Have you noticed any influx of poetry in your life during this time of the serious need for our response to Coronavirus? I have. ‘Course you may know my fondness for poetry, it has shown up in these letters before.
Recently, with the stressful news of Coronavirus, I have been reminded of our collective response to 9/11 and the stress level experienced by so many people in our country then – shocked or broken hearted or fearful or unnerved by the possibility of more attacks. I recall a radio newscaster turning to poetry as they themselves were so stressed, inundated as we all were with intensified news coverage. Instead of reading the news of the day they laid the report down and read us a poem.
Poetry on the news. Poetry read for its impact, for what it offers by way of contact, nourishment, the simply beauty of being alive even though being alive includes struggle, pain, suffering and the unknown.
I have been touched by poetry that is being shared right now in the groups I participate in – poetry of support, of miraculous simplicity in the face of fear. The simplicity of love. Of being. Of finding a place that remains untouched by the pains of the world – not because it rejects the world but simply because there is something beyond… something indescribably beyond…
There are many poems I long to share with you in this moment. But one rises to the surface. It surprises me because it isn’t directly a poem to comfort us in times of stress or a poem with the encouragement that we are being called to higher awareness due to collective suffering.
You may recall the poems I sent to you a month or two ago. Along with one poem I sent encouragement to read the poem out loud. Today I offer you a recording. The poem is written out below (you’ll have to scroll a bit to come to it). Before you allow your eyes to fall upon the written words, please let yourself be read to. Here is a link – a recording of Pádraig Ó Tuama reading “The Book of Genesis,” by Kei Miller:
May you be with this poem, may you be with yourself as you have so generously been with others…
with deep gratitude,
Book of Genesis
Suppose there was a book full only of the word,
let – from whose clipped sound all things began: fir
and firmament, feather, the first whale – and suppose
we could scroll through its pages every day
to find and pronounce a Let meant only for us –
we would stumble through the streets with open books,
eyes crossed from too much reading; we would speak
in auto-rhyme, the world would echo itself – and still
we’d continue in rounds, saying let and let and let
until even silent dreams had been allowed.
~ Kei Miller