Poetry

Epiphany: a collaborative poem for the sixth of January by Almut Furchert and me

Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi, or wise men

who visited the infant child, whom the angels in Luke’s Christmas story announced as “a Savior, Christ the Lord.” They came bearing precious gifts. They were guided by a star to a divine manifestation, an awe-inspiring spiritual experience, the moment of aha—at last I see!

This poem arrived today.  

EPIPHANY: A COLLABORATIVE POEM
FOR THE SIXTH OF JANUARY

Beloved one
the Divine wills
through you
to be born
here

now
ever
anew
no matter
how shabby your stable.

by Almut Furchert with Tracy Rittmueller 1/6/2018

The poem came at the end of a twelve day journey I walked with Almut Furchert and her husband Chuck Huff, as they posted daily reflections on the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany. It is the result of communal collaboration.

I’ll write more in a future post about communal collaborative poetry. Today, I want to simply give you the poem that was given to us, and share Almut’s beautiful reflection and her blessing, which nurtured this poem into being.

Here is a metaphor that describes what our collaboration felt like for me (in terms of bringing this poem into the world):

She is the mother; I am the midwife.

Almut is not a poet and doesn’t write poetry. She holds a graduate degree in Psychology and another in Philosophy, both from German universities. Words flow from her in the form of spiritual reflections on truths found in psychology and philosophy. Her reflections often end in a blessing bestowed on the reader.

Today while reading, I found her writing to be pregnant with an unbirthed poem.

If you want to see how the poem was born, I encourage you to click over to the blog cloisterseminars.org and read that reflection now: (click here)

About choices I made while revising (tips for improving a poem):

Shape — as I played around with lines, I saw that I could arrange the poem’s words so that the white space to the right of the poem appears to be an infant’s head about to crown in the birth canal.

Sound — I looked for words that would echo off of one another with a soft wind (Ruach is the Hebrew word for both spirit and breath). I chose one, wills, now (ww); through you, anew (oo); here, ever, matter (rr),

Then I chose one word lines for the middle of the poem because they remind me of panting.

The last two lines of the poems are Almut’s, verbatim. I broke her long line after “no matter” because those words remind me of a woman accepting the inevitable, then inhaling to prepare for the pain of hard work.

The final line embodies the sibilant, hissing sound of a birthing push.

*****

Happy Epiphany, dear ones. In Almut’s words,

May you find… some comfort in the thought that you are God’s beloved child. 

Is there a pain, a trial, a burden in your life, that if you accepted, inhaled, and pushed through it, would assist you to birth something beautiful this year?

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