Words of Hope: Poetry

I wouldn’t say Dad loved poetry when he was younger, but he definitely grew to love poetry. We both found poetry more and more beautiful after knowing my husband, Shann. Shann did an MFA in poetry, and now our home is full of poetry books. When Dad found out about his stage four lung damage this summer, I read him some poetry from Carolyn Forshe’s beautiful collection “In the Lateness of the World.” She lived in El Salvador during the 1980s and left right before Archbishop Romeo was assassinated. The movie with Raul Julio, Romero, was a must-watch for any family member. Dad loved this movie, and he loved Archbishop Romero. He listened with his eyes closed as I read to him Carolyn’s poems about her time in El Salvador. After a poem, he would nod in appreciation. Carolyn was invited to El Salvador, and her poems are called poetry of witness. Dad absolutely loved this image of poetry as witness. He would memorize certain poems he loved most, like Wendell Berry’s, “The Peace of Wild Things.” We had a collection of William Blake’s drawings and poems that we would read from. He loved this poem which is a poem of witness. 

 “To see a World in a Grain of Sand

 And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

 Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

 And Eternity in an hour.”

 ― William Blake

Dad loved the beauty of the world and the beauty of the word. Dad’s life, in my opinion, was poetry of witness.

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good news to all.” – Luke 2:13-14 

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