My pastor’s wife’s favorite book of the Bible is Lamentations. We like to mock her about this. Really, what kind of a weirdo loves Lamentations, for goodness sake? Still, even while mocking her I know why she loves it. Sometimes comfort is found in dark places. I myself find Ecclesiastes to be one of the most encouraging books for my own spiritual life.
I just started reading Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner. I have enjoyed reading many of Winner’s past books and I’m already greatly enjoying this one. In it Winner has a chapter where she reads the following poem by W. S. Merwin to her family at Thanksgiving. In the book she is actually pointing out the bleakness of the poem more than the hope. Since I first read it I’ve re-read it three or four times. Each time I hear it with a different tone. There is darkness. But I think there is also hope.
I have to also admit that I had never heard of W. S. Merwin. When I discovered that he was Poet Laureate of the U.S. in 2010 and won the Pultizer Prize for Poetry twice, I was both slightly embarrassed and even more convinced that I need to work on my own poetry education.
Thanks by W. S. Merwin
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions
For the full poem, visit here.
Poetry Friday is hosted at The Iris Chronicles this week.