For the first time, a poem of mine has been tweaked and polished and mulled over and re-worked until it became a new one altogether. To see the earlier version, go to the May 4, 2013 entry, called “A Poet-Lady Thinks About Her Work.”
It all began before daybreak one morning at this time of year. As I stood in the church’s doorway I saw the street lamps in the fog all down the street. The halo of a street lamp has another name, nimbus, and I thoroughly enjoyed rolling the word around in my mind as I worked on this fall poem.
Now, as you will see, it is not longer serious or somber, my nimbus poem. Yesterday I gave it a new name.
What Happens When Preachers Write Poems
From the big doors at the top of the church steps
I look out into the dark, and breathe the mild air
made even softer by wet leaves. All down the street
is a row of lights and the enormous nimbus of each,
those nearer appearing caught in the branches
of the stateliest of trees.
At first I take it as illustrative
of what a poet does: words written, stepping out
from one illumination into the next, all bearing
the weight of their etymologies. Later, though,
it comes down to delight, as God watches over
each of us making our way home in the dark.
Then, “Really? Illustrative?”says God.