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Poetry Is Not A Luxury, Not in These Times, Not in Any Time

Poetry Is Not A Luxury, Not in These Times, Not in Any Time

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…
[from Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things”]

I find refuge in the poets who words give life and meaning to our lives and our striving for meaning at any time in human history.

The poet Audre Lorde reminds us:

Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.

And here’s a poem from Devin Jenkins for right now, right for this moment in time:

A Crack

Beyond the insular shell
Marking recent existence,
A crack has been made
Where the seed of soul is sprouting,
Opening wide.
There stands
Weeping in recognition
Of what it was unable to see
Imprisoned in a shell
That blocked the light of truth
From illuminating
The shared sorrows
Of the Great Heart.
It weeps in gratitude
At the hints of a forgotten togetherness,
Weeping of the Original Community
From which it’s been sheltered
For so long.
There it weeps
In remembrance
Of abandoned kin
Songs never to be heard
that once resonated in all.
Songs sung
By the old growth forests
And rivers
By the Rhinos
And passenger pigeons,
By another indigenous language
Lost each week.
Waters flow once more.
This time
A knowing
That all rivers
Reach the sea,
Where what was
Once forgotten
Is now remembered
And separateness dissolves
Into those streaming waters
Rolling down the cheeks
Of the world
In the direction of the Heart,
Spreading thin and becoming
Part of the song
Where it recognizes that
All tears
Pour
From the same set of eyes.
– Devin Jenkins

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