On Monday afternoon, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation, and am now a doctor of theology! I’m a bit confused about that, going forward, but it feels important. 🙂
I sort of came to view my thesis as self-talk, the kind of motivational discourse with myself that empowers me to act in the world. When this poem talks about language, that’s what it’s talking about. I hope you like this. 🙂
The Climate of Conversation
It’s difficult to learn to live again,
To dwell within the silence as a friend.
I poured my grief and joy into a conversation,
Into a mode of discourse with myself
Where I embrace the Word that shapes my life.
What is that Word, still hanging on my lips?
Can I not now record it for the world to hear?
How does it sound? Is it a Hebrew phrase,
A lyrical line, like laughter in the wind?
Or is it Scots Gaelic, roughened with a burr?
What language holds the word of ontic power?
I can’t be sure if earthly language holds the key
To all the power that I unlocked yesterday.
That doesn’t really matter; I think the point
Lies in the dialogue of sheer delight,
The discourse that lays claim to all my flesh.
My body’s captivated by the holy word,
Enjoined to sing in its discursive chains.
Where can I find the joy of conversation?
I find it on the iron chin-up bar
Where my synapses talk to each other,
Sending soft messages of strength and love;
I find it in a raucous Springsteen song,
And in the gentle groove of Sixties soul…
I find it in the touch of loving hands,
And in a slowly-steeping cup of tea.
What is the end of dialogue? So what?
I think the point is living, growing action.
We do not simply speak of love and hate,
But live them out in gardens and dark hotel rooms.
The dogged seeds of love will bloom, with time,
Into the joyful flowers and foods of generous hearts,
While anything that grows in cold and callous climes
Will wither with the coming of the sun.
The someday of our love is not far off,
Though nascent hatreds stoke our latent fears,
And fierce floods strip Houston of security.
It’s just beyond the threshold; through the clouds,
We’ll see it in the fiery setting sun.