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Posts Tagged ‘time’

Growing up–and then driving–in Southern California brought its stresses, especially the iconic So Cal freeway system with its clogged arteries of frustrated cars.  When approaching those giant concrete interchanges, the synapses must fire at an even faster rate as one considers, “Do I really want to go east? Why are there so many black skid marks on the side of that concrete bridge soaring into the clouds? How earthquake-safe are these things anyway?”

This week, one of Scott Cairns’ poems, “Sacred Time,” has proven to be a spiritual touchstone for me. He does not speak of freeways but of the “sprawl and velocity” of our minds. I know my mind, anyway, whether in California or Illinois, constantly swerves on and off the ramps of my daily decisions and preoccupations with little thought of the God who keeps this whole mess together–and speaks through it all. I’m thankful for poets who can speak so clearly of our need to slow and abide. Enjoy the poem.

Sacred Time

Not time at all, really, but space

like you don’t know, and knowledge there,

in general, finally admits

how meager a consolation

it has been all along. Once

you grow accustomed to the sprawl

and velocity your own mind

articulates (and that queasy

rocking tapers to a hum) you might

have pause to entertain a sense

of presence reaching suddenly,

and now, and deeply, ever so.

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As we near the end of the year, it hardly seems original to talk about how fast time passes. A year, a decade, my entire adult life–they have all fluttered into some mysterious storehouse of synapses in my brain. Most events and memories lie dormant until some trigger–a picture, a song, a smell–brings them into bud again.

Sometimes I feel time passing so quickly I almost experience a sort of breathless panic. 2010 seems so hard-edged and space-age, so beyond the scope of anything I imagined when I was asked as a fourth-grader, back in 1981, to write an essay describing what I would be doing in the year 2000. (I said I would be a single woman living in the mountains and raising Siberian huskies. Ironic, given my aversion to large dogs. And the fact that I’ve been married for 16 years. And live in Illinois.)

We have no control over the future, of course, but we can write poetry. Poetry can do the hard work of preserving the moments that make up our lives. And I believe the Holy Spirit has used poetry, both others’ and my own, to transform me as I reflect upon the rushing past.

This beautiful poem found in Scintilla, a magazine out of Wales, captures the way I want to live in 2010.

At Staplehurst

by Hubert Moore

No need to cross the bridge

to catch the train to London.

It sides up to you

and what you miss

is rabbits lounging in the present

green and easy

on the other side.

You don’t have to climb

the steps and look

at how they don’t consider

when, how long, how soon,

but keep time tender

by nibbling back and back

its blade-tip as it grows.

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