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Posts tagged "Poetry"


“A Story Unleashed”: Jesus Couldn’t Keep a Lid on the Gospel, and Neither Can We

We all get a “gospel according to…” and that is both terrifying and liberating.

“Escape from Circumstances”: Dickinson in Quarantine

Take It from the Woman Who Self-Sequestered for Over Fifty Years

Human Being > Human Doing : A Favorite Piece of Spiritual Advice and Mary Oliver

In my first year of college, a few simple but profound words poured light into the deep, dark depths of my depression-riddled world. The words came to me thanks to an old friend of my dad’s who also happens to be a leader in a ministry I was beginning to dip my toes in. His […]

On the shortness and uncertainty of life

“O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, we pray, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life…” (Book of Common Prayer, pg. 504)

There are no good words for
our collective destination. Apart
from tragic, untimely, too soon.
The wound at the heart of the world.
Another angel added; a road well walked.

Words won’t do now, not for this.

The living bear all the grief of those who
were and are and will one day die.
Our plans, kingdoms, minds fall flat
before the period at the end of each line.
We don’t hold the pen, our days will end.
Where then is mercy? Whither hope?

In the beginning was the Word
and the Word wept

for the world, for you, for untimely,
and too soon. The Word weeps still
with sea-born tears that wash over
again, again with each new sentence end.

The mercy is presence not relief.
Hope is a face, two hands, scarred feet.
A quiet stand at the doorway and entry in
to a place where to end is only to begin.

The Terrible Distance Between “Not” and “Yet”: On Family, Long-Distance

The following excerpt was taken from the new book by Mockingbird contributor Andrew Taylor-Troutman. The book is “Gently Between the Words: Essays and Poems,” available this month from Torchflame Books.  There are, of course, many ways to be healthy, happy, and whole. As adults, my brother and I have made different choices about careers and […]

To Be Honest: Why It’s Hard (but Helpful) to Tell the Truth

“Before you print a poem, you should reflect on whether this verse could be of use to at least one person in the struggle with himself and with the world.” – Czeslaw Milosz Being honest is often a hard thing for me to do. I don’t actually mind it when someone prefaces their opinion with, […]

Distilled (still aging)

The following poem was written by Nathan F. Elmore

With special thanks to mezcal. I certainly didn’t find you.

Eight to twelve years, depending—
a hand
suddenly a blade
the heart stripped
every fire a thirst

(more…)

What to Like about Like

This poetry review was written by Joey Jekel. What do translations of Homer, the Eurasian refugee crisis, blacksmithing, and Alice in Wonderland all have in common? They are all in the strange and pleasing ken of A. E. Stallings. A previous resident of Athens, Georgia and current resident of Athens, Greece, this contemporary poet and […]

Chewing Tinfoil, Wanting God: Christian Wiman’s He Held Radical Light

What is it we want when we can’t stop wanting? Christian Wiman’s new essays resist review. Reviews of art are always a strange effort, anyway. An exhibition of paintings or a play or a concert or a novel or a poem, all are experiences, experiences of difference—when our action is displaced but our hearts and […]

The Like Button – Mary Karr

From Tropic of Squalor, the latest collection of poems by former Mockingbird conference speaker Mary Karr.

The Like Button

Back in the before time
those days of amber
desire was an inner
and often ugly thing.
And if we wanted,
my brothers and hungry
sisters, we were oft flung
far from each other. Think
tin-cans-and-string far,
plum-colored-smoke-signal
far. No web wove the pinpoints
of ourselves into a map. No
upward thumb could be pressed
to say yes or its detractor: no.
Soon, we may each evolve
a glow button maybe mid brow,
so as we pass each other we can vote
praise or scorn to light up yay
or nay on a passing stranger’s face
a thumb. At first the young celebs
with asses you can serve drinks off
will rack up zillions of votes
till we tire of such bodacious butts,
and then the smart, the brave,
the strong will take their turns,
but what if we start to like,
say, the stout, the schlubby
neighbor raking leaves or that
subway sleeper who’s woven
yellow crime scene tape into
a jock strap—Police Line: Do
Not Cross—till all the undeodorized,
the unloved all their lives, start to feel
their foreheads blip
and blip as it becomes hip
to love the oddest, the most
perilously lonely. Imagine
the forever dispossessed
transforming as they feel the thumb
of yes impress itself
into the very flesh.

Naming the Impasse: Amos Niven Wilder and the Religious Imagination

Over the past eight years or so, Mockingbird contributors have said quite a lot about the works of Thornton Niven Wilder. His contributions to the idea of a theo-poetic approach to the Gospel, i.e., an approach that avoids didacticism by employing literary archetypes to illustrate gospel themes, are well documented on this site. For a couple […]

Another Week Ends: Even More Camille Paglia, Digital Soul-Training, Backstabbing Enablers, Apolitical Auden, and Masculine Christianity

1. Where to start with a hierarchy of most severe ‘little-l law’ in ‘secular’ society? We could start with body image, health, having cool experiences, and the like, but prosperity honestly takes the cake. And among the people who have already checked that box, it’s fast becoming political correctness. Political correctness is important, but its ascendant, […]