Last summer I blogged about what I consider to be possibly the best book on classical education, Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child (Memoria Press). It’s by Cheryl Swope, my fellow board member on the Consortium for Classical & Lutheran Education (whose conference is next week in St. Louis–join us!). Cheryl tells about how she applied classical education in homeschooling her daughter Michelle, a special needs child who is afflicted with autism and a number of other heart-breaking mental problems. Whereas progressive education, with its reductionistic view of human beings, would have just tried to program her with some basic survival skills and stop there, the humane, personal, inspiring approach of classical Christian education caused Michelle to blossom. To bloom. Not only was she achieving academic levels that her doctors thought were impossible for her, she was awakening to the realm of the true, the good, and the beautiful. You have got to read Cheryl’s account of her daughter, who emerges, despite her continuing difficulties, as a complex, accomplished, and compelling young woman.
Anyway, Michelle–now 19–has now published a book of her poetry. It will blow you away. By any standards, the poems are extraordinarily meaningful and touching, filled with vivid imagery and lovely language. To know Michelle’s background, though, is to appreciate her all the more and also to appreciate the potential of classical learning for shaping a young mind and a young heart. But that’s not all. Her poetry is profoundly Christian. She writes about the Law & the Gospel, about experiencing the Sacraments and what they mean, about the Cross, about Jesus and what He did for her. She shows just how deep catechesis in God’s Word can go, even in someone whom we might not expect. After the jump, I will give you two of her poems, quoted with permission, along with a link so that you can buy the whole collection.From Through Time’s Looking Glass: A Book of Poetry by Michelle Lynn Swope:
See on this cross what thorns did say.
See now a rose in fine array.
Love complete ere was shown,
ere did bloom was the rose:
See yon man, bowed and bent.
See Him laid, yon crucifix.
Pipes are played, a hymn is sung,
Now that hour is sundown.Wine in cup, and blood on tree,
Hunger for the rosary.
What Christ has done for you, for me,
Pains He shed, bread borne for thee.
The old man bowed under the Law,
Born under cross and curse.
But this Man – who knew no sin
Knew the pain, strikes and marks sin would bring.
Justice came and paid the cost,
For those He came; He saved us all.
He did what justice demanded,
All paid for our release!
This Man’s body broken by sin,
Broken by judgment we stand chagrined
(to bear upon ourselves yet groaning,
to beg for God’s tender mercy).
The lash He suffered once for all
and to His Father obeyed His call.
Judgment exchanged for Peace.
This old man lies stiff and cold,
Soon twill be but dead and old.
One day, though, it shall rise to the skies
In God’s Banquet Hall, everlasting life.
(c) Michelle Lynn Swope. 2014. All Rights Reserved. USA.