Stray thoughts – A Reflection to conclude the Season.
Paddy Kavanagh, the Irish poet wrote often and beautifully about the meaning of Christmas and the presence of God in our lives.
For Kavanagh, childhood, poetry and theology were all of one piece. Everything he wrote, captured something of the mystery of the incarnation. He wrote about the most common things which he saw as carrying hints of heaven.
His farm was the Bible. Country Monaghan was his Bethlehem. His poetry was his prayer. He had his Emmaus revelations along the Iniskeen Road.
He had no fear of a punishing God. For him, the Maker of an astonishing creation could only be a beautiful and loving God, a tender Mother who ‘caresses the daily and nightly earth.’ The miracle of continuing Creation, of the renewal of the world each day and each season, filled him with a child’s wonder. “ And in the green meadows,” he wrote “the maiden of spring is with child through the holy Ghost.”
His most quoted lines are:
God is in the bits and pieces of Everyday: A Kiss here, a laugh again, and sometimes tears.”
Kavanagh invites us to look at the world and to see beauty in the things we take for granted. But he does more than that: he goes beneath the beauty and shows us the inner meaning, “Until one day, we will recognise the face of our incarnate God of surprises and disguises everywhere. ”
As a child, Kavanagh’s every visit to the patch of wild weeds behind his house “ where sows root and hens scratch” was like “dipping his fingers in the pockets of God.” Those pockets were his five senses and they were never empty. He reminds us in his poem ‘Advent’ that when the Christmas carols are over, the incarnate melody of the daily psalms begins – the music of life continues to touch our souls every day if we are attuned to the beats.
One particular phrase that stood out for me from Seamus Ahearne’s posting was “His poetry was his prayer”
I would suggest that Poetry is the use of language in a cared-for way, the story told through words and lines shaped and formed with a deliberate, spare intent.
As such, poetry can be a time of prayer, for it leads us to a place apart where we can listen to the voice of the Lord through the gift of words that the poet uses. The essence of prayer is within our very being.
I always welcome the first fresh buds of Springtime with wonder and even a sense of relief; our Father still loves his world after all, in spite of the terrible evils which abound everywhere…
This article has made me believe that religion and God himself is no longer present in an environment where there is disparity. God simply exists on the fringes of this society where poverty, homelessness and desperation exists. So if these conditions exist anywhere within our touch or influence, God is no longer with us – he is there waiting to be discovered.