Wooing Words — a Poetic Reflection

It didn’t come to me like a dove or a bow-kissed sky.

It came to me like a chain,

And a ball, 

And a chunk of long, hard time. 

At Christmas, it was laughter, 

Sprung out of silence 

Like birdsong in a winter field. 

But Mondays…

It was the quotidian traffic of words and syllables and letters that desperately needed an officer 

To shout, and blow his whistle, and 

Move them along.

I’m learning to shout like the officer.

I see his uniform, and the shiny buttons on his coat,

The orderly way the words obey his commands.

I want to be like that, but 

Characters are capricious creatures, and philosophies even more fickle.

Still, I’m finding there’s a knack of it.

There’s a time for harsh words and whistles that shriek above the street, 

But there’s a friendship, too. 

It’s a hospitality, 

Like old Mrs. Reyburne, who takes me in and fills my hands with tea and biscuits.

I’ve got to offer tea to even the least of these letters.

I’ve got to fill them up with sweets and let them overflow and spill out into meaning,

Word Puddles 

of reflected shapes and refracted light

That coalesce

To form the rainbow that wasn’t there before,

And brings the olive branch at last into view.

It didn’t come to me like a dove or a bow-kissed sky,

Until I asked it to come in and stay a while.

Thankful for Imperfect Art

Art is an earthly representation of the creative power of God, dim and weak in comparison, but undoubtedly so.  We are made in his image, and being made in his image we display, like him, the ability to create and to breath life into our creations.  As an artist, I often find that my creations die too early, or, at least, do not reach full maturity because I forsake them, citing their imperfections as my excuse.

And then it struck me.  What if God had done that with his imperfect art?

All things were good when he made them—perfectly good—but they did not stay that way.  God gave his creatures a will, a will which could choose to follow him or turn from him.  In turning from him, we turned from perfection, and thus into imperfection.

Still, God did not do as I would have done.  He did not forsake his art.  Rather, he pursued it, even became a part of it when he saw fit to take the form of a babe, born amongst peasants, suffer the lowly, hungry life of a working man, and was denied and crucified by the very imperfect creations he had come to pursue and perfect.

How many songs have I left unsung?  How many stories and poems and articles have I left undeveloped and unfinished due to my petty frustration over their iniquities?  Undoubtedly hundreds, but I am thankful that God shows me a different way.  Even now I am tempted to leave this bit of writing undone.  I am tempted to quit the document and never look back at it, too unsatisfied with this sentence, or that word, or the whole concept in general… but I, too, am an imperfect creation, and my creator did not abandon me to non-existence due to my defects.  As an artist, I have a responsibility to my art to develop it, to give it at least a chance at life, even considering its deficiencies.

Thus, as an expression of my thanks in this regard, I hope to be a more responsible creator in the coming year.  In my quest to become more like Jesus, I hope that I will pursue my art, like he did, and gift it existence even when I feel it doesn’t deserve it. Here begins my fight against perfectionism, which has long been the, often victorious, enemy of my work.  It will be a long-fought battle, of that I am certain, but if it was worth it to God, it is worth it to me.