Tuesday, April 23, 2013

a poem that matters

"There is a luminosity in those poems of Lorca and Hopkins, and for me ever since when I see such luminosity beginning in a poem, it is a sign that something significant has been found.

It may be that the major art in poetry is the art of finding this shining—this luminosity. It is the difference between a publishable poem and one that matters."

- Linda Gregg, from "The Art of Finding"

The Secrets of Poetry

by Linda Gregg 

Very long ago when the exquisite celadon bowl
that was the mikado's favorite cup got broken, 
no one in Japan had the skill and courage
to mend it. So the pieces were taken back 
to China with a plea to the emperor 
that it be repaired. When the bowl returned, 
it was held together with heavy iron staples. 
The letter with it said they could not make it
more perfect. Which turned out to be true.

To listen to a poem read by Linda Gregg, click here

And so, let's go on working on our broken poems, the ones that need to be stapled together in the end. They don't hold water, maybe, but they let in light.

I think the same thoughts apply to paintings, to photographs. I'm still learning, in my photography, to remember that I'm not taking a picture of a flower, say, but of light.


  1. Another luminous post. (Raised in an evangelical home, I observed my mother subscribing to and reading a curious little publication called "The Daily Bread." Each day offered bible verses and accompanying comments, which she would read, and I know, derive from these comfort and inspiration for her day. Myself, while not being able to digest The Daily Bread, I will say that this blog, Calm Things, has become something like daily bread.) Thank you Shawna. Will work on my broken poetry.

  2. this means so much. thank you Stephen.


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