Tonight was the Lent talk I was fretting about earlier...one on poetry as part of a series "Lent and the Arts", offered by a neighbouring parish.
When the publicity mailing came round, I very nearly fled the country as the line-up consisted of 4 emminent and erudite persons, each speaking on their particular area of expertise - and me.
For heaven's sake, I was the only one listed who wasn't a Canon of Glouceste!
However, by dint of sheer determination I reminded myself that I surely loved poetry just as much as anyone loved anything, and that I really did have things I wanted to share. I then spent my day off shut in the study surrounded by endless collections of glory...and delivered the result tonight.
And when it came to it went down a treat, actually.
Given that really all you can do with poetry is talk - read it to them, talk about it, talk around it...I was half expecting people to drop off.
What would you do?
But they attended. Most beautifully.
I read them a poem by Rowan Williams, - Jerusalem Limestone - and invited them to close their eyes and let text draw them into the wilderness landscape.
Mine were the only eyes that remained open.
I read them a meditation from Mucky Paws about sand, and one woman spoke to me afterwards about the words, all the while rubbing thumb and forefinger together as if she were running invisible grains of sand between her fingers.
At the end, there might have been questions but the vicar asked us to stay silent, to reflect, and it was very good.
It was also hugely helpful to me as a reminder that I love poetry with a passion and that though I may no longer harbour ambitions to complete my PhD, I do still know my the point of the PhD in the first place...
Let me tell you what Sue Monk Kidd has to say on the subject of poetry and the Journey
"“I’ m discovering that a spiritual journey is a lot like a poem. You don't merely recite a poem or analyze it intellectually. You dance it, sing it, cry it, feel it on your skin and in your bones. You move with it and feel its caress. It falls on you like a teardrop or wraps around you like a smile. It lives in the heart and the body as well as the spirit and the head.”
Poetry is something to warm your hands around on a chilly spring evening.
In a few months it will be the lilac scented warmth of a summer evening.
It works to forge emotional connection
But either way, it points, sacramentally, to something beyond itself...and its signing is a language that speaks to me.