As I was reading King’s Cross by Timothy Keller this morning I came across this sentence (paraphrased because I don’t have the book on hand right now). He said: Suffering can be said to come when our desires don’t match our circumstances. I think this is very true and the thing that helps me best to navigate the chasm between where I am and where I want to be (or maybe that’s where I think I should be) is poetry. It really speaks to the very marrow of my person in a way that nothing else can. A good poem is like one of those Kung Fu movies where the sword blade is so sharp and the sword handler so deft, you don’t even realized you’ve been cut into shreds until moments after it happens. That’s what poetry does for me. It touches my suffering. It sears and illuminates the parts of me that I can’t even express fully to myself. Robert Frost feels similarly about poetry. He says:
A poem begins with a lump in the throat, a home-sickness or a love-sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where the emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the words. ~Robert Frost
And because love poetry is a particular weakness: Enjoy Matthew Olzmann!