Good art is like lingerie: It covers just enough of the essential elements to spark the interaction. Covering too much or too little isn’t lingerie nor is it art. Before you think that I am a sexist, please know that my wife is more than essential elements, she’s “more than a body” (as the underpass graffiti reminded me each time that I traveled from the Desmond Hotel to the Paoli train station for three years in college), but bear with me for a moment.
It seems that many Christian artists, musicians or thespians are so obsessed with getting their point across that they have to spell it out for us, l-e-t-t-e-r b-y l-e-t-t-e-r. Essentially speaking, their message is an Elizabethan nightgown. On the one hand, I get their urgency: in their desire to evangelize, eternity may be on the line for their hearers. But on the other hand, if they spend more time introducing their poem to the hearer than it takes to read the poem then their poem may not be good enough to communicate their message. Perhaps if Christian artists spent more time trusting the work of God through their expressions, trusting that God can communicate important messages even through donkeys (in the Bible, Numbers 22:21-34), then perhaps they would show a little more ankle or wrist in their art, perhaps a shoulder blade.
Speaking of poetry, many folks are hesitant to engage poetry (a primary goal of this metaphor blog). They have a singular view which includes a specific meter, a long word count, a lot of “thees” and “thuses” or a general feeling that poetry is meant to be read in lowly lit rooms while sitting on a duvet. While I do like some metaphors that are weighty or philosophical, I don’t mind putting into plain words why a poem or news story resonated with me.
So… this page is my attempt to trust that the message of the metaphor can be communicated to the reader without any assistance. But if you feel like you just went on a date with Emily Dickinson’s wardrobe consultant, you can come to this page where I will make some dotted lines about some of the metaphors that are posted. Most of these dots are going to have some kind of faithful resonation. I can’t help it, it is how God speaks to me. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
The River– This poem reminds me of the restoration that I feel from solitude. I have tried over and over to get into fishing but I just can’t get past the fish part of it. Perhaps I should just drive the boat and sit with bait-less hooks. If you are an introvert, you get this. If you know an introvert, this explains it.
Not Forgotten-This poem reminds me that I need to be a good dad and repair all of my children’s bikes. My third child is desperate to ride a bike. She learned last summer but was too wobbly still. She and I need to go the campus and ride around. It also reminds me of the guidance that the Father has when he teaches.
Summer Trips-It’s summer vacation time. The naps, the treaties, the smell of a hotel room all bring back memories.
Long Winter– “The flush of your face” is a great image. My wife is so beautiful when she is at my side in the sunshine. Pulling weeds is one of the most therapeutic activities that I enjoy. Having flower beds on all four sides of the house, I start in one corner and work my way around. The shrapnel and casings tossed over the shoulder into the lawn to await the mower.
Lessons Learned from Luggage Lost– Read in the Bible, Matthew 6:25-34, “Do you have enough for today?”
First Love– In stairwell leading up to her summer apartment on warm night in June, I confessed my love for Hope before we started dating. She said that she’d think about it. Finally, she fell in love with my hot brain and the rest is history.
The Country– The hazards of a mistaken messiah.
Absence– This poem reminds me of what it’s like when a step-parent or a replacement member of the family is introduced.
Wet Dog– In Billy Collins’ poem, it reminds me of most of the women that you read about in the New Testament that Jesus interacted with. Most women were not valued and appreciated. See in the Bible, John 12:1-8.
Fragmentary Blue- My favorite poem. So much of the created world is filled with reminders of God and his activity in our lives. We often fail to see the reflection of him in each other, in stories, in nature, in the arts, in the newspaper or in our own backyards. But he has given us markers that point to him if we give our attention to seeking him.
Pigeons– Similar to the Collins poem above about wet dogs, I can’t help but think about overlooked people in our neighborhoods, especially the poor.
The Mother– A great description of the angst that one mother experiences about an abortion. I don’t hear a lot about the pains associated with abortion in these terms.
Trust– It is amazing that life runs as smoothly as it does, sometimes. Like letters in this poem, I often think of driving through congested areas as an act of trust.
The Brain- Other than Fragmentary Blue, this poem is also my favorite because it truly captures what happens when a new idea, a new reality, a new concept, the process of a good education or the hearing of the Gospel- all was going smoothly, then, BAM-BOOM, not smooth anymore. Life cannot return to normal.