Skip to main content

The Gift

Just finished reading Louise Glück's 2006 collection of poems "Averno", and the following piece is prompted by her poem, "Landscape" where she describes the present as "the part of the present you can see." It set me thinking (possibly in the light of reading "The Order of Time" by Carlo Rovelli recently and some work I am involved with here regarding the historical legacy in Northern Ireland) that not only do we need to make the most of the present moment in general, but especially here in Northern Ireland where the understanding of the past and hopes for the future are both contested spaces.

Yes, I know that the semantic interplay of "gift" and "present" is a bit of a cliché, but it does capture for me the precious nature of the "now." There is also a shamelessly clumsy hybrid reference to famous lines by both Dickinson and Marvell. But if you are going to plunder other poets for inspiration, pilfer from the best - and in that include Glück. Whilst this is actually the first time I have even come across this Nobel laureate (thanks to my son Owain who gave the book to his mother earlier in the year), it probably won't be the last piece that Louise Glück's writing sparks in me... Although that lies in an uncertain future...

Who knows what the future will be
Despite our plans and preparations?
In this place even the past is uncertain;
It is frozen pain, opaque with fissures -
A mosaic of partial, partisan memorials.
All that is guaranteed to us is now,
the gift that is the present
So let us hold that hope-filled,
Wingèd thing lightly.


Popular posts from this blog

A Woman of no Distinction

Don't often post other people's stuff here... But I found this so powerful that I thought I should. It's a performance poem based on John 4: 4-30, and I have attached the original YouTube video below. A word for women, and men, everywhere... "to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known." I am a woman of no distinction of little importance. I am a women of no reputation save that which is bad. You whisper as I pass by and cast judgmental glances, Though you don’t really take the time to look at me, Or even get to know me. For to be known is to be loved, And to be loved is to be known. Otherwise what’s the point in doing either one of them in the first place? I WANT TO BE KNOWN. I want someone to look at my face And not just see two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears; But to see all that I am, and could be all my hopes, loves and fears. But that’s too much to hope for, to wish for, or pray for So I don’t, not anymore. Now I keep to myself And

Psalm for Harvest Sunday

A short responsive psalm for us as a call to worship on Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday, and given that it was pouring with rain as I headed into church this morning the first line is an important remembrance that the rain we moan about is an important component of the fruitfulness of the land we live in: You tend the land and water it And the earth produces its abundance. You crown each year with your bounty, and our storehouses overflow with your goodness. The mountain meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are filled with corn; Your people celebrate your boundless grace They shout for joy and sing. from Psalm 65

Everyday Discipleship

Reading again the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho in preparation for our current Bible Study on "Whole Life Worship" and I am struck again by the difficulty, and importance, of connecting such stories with the everyday experience of people... and indeed myself. Years ago a friend wrote a poem that said "Oh to be in shining armour at the photocopier..." More that a quarter of a century later those words still resonate with me... Ask me clearly  To do the impossible  And I will happily attempt it. Separate waters  With a walking stick To escape pursuing foes. Blow my trumpet  To demolish the impregnable Despite mocking from the ramparts. Face a fearsome giant With a few pebbles, faith And not so youthful arrogance. Sit amongst lions Rather than desert you, Anticipating our enemies’ demise. Let me be a hero Striding across scripture Your words in my ears and mouth. Yes Lord, please Deliver me, not from evil But the undifferentiated mundane; The daily demands