Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Today I participated in a poetry reading at Ohio University Eastern, where I teach.

I had been wondering what poem to read. My brother just died in December, and I had been finding solace in Wordsworth's  "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" which I had recently blogged about, but felt strongly I shouldn't read. 

Daffodils are the subject of  "I Wander Lonely as a Cloud." The daffodils dance joyfully in the breeze in that poem.

What then can I read, I wondered? I had chosen a stanza from a poem called "The Jazz of Pussycats," but needed more. Several hours before the reading a poem called "What is Death?" showed up in my mailbox, sent out by Friend Susannah Rose. 

Not only was the timing of the poem's arrival and its theme perfect, the poem was written by Henry Scott Holland, the same name as a mentor who encouraged me strongly on my Bonhoeffer book

OK, thought I. I will read the poem. 

Not only was the poem perfect for the occasion, but another person, Tom Flynn, read "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." Tom not only read it, but said almost exactly what I would have said about it. 

I tend to be suspicious of "connect the dots" serendipites, but yet I wonder. Is this all coincidence? The uncanny timing of the poem's arrival, the poem itself, the author, Tom reading Wordsworth? 

Perhaps I construct all this. And yet. I suppose the most important take away is that we never know who we will touch when we send a poem or a word out into the world. Susan Rose could not have suspected that I needed just that poem for a poetry reading just that day. As I worry about this post, I am trying to trust that maybe it too will speak. 

No comments: