My friend, colleague and poet, Thom Dawkins, asked on Facebook a few weeks ago if poetry still mattered. I believe his question was directed at his fellow poet community, but I answered, of course it matters, poetry speaks truth through simplicity and grace and communicates things about the human heart that the heart can only identify.
As I have mentioned here before I work with a school in my building, where my daughter attends. So in the days following the incident in Newtown, I have waded though my own family's grief and processing, as well the community of teachers and staff here at the church. And I know that poetry still matters because what has brought me comfort has been the words of author, poet and theologian Wendell Berry. It is a poem I memorized years ago and committed to heart and so I leave it here with you:
THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the week drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come in the peace of wild things
who do not tax thier lives with forthought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with thier light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and I am free.