Sunday, January 31, 2010

Religion and Poetry

I purchased a copy of Margaret Avison's Listening, the collection of her poems that she had almost finished when she died, and which was published posthumously. I have been aware of and admired her work from the beginning when she kindly consented to be included with a bunch of no-name poets in a small anthology of modern Canadian Christian poetry put together by Harry Houtman for Wedge that also included my work.

I admire how her faith shows through her work. It doesn't matter if she deals with spiritual matters openly or in a roundabout way, the strength of her convictions always shines through, even when wrapped in symbolic language. She is never sentimental nor dogmatic yet you are always aware of the spiritual values upon which she bases her life. She wrote as she lived, as a servant of God among her fellows.

Certain happenings, small and large, that have recently touched my life have made me stop and think about what I am and why I am. These are not easy questions to answer, and the answer seems to keep changing. No, not in basic ways but in small peripheral perceptions.

I consider myself a poet. That's how I express myself. But it is also the way I can share the image of God, to share our common divinity with my fellow man, express my reason for being why I am. Through a holy gift holiness may be shared.

But the gift also depends on the giver. My poetry, I feel, keeps developing and I will not let it become stagnant and trivial. Sometimes I fear my faith and my love for this Creation does not shine as strongly as it could. In times like that I turn not to Scripture or to dogma but to the writings of people like Avison.

That's when I have to reflect on my place in this creation. How I have to express the creative spirit that flows through me. How, with strength but not with force, I too can be a symbol in and to the world.


annaken said...

Good evening Jefferson,

If one is spiritual to the core, anything that distracts from the holiness of God and a life lived which is pleasing to Him becomes repugnant.

Thus, words that enlighten and uplife people are words of value.

Words also can be used to promote a debased life style, and used to inflame people to do immoral actions.

A writer has a huge responsibility to use his or her talent in a way which will please God.

How wonderful that this lady chose to use her God given talent in such a positive spiritual way!

annaken said...

My apologies, I noticed I made a typo in the second paragraph. I meant to say "uplift people."