a Sunday morning poem
An adventure you had! I'm happy you're on this side of the difficulty.
I know that gentle anchor thing. Thanks Sherman.
This kid, me, who fits in everywhere and nowhere at the same time, married a girl like that once, some weird temptation to fit into the area in Eastern Washington I was teaching at the time... The conditions for the relationship appeared after the 'come as you are' approach. I'm glad not to be dodging half-empty milk carton's anymore but I still wish her and her new family a good, happy life. I believe she has one now. Thanks for this.
Any day where people talk about voltas in an online comments section is a great day. Any day where you get to meet an actual living volta in action is a sacred day, even if you are two days late and a dollar short and read it on Tuesday instead of Sunday. : ) Such a great poem! The gods of coincidence agree, first thing I saw when I walked into the coffeeshop this AM was a flyer for a jazz/blues/gospel show called "Taking it Out of the Church."
I love this. Over two years ago, I wrote a long poem, published as a chapbook, the subtitle of which is “Notes from a Sunday Morning On Instagram.” (I won’t give the actual title here because I’m not trying to use your post to plug my own.) The conceit is a man in mourning, scrolling through social media on a Sunday morning (when he used to be at church), and finding bits of himself in the images that race by. In other words, I have the exact same feeling every Sunday morning. And have not found a workable replacement yet.
The "it" refers to the Petratchan sonnet form.
This was originally in response to Sherman's answer to Brian Shaw's comment. But I diverge so much from Brian's comment, I thought maybe I should post it separately, also. So, Sherman said:
"this free verse poem is modeled on the Petrarchan sonnet. It consists of two stanzas, an eight-line first stanza that makes a proposition and a six-line stanza that addresses that proposition. The break between the two stanzas along with the ninth line of the poem form a volta, a turn, that changes the direction of the poem. So I hope that stanza break after "doubtful," that white space, creates a hesitation that represents doubt." Okay, my comment:
That is so cool! Almost like an American haiku! You're a genius Sherman. Next creative writing class I teach I will use the Alexie form of the Petrarchan sonnet haiku! And I did (and I'll bet the others reading) noticed that space after the first stanza where a definite turn occurs. So in viewing this 'sort of haiku', does that turn in some way represent a paradox? And it makes me wonder if the form by necessity, ends by asking or posing a question that makes the paradox discernable? (I was going to write 'obvious' there, but a correct response to a koan may not be obvious to all. So 'discernable' indicates the potential of insight. But then I just had my first cup of coffee so may be spouting jibbers.)
PS: In rereading your comment, I realized that I wasn't sure if the "it" you refer to in the sentence that starts with, "It consists of... ." is referring to your poem or the Petrarchan sonnet? Since you said your poem is free verse it must be the Petrarchan sonnet, yes? So is "it consists of... ." subordinate to the subject "this free verse poem... sonnet." or the last mentioned noun "the Petrarchan sonnet"? Or am I having a sampled sound salad moment?
Zitkala-Ša (Gertrude Bonin, Yankton Dakota Sioux) points out that there are many sacred spaces outside of churches.
Your poem speaks for many of your readers that have left their “sacred” traditions. My journey, including ordination, has been long and winding. I am sitting at Dunkin’ and have a sense of having found the sacred. Small cup of coffee and the lowest calorie donut. Is there more?
May I share this: https://jrichardson.substack.com/p/why-i-believe
🙂👍 At the Lutheran church Hilton? LoL. I didn't know that quite a long time! Glad that worked out for you Sherman.
To me, the gentle anchor is the sacred itself. Humans are so obsessed about their role in in this fabulous mess. Who knows if the sacred isn't holding onto us? So glad poets and artists are there to notice. Happy memorial day!
One of my favorite sayings is "Follow the one who seeks the Truth--and run like hell for the one who's found it." I think the same applies to the sacred. And the phrase "gentle anchor" will haunt me for a very long time.
Simple, but complex and beautifully penned. Like a prism.
I think it is our job as humans to seek the sacred everywhere. And embody goodness- godness. The worst thing about religion (Christianity) is it ultimately lets us off the hook by telling us what to believe, what's right..how to get forgiveness. the ultimate is that they place one human above another. Bogus.
Thanks Sherman. I can honestly say his approach to religion was more about the soul of the church and that he insisted that that community was accepting of all, whether they were believers, non-believers or doubters. Probably came as part of the small town life that he knew and embraced.