I don’t usually make a habit of posting my creative work. I have tried, a few times, and 56 Stories (which most of you may remember) I keep public only because it was a “public exercise” so to speak. One reason I feel very strongly about not posting any poetry/fiction or any of my personal ideas for those two genres in the way of inspiration is because I feel like both these things are a very private, very personal. As Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a type writer and bleed.” Now who wants to see my blood all over the screen?
I thought so.
But I’m going to break out of this routine—not completely. You’re not going to get any original work, I promise, but I did have an inspiring thought, which I am writing out here because I think people will find it interesting, perhaps.
I like to be organized in the way I lay out a poem (or at least I like to imagine that I’m organized). I like to have a firm idea of the thought I want to convey, the atmosphere I want to create, the kind of language I want to use. It all sounds very simple when you write it out like that, but thinking abstractly about how to use very concrete images… that’s a challenge. It’s almost like you have all these concrete images, and then you look at them from an abstract viewpoint, but then come out of the abstract viewpoint with different images that relate to the first…. As I read in a review of a movie recently that something was… “not depicted but revealed.” The hope of poetry isn’t to merely convey a feeling, or a thought, or to create an atmosphere—though I would say that all these are goals. Something would only be depicted if you used the images you wanted to reveal, and there’s something dead about that. Part of the wonder of poetry is its mystery. “What… does he mean?” I think that the real hope is to reveal something, without saying: “This is what I want to reveal.”
My hope this Easter was to write a poem that talked about the atmosphere on Good Friday. During Easter weekend I wonder how many people realize that after Jesus died… saints were raised from the dead, and walked, and lived, their tombs broken open because the earth was twisting and trembling and there was uncanny darkness and the ripping of the temple curtain and—God. To me this is an amazing thought and my mind runs with it. This was an astronomical point in history, it was a writhing, twisting point, and what was happening metaphysically became manifest in the physical world. Not even the earth could calmly bear the crucified Lord. And at that moment, that one moment, when he died, and there was blood and vinegar and darkness coming on, chinking of dice… and he cried out again in a loud voice and yielded up his spirit… yielded up his spirit… that was the moment, wasn’t it—when sins were forgiven and there was direct access to God, and we were atoned for. It was the final sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice, something that humans hadn’t even considered on their own—that the Son of God would descend from heaven in the form of a man, and in that mystical wholeness of “fully God, fully man” put himself on the altar, and only He knew the depth of the matter, the importance, I think.
The fact about the saints rising and appearing to many in different cities is very interesting. I haven’t explored it in depth, but it happened after Christ’s death—he didn’t have to be there to say something along the lines of, “Lazarus, Lazarus…” The power of God was enough to raise the dead without Jesus even being there. Even at the resurrection of Lazarus, there must have been an air of expectancy, a certain apprehension as Jesus stood in front of the tomb. But imagine if you randomly saw people coming out of their graves—not in zombie fashion, but perfectly normal, in their grave clothes, on their way to appear to people. People would have known that Christ had raised people from the dead before—but now that Christ was dead, even more people were coming alive—he may have been dead, but his power was not dead.
But I’m not ready to write this poem about the broken tombs and graves, and the terrifying thought of direct “access” to God, and the death of Christ, and his blood. I’m not ready to write about how people wear pastels on Easter, and I’m not ready to contrast the happy behavior of today with the dread of the future when the Lord was crucified, and the terror-like joy of his resurrection. It takes more than just lists of images, though those count too. Yet this thought is so fresh poignant to me right now—I had to say something before Easter was over.
Happy Resurrection Day!