resting in the spare room after his spirit departed. Being fully present to scenes of this devastating magnitude requires a courage that has taken me many years to embrace.  

It really came to me from a decision of slow unfurling into the hope of ultimate love. A realization and experience that God is present especially in the darkest times.  

Here is a poem written by renowned poet Christopher Howell.  

We Are All God’s Poems 

God, I may be one of your poems, but I think  

I resemble more clearly a butterfly-like signal 

that wanders dreaming between eons nearly  

beyond the reach of even solitude or love. 

Or I may be the shadow of one of your eyelashes  

fallen at a bend of the garden path along which all 

existence journeys, held lightly in your arms. Maybe  

I am a shred of the hope that is your basic substance 

and our only fuel. My nature aside, surely I am less  

than a speck among all of what has, or will, become. 

But if I am not a poem, God, in your mercy grant 

I may live in the ongoing impulse to write them, 

another of your impossibly precious gifts, a small  

blossom of which I now humbly offer back to you.