“Dear friend,

dear trembling partner, what

surprises you most in what you feel,

earth’s radiance or your own delight?

For me, always

the delight is the surprise.”

From “Matins”

The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck.

A couple of weeks ago I read this collection of poems again. I had been on campus till 10pm and when I got home, I didn’t want to go to bed. So I read this until two in the morning, even though I had to teach in the morning and even though I was going to be observed. I say this because this is not normal for me–staying up late, putting off preparation, assignments.

I read this in the bathtub, surrounded by bubbles and lamplight:

“I’m talking

to you, you staring through

bars of high grass shaking

your little rattle–O

the soul! the soul! Is it enough

only to look inward? Contempt

for humanity is one thing, but why

disdain the expansive

field, your gaze rising over the clear heads

of the wild buttercups into what? Your poor

idea of heaven: absence

of change. Better than earth? How

would you know, who are neither

here nor there standing in our midst?”

(From “Field Flowers”)

Perhaps I cried. Perhaps in the moments when God speaks:

“Over the still world, a bird calls

waking solitary among black boughs.

You wanted to be born; I let you be born.

When has my grief ever gotten in the way of your pleasure?”

(From “End of Winter”)

Sometimes God surprises me–the way He speaks to me through poems, through wonder, in bubbles, in moments of quiet love that feel like sea waves.

Always, always, I want to ask Him: Why me? You, who created all of this.



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