SETTING THE INNER COMPASS- JULY 2020
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SETTING THE INNER COMPASS- JULY 2020

Reading poetry is one of the ways some of us nourish our faith, a way we set or reset our inner compass and stay focused on the big picture, on the spiritual journey. Over the years, poetry has become an important part of my spiritual journey. In this monthly column, ‘Setting the Inner Compass,’ I will share some of the poems I find nourishing to the soul. All of the poems resonate on their own. Sometimes, like this month, the poems share a common theme.
The three poems in July remind us of the beauty of ordinary things: collard greens, blackbirds, and peaches. In these poems, each of these things affirm, in Lucille Clifton’s words, “the bond of living things everywhere”. The poet invites us to see something extraordinary in the ordinary, something transcendent in the everyday.
I thank the publishers for generously granting permission to use these poems. I offer a very special thanks to Julie Cadwallader-Staub for permission to publish her wonderful poem, “Blackbirds”.
Enjoy.
Pea..

Setting the Inner Compass: June Column
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Setting the Inner Compass: June Column

Reading poetry is one of the ways some of us nourish our faith, a way we set or reset our inner compass and stay focused on the big picture, on the spiritual journey. I know that is true for me. The time that has passed since the May poetry column has been a season of overwhelming sadness, anger, and a call to action. The systemic racism in this country and our church has never been more apparent. The Langston Hughes poem, “Harlem”, has echoed in my heart the past few weeks. It begins with a question: “What happens to a dream deferred?” It continues, “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore—And then run?” The poem concludes, “Or does it explode?” Yes, it explodes. We have work to do. Inner work and joining with others for social change.
Wendell Berry begins his “Peace of Wild Things” with the line: “When despair for the world grows in me.” These lines resonate with the first half of 2020. There is much that causes us to feel despair. It is easy to feel overwhel..