Poetry and Spirituality

Poetry and spirituality both ponder the transcendent Holy; they also celebrate the humble and the ordinary. Both challenge the reader and the believer to see God in all things; or, as Blake wrote in his “Auguries of Innocence,” to “hold infinity in the palm of your hand.” Many readers as well as literary critics consider Blake a great English mystic.

As I mentioned earlier, there are poems I don’t understand. One poet I admire is Elizabeth Bishop. While her poems seem straightforward on first or even 20th reading, they are far more than meets the eye. I have struggled with unpiecing her puzzles, to understand what she is trying to tell me and what each poem is trying to say.

Perhaps her best expression of her spirituality and the transcendent is her poem “The Moose.”

Here, Elizabeth is the unseen narrator of a group of people’s ordinary encounter with one of God’s creatures — a moose. However, during this momentary encounter, the bus passengers experience more than the mundane; they encounter the mysterious presence of the Holy.

It is interesting to note no one on the bus realizes this presence as sacred. Yet, they have experienced what I would call, the “Oh, my” moment, one that is breathtakingly beautiful because it is sacred.

Source: Global Sisters

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