I begin with a word from another poet from whom a poem will appear in the future. In his book Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, he wrote, “And one thing that would make it even more countercultural would be to dare to read these poems aloud and slowly, in defiance of the silent skim-reading that has replace an older tasting of language.” p. xi
Now a poem by another favorite poet of mine, Scott Cairns. It is found in Love’s Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life. In this book he composes poetry that reflects the thought of various mystics. The poem I have chosen is inspired by Nicholas of Cusa. It is the last sentence that has stayed with me over the years.
I have proposed, Master, by way
of likeness, by crude figures of speech,
a sort of foretaste of Your nature.
For this, You who are ever-merciful, spare me
for attempting to trace the untraceable
savor of Your sweetness. Who am I,
wretched and sinful, to attempt
to show Who cannot be shown,
to make visible Who is invisible,
to offer a taste of Your infinite, utterly
inexpressible sweetness? I have never yet
merited so much as a sip of it myself,
so certainly my words will diminish
rather than magnify this sweetness
I desire, and desire to name. So great
is Your Goodness, even so, that You allow
the blind to speak of the light.
That last line expresses a humble desire to speak of God or the Divine or Ultimate Reality while knowing that such speech always falls short. And yet, we are compelled to speak.
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2 thoughts on “Pathway Poem 2”
Thank you for this lovely poem, LaMon.
I thought I’d mention that you didn’t tell us the name of the editor of *Waiting on the Word*, Malcolm Guite.
Has Pat found any relief from her pain yet, LaMon?
We’re doing fine and have no news at all to report.
*F i s h e r H u m p h r e y s *
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Hey Fisher, Glad you liked Cairn’s poem. The book is by Guite who chose the poems and wrote wonderful meditations on all of them, which include some of his own. There was no separate editor. Pat still has pain, but seems to be not quite as bad as a week or so ago. She goes next week for physical therapy. Peace, LaMon
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