West Virginia Morning: God is a Poet


‘If that’s what he means,’ says the student to the poetry teacher, ‘why doesn’t he just say it?’ ‘If God is real,’ says the parishioner to the preacher, ‘why doesn’t he simply storm into our lives and convince us?’ The questions are vastly different in scale and relative importance, but their answers are similar. A poem, if it’s a real one, in some fundamental sense means no more and no less than the moment of its singular music and lightning insight; it is its own code to its own absolute and irreducible clarity. A god, if it’s a living one, is not outside of reality but in it, of it, though in ways it takes patience and imagination to perceive. Thus the uses and necessities of metaphor, which can flash us past our plodding resistance and habits into strange new truths. Thus the very practical effects of music, myth, and image, which tease us not out of reality, but deeper and more completely into it.”—Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

This morning I breathe in God’s poetry, stepping “deeper and more completely into” my reality. My boys, my loves, still sleep upstairs and there is nothing more beautiful than a quiet house to oneself. The candle is lit, Bonnie is here with me, and I have been reading—slowly. Such extravagance. A day like today, slowly unfolding, is a reminder that all is holy, each plodding second of it. We mingle in and out of the divine, living poems, breathing masterpieces.

Mary Oliver asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I only need answer that question day by day. Minute by minute. One second at a time. To live this way is to fall in love with God over and over again.


  1. Lynn D. Morrissey says

    WHat a perfect day. I”m alone too but not by choice. I’ve been under the weather. I had so wanted to be in church for our celebration of Advent. But you remind me that I can seek the Poet on my own, right here, right now. My kettle is boiling. I don’t want to keep Him waiting.
    Love you, Laura.

    • says

      I hope you are feeling better, Lynn! I spent some time with you this morning, reading your book slowly. I love how it makes me feel connected to you–like we are having our morning coffee (or tea :)) together. Happy Advent-ing, friend. Yes, indeed, the master Poet is right there with you. Always.

  2. says

    Early morning is when I hear God, The Poet, best. All is quiet but the humming of a few appliances. Thank you for the reminder from Wiman. My heart is in and out, in between flesh and stone, stone and flesh. God waits patiently, and affords me honest breaths of confusion, stubbornness, and tears of sorrow, regret, and self contempt. Yet thankfulness is the iconoclast of breakthrough. God, thank you for those who write on the rolling lines of authenticity, the scenic, often rough terrain of humility, Grace, forgiveness, and love.
    Thank you for Wiman and Boggess, and the miriad of writer who judge us to the living Word.

    • says

      And thank you for Jerry, whose heart is a beautiful, wide expanse. I’m so grateful for the patience and grace of God, who allows me all these myriads of emotion and still waits with the open arms. We enter into Advent carrying so much from the journey. But the stable doesn’t ask for much. Just my heart, just love. Praying a special Advent for you and yours, Jerry.

  3. mary gemmill says

    Laura, your beautiful poetess heart does me good…your words and pictures lift me up into the heavenlies !
    Thanking God for you and for the ministry of your words and pics in my life.
    Many many blessings to you Laura~!
    Mary, New Zealand.

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