Monday, August 30, 2010

September coming a day early this year. As of tomorrow, I'm back at school. It's been a while - maybe four years? Or three? These past two weeks of working hands & mind in the open air have been tremendous for inviting spaciousness within. And they've nestled nicely between a summer of work in a parish church (Anglican) and a scholar's year of Divinity (year one of an MDiv degree at the Atlantic School of Theology).

I'm inclined to believe that going deep into the stories of the christian tradition has everything to do with our day-to-day, that sawdust and stardust really do mingle, so to speak. Without knowledge of those stories, what would we make of Seamus Heaney's "Skylight"? I realize he's launching from a different building project than mine, but for a poem about roofs and salvation, you could scarce do better than this...

The Skylight

You were the one for skylights. I opposed
Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove
Of pitch pine. I liked it low and closed,
Its claustrophobic, nest-up-in-the-roof
Effect. I liked the snuff-dry feeling,
The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling.
Under there, it was all hutch and hatch.
The blue slates kept the heat like midnight thatch.

But when the slates came off, extravagant
Sky entered and held surprise wide open.
For days I felt like an inhabitant
Of that house where the man sick of the palsy
Was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven,
Was healed, took up his bed and walked away.

Seamus Heaney

You're welcome.

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