• advent journal: the small fire of winter stars

    by  • December 2, 2014 • advent journal, hope, poetry, Uncategorized • 2 Comments

    Mark Strand died this week. He was a poet, even a former U. S. Poet Laureate. In the middle of the violence that makes up our world, it feels worthwhile to say thanks for the life and words of a poet who held a sense of appropriate insignificance with grace; therefore I offer two of his poems tonight as we continue on our Advent journey.

    This first one speaks to me because these short days don’t set well with my tendency toward depression. I’m grateful for the informed hope I hear in these words.

    Lines for Winter

    Tell yourself
    as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
    that you will go on
    walking, hearing
    the same tune no matter where
    you find yourself—
    inside the dome of dark
    or under the cracking white
    of the moon’s gaze in a valley of snow.
    Tonight as it gets cold
    tell yourself
    what you know which is nothing
    but the tune your bones play
    as you keep going. And you will be able
    for once to lie down under the small fire
    of winter stars.
    And if it happens that you cannot
    go on or turn back
    and you find yourself
    where you will be at the end,
    tell yourself
    in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
    that you love what you are.

    I love the creative tension of what it means to be human: that we matter greatly and that we are not indispensable both at the same time. He describes it well.

    Keeping Things Whole

    In a field
    I am the absence
    of field.
    This is
    always the case.
    Wherever I am
    I am what is missing.

    When I walk
    I part the air
    and always
    the air moves in
    to fill the spaces
    where my body’s been.

    We all have reasons
    for moving.
    I move
    to keep things whole.

    Let us keep moving together.

    Peace,
    Milton

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    2 Responses to advent journal: the small fire of winter stars

    1. December 2, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you, Milton, for remembering him and sharing the poems. I had missed the news of his passing.

    2. December 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      It is hell keeping things whole, but I hear what Mark Strand said and strongly identify. His poetry reminded me of a quote from Rumi: “A poet is someone who can pour light into a cup then raise it to nourish your beautiful, parched, holy mouth.” My thirst was quinched by his poetry and saddened by his passing. Keep creating.

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