Yes, fellow poet nerds: I’ve found a new poem for the month of June.
I’ve been looking around a while, agonizing, trying to find something contemporary, perhaps less lyrical than we’ve been focusing on so far. And maybe even something spiritually moving for us (0r at least for me). Jeanne Murray Walker is new to me. I’ve never read her work. All I really know is that she’s a poet who teaches at the University of Delaware and “Staying Power” is from her newest collection of poems New Tracks, Night Falling.
Today while sitting in a Vietnamese restaurant in Paoli, Pennsylvania (we’re home visiting for a week), my dear friend Nancy (who is the kind of wise, generous soul I hope to be in 35 years) pulled “Staying Power” from her wallet and declared it the poem she hopes her friend Jeanne Murray Walker will one day read at her funeral. I sighed and made that hmph sound while reading it. Yes, I thought. This is the poem I’ve always been trying to write about why I doubt and still believe. This is what it means to write hope.
Though this is not the easiest type of poem to memorize, it is the type of poem I’m most moved by: picking up a language by the “scruff of its neck,” wiping its face and watching it “toddle right into the godfire / again”? Good grief. That’s good stuff. That’s my life. As much as I can struggle to believe, as much as my situation may allow my brain to swell in on itself until I don’t recognize what’s true anymore, until I don’t remember the moments of God’s reality that have already been seared in…
As much as I “smash” that phone “with a hammer/ till it bleeds springs and coils and clobbered up / metal bits,” it does always ring again. That’s what grace is, right?
And, yes, “a voice you love whispers hello.”
(I said to Nancy, “I think this is next poem for the blog.” She said, “I dare you.”)