Saturday, September 28, 2019

Open Mics, Climate Strike - and Great Barrier by Barbara Kingsolver

The Word from the Corner
published on North Andover Poets Corner

Go to an open mic poetry show when you have a chance. Why? Why do I go? These shows have taught me - reminded me really - of one thing. It's strange that I needed to be reminded, but I learn again that we are all feeling, thinking beings. We all have so much going on inside, all the time. 

 That's why I say there's no bad poetry, only honest or dishonest poetry. Or maybe only honest and not-fully-honest poetry. 

Great good poetry leads us to feel and think. It opens doors. It let's us step through. And we find ourselves standing in the same room as we started, but we see it for the first time. And we clearly see who and what we love. We feel and think. That's what poetry can do. 

Come out to the first Tuesday4Poetry Open Mic of the new season at the Stevens Memorial Library, this Tuesday, 7PM. Poet Blaine Hebbel from Ipswich is the feature, "Protest Poetry" is the theme. 

I went to the Climate Strike yesterday. Here's a poem by Barbara Kingsolver that speaks to the place where we find ourselves, behind a great barrier. Only Love will help us across. This is a kind of protest poem. Hope to see you Tuesday.

Great Barrier By Barbara Kingsolver The cathedral is burning. Absent flame or smoke, stained glass explodes in silence, fractal scales of angel damsel rainbow parrot. Charred beams of blackened coral lie in heaps on the sacred floor, white stones fallen from high places, spires collapsed crushing sainted turtle and gargoyle octopus. Something there is in my kind that cannot love a reef, a tundra, a plain stone breast of desert, ever quite enough. A tree perhaps, once recomposed as splendid furniture. A forest after the whole of it is planed to posts and beams and raised to a heaven of earnest construction in the name of Our Lady. All Paris stood on the bridges to watch her burning, believing a thing this old, this large and beautiful must be holy and cannot be lost. And coral temples older than Charlemagne suffocate unattended, bleach and bleed from the eye, the centered heart. Lord of leaves and fishes, lead me across this great divide. Teach me how to love the sacred places, not as one devotes to One who made me in his image and is bound to love me back. I mean as a body loves its microbial skin, the worm its nape of loam, all secret otherness forgiven. Love beyond anything I will ever make of it. (from Time Magazine, September 23, 2019)