Poetry

Prayer Requests at a Mennonite Church

This is the poem from today’s Writer’s Almanac. I don’t know if [I’m] allowed to post this poem, but Garrison Keillor apparently got permission to post it on the Writer’s Almanac Archive.

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Poem: “Prayer Requests at a Mennonite Church” by Todd Davis from Some Heaven (buy it here). © Michigan State University Press.

Pray for the Smucker family. Their son Nathaniel’s coat and shirt were
caught in the gears while grinding grain. Nothing would give, so now
he is gone. We made his clothes too well. Perhaps this is our sin. (more…)

NEW Year

It’s January 2, so I’d like to write an entry for the NEW year.

Growing up, I learned that “the blood of Jesus washed me white as snow” (It confused me, since I’m bi-racial…but that’s another blog entry). Anyhow, there was emphasis put on the fact that an acceptance of Jesus “made you NEW, CLEAN,” You were born again (Like Peter, I was the kid in Sunday School who asked the anatomy question, but I get it now). Today, I recognize that I still cling to this concept and feeling state because I remember that I did feel NEW and different when I accepted Jesus.

I thrive in NEW situations, but sometimes begin to trip up as the NEW situations become routine. Sometimes I feel sad or angry at my inability to maintain the special NEWness feeling. At these times I turn to the meaning of faith to get me through, but I crave the NEWness again. That is partially why I love the coming of the NEW year and New Year’s Day so much. (more…)

Surrender

“We cannot rest content in ourselves. In the elements and experiences of our life, to which we give meaning, we do not find satisfying light and protective security. We only find these things in the intangible mystery that overshadows our heart from the first day of our lives, awakening questions and wonderment and luring us beyond ourselves. We surrender ourselves to this mystery, as a person in love surrenders to the mystery of the beloved and there finds rest. We are creatures whose being is sheltered and protected only insofar as we open ourselves up to intangible, greater realities. We are at peace in the open, unconquered precincts of mystery.”

~Johannes Baptist Metz, “Poverty of Spirit”

My Blood Doesn’t End in Me: Learning from West Point

I live with three wonderful women. All four of us are peace studies majors trying desperately to figure out what that means. Our last party was to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the UN resolution 1325, which highlights women in peacebuilding—a bit pretentious, I know, but I take any opportunity I can to have an evening of poetry, singing, sharing, and dancing–especially when it is in celebration of courageous, yet often ignored, women. Our door is open and guests have poured in and out since the beginning of the semester. This weekend we had a more unexpected group of guests. We hosted 6 West Point cadets—friends of friends who needed a place to crash. Life is full of beautiful surprises. We ushered the men in uniform into the guest bedroom—appropriately adorned with “make love, not war” painted brightly across an old sheet, Tibetan prayer flags, and Yoda. (more…)

Can we find ourselves in Poetry?

Hey, everyone. Tim suggested I post some of what I’m working on, so here goes. This selection was among poetry read at Bluffton’s “Beyond Borders…” writing conference last month, and I’m attempting to publish them elsewhere. I’m really interested in why practicing Menno women are still so wary of certain issues in their poetry. Is breaking from community approval and drawing focus on the creative “self” still so painful? Are we comfortable with the silences demanded of us? Julia Kasdorf and Di Brandt are examples of more “confessional” writers who have not been afraid to keep the church accountable…but both also had decided to leave the Menno dem. before publishing. I’m thankful they’ve opened doors for others to raise up voices and concerns, but where are those creative voices in the current Menno church? Surely some appear in A CAPPELLA, the recent poetry collection. But I’m aching for something more… (more…)