Going Forward: A Poem
Over this past year I have been deeply influenced by Charles Williams’ thought, particularly his insights on prayer. I have never felt that the idea of prayer-as-request was exactly satisfactory as a way to understand human interaction with the living God. Both my own experience, and wider reading in the classics of spiritual formation, indicated that indeed what we call ‘prayer’ is richer, deeper, and more relational than I ever imagined at first. Williams’ articulation of the idea of ‘coinherence’ in both fiction (Descent into Hell) and theology (He Came Down From Heaven and The Descent of the Dove) helped me understand more fully what it means to be part of the Body of Christ, an understanding that in turn has helped me pray more deeply.
This little poem came about after meditating for some days on the idea, and image, of refracted light, and is grounded in my own recent experience of prayer. Usually my poems take a lot of time and intense focus to write; this one came easily and quickly, and was written almost exactly as it stands in about fifteen minutes one morning before I went to church. It felt like a gift, and indeed I think it was.
The image above is a photograph that I took at St Michael’s by-the-Sea in Carlsbad, CA, during Easter season.
As usual you can click on the title to hear my reading of the poem, if you can’t see the player here.
You call us into darkness, Lord,
The dark that isn’t dark to you.
Your white-light glory holds our joy
As yet unprismed into time
For us to see.
Yet here it is;
The living web of co-inherence
Binds us with and in that light;
Where leaning on another’s strength
Is prayer, and giving we receive.