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8 week course: poetry and spirituality! Oct: HONESTY

Oct. 11 — in America, 10/11/12…  in Europe it would have been last year’s October 9 (9/10/11)–how we perceive things makes a difference… which brings me to the theme of HONESTY.

I selected  8 pages of poems, with the October theme of Honesty in mind, and suddenly, every poem I read seemed to be “about honesty” – how hard it is to be accurate (and thus honest) in our perceptions, how the way we wear our identities, the way in which we tell our stories, how our very manner depends on how honest we are with ourselves and open and willing we are with others.  In a way, we are preparing for November’s theme of humility, which requires that we strip away our tendency to justify or excuse our “rightness”.  Then, we should be ready for December’s theme of blessing.  

The selection of poems for the next two weeks  reflects the Unitarian Church’s theme for October, honesty.  How can language be “honest” and how does a poet cope with sounds, artifice, to create a believable and honest work that sparks the heart?  I quote Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves.” “The only real failure in life is to not take your truth to its end, or not to begin.” (Buddha)  The poems below are to invite you to reflect on how they draw out, or perhaps challenge your energy.


Cracks in the Oracle – Lecture by Brenda Hillman, followed by Vast Fluttering

Gather by Rose McLarney

In Trackless Woods  — by Richard Wilbur

night vision  —  Lucille Clifton

Aware   — by Denise Levertov

Why I don’t write formal verse by Karen Alkalay-Gut

Things keep sorting themselves – by Jane Hirschfield

It was a dream  by Lucille Clifton

your mother sends you this  by Lucille Clifton

Missing the Boat Naomi Shihab Nye

William Kistler Study 16, 19, 38, 25 and Question I

America (Peaches) by Kathleen Graber




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