#poetry

On Being Asked to Pray for a Van

What a joyous, absurd and utterly glorious poem! I laughed out loud when I read this poem👇🏾 and fell In love with how easily and well it displays the utter absurdity that prayer can sometimes be. I love the absurdity of prayer. The strangeness of it, the hope in it, the comfort of it.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer to bring peace, and solace and give your heart a chance to heal. I love its ability to give to the one engaging with it at so many different levels. I love most that prayer gives one room to feel and to care enough about how they are feeling that they must do something about it — even if that is to meditate and lean their worries on a greater being.

But I often find it absurd–even as I engage in it! There is so much joy and humour to be found in the things we choose to pray about; but isn’t that the wonder of it all?

And this particular poem has everything I absolutely love about the funny, humorous and wonderful parts of prayer.

On Being Asked to Pray for a van by Michael Chitwood

My evangelical brethren have let me know,

via the quarterly fundraising letter,

that they can’t get the gospel around

because their van has given up the ghost.

God in the machine, help them.

I lift up their carburettor and their

transaxle.

Bless them with meshed gears and a

greased cam shaft.

Free their lifters. Deliver their differential

and anoint their valves and their pistons.

Unblock their engine block and give them

deep treaded tires.

Their brakes cry out to You.

Hear them, O Lord.

Drive out the demons from their steering

column and come in to the transmission

that they may know the peace of passing.

Minister even unto the turn indicator.

Creator Spirit, Holy Maker of the Universe,

give them gas.

*When Poets Pray by Marilyn McEntyre is a close look at how poets from George Herbert to Lucille Clifton have used poetry to explore spirituality and how poetry and prayer continues to be closely related, oftentimes giving language to things we cannot easily express and thereby making the simple act of reading poetry an act of meditation, silent contemplation and yes, even prayer. It is published by William B Eerdmans Publishing, and is available to order now.*

#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

In Honour of Poet and Playwright Ntozake Shange:

i found god in myself quote

A couple of weeks ago, the world of poetry lost one of its heroes. Ntozake Shange, an American playwright and poet who addressed issues relating to race and feminism and a voice that will forever be unforgettable, gave us one of the most visceral and heart-wrenching collections of poetry I’ve ever read. For Colored Girls (who have considered suicide /when the rainbow is enuf ) has in turn inspired countless other writers, particularly of colour, and set the bar for what you can do with this art form.

I was first introduced to her work through the highly-acclaimed (and somewhat unexpected?) Tyler Perry film (For Colored Girls) by a dear friend and it is still, to date, one of the most disturbing but necessary films I have ever watched; and a sincerely loved collection which now sits at the top of my TBR pile once again.

For Colored Girls was Ntozake Shange’s first work and she premiered it to high acclaim as a theater piece, though it has now been widely shown both on stage and on the screen.

A bold, heart-breaking, humorous, and thoroughly human and unapologetic exploration of black womanhood and feminism in general, there is not a single part of this collection that doesn’t touch you in some way. I still to this day have moments where I flash back to that scene in the film (seriously, watch the film!), smile at my favourite line (I found God in myself/ and I loved her fiercely–read the collection!) and laugh when I remember the dancing in the play (if you ever get a chance to see it staged! DO!).

All this to say, Ntozake Shange changed the game for many and her presence will surely continue to be felt. Rest in peace, Ms. Ntozake Shange. You articulated so much that had been unsaid for so many and we can only thank you for your words.

Ntozake Shange
Photo: Frank Stewart.
#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

Me and Ocean Vuong ~Night Sky With Exit Wounds.

81CkeOJUU+LSeveral months ago, a lovely collection came through the post for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect — although it goes without saying that the T. S. Elliot prizewinning poet is more than just talented at this word thing. But as I’ve revisited this collection over and over again in the past few months, I cannot express how much it has spoken to and reached places in me that I wasn’t expecting.

Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds has been reviewed far and wide by far more qualified people than me so I really feel there’s little I could add to what has been said, other than to say…

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This collection of poetry grips the heart with a firm grasp and leads you, with a gentleness that’s all the more noticeable because of the skill employed, into a place where all of your heart is invested. I also highly recommend listening to the author read some of his poetry. It is worth every penny and more besides (buy one for a friend!) and it’s truly something special.

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Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong is out now and available to order. Find out more about the poet here.