Right now I’m doing a unit of CPE, or Clinical Pastoral Education for those of you who do not know “Professional Church” jargon. Within the context of the unit we have done some work surrounding poetry and tapping into a part of ourselves which might otherwise have been lost to the ages, our “inner poet.”
Part of this was obviously to write poetry. Now I haven’t written poetry per se for quite some time. Maybe Middle School English is as close as I got, but even then that’s upwards of 14 years ago. Needless to say, I did not view myself as a poet. But now I do.
This week we moved into the discussion surrounding how our prayers could be more poetic. This comes on the heels of my doing a paper this passed semester surrounding the idea of “theopoetics” a theological term which tries to replace the “logical” language of modernity with the “poetical” language of post-modernity. Lest I divulge further into even more academic jargon, this project struck a chord with me.
During the middle of our four hour session, we were asked to spend fifteen minutes writing a prayer using the tools we had learned and discussed earlier: playful language, not erasing words, focusing on sound, recovering our inner child are among those things which we were to employ. Here is the result of the exercise:
You are like the wet grass
which clings to my feet
in the early morning hours.
I sometimes hate you, as I find
you hidden in places long after
I returned to the hardness of the
cool concrete. So annoying. You stain
me so all will know where I’ve been
and even if I put on socks and shoes
You will still be there.
You are like fog, I can see you
are there, but I cannot grasp you
with my bare hands. You terrify me
because you cloud my eyes, not letting
me see where I am going. I find myself
forgetting you’re beauty because
of the nuisance you can be.
But O’ the beauty. The smell of
that grass on a hot summer ay.
The hope it brings when those blades
first turn into the living Kelly
from the dormant Cleveland.
The way you climb from the
recesses of that deep abyss with
fingers white as snow, clawing their
way towards me, towards the world
I can see.
You are grass, you are fog.
You are both, you are neither.
I’ll publish more of my poetry/prayers as the weeks go by. My hope is this spoke to you as much as it was as I was writing down these words.