…is a visceral word. An extreme word. A word which expresses well a huge depth of raw emotion. It is a word which has been on my mind throughout the day, after listening to the Daily Service on Radio 4 this morning, as I do whenever I can.
Today, to mark National Poetry Day, the worship was led by Padraig O Tuama, the Irish poet and theologian who is currently leader of the Corrymeela community. I think I have written before about his wonderful book “In the Shelter” and perhaps have also mentioned that Padraig is to be one of the two people offering teaching at the “Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation” which I am helping to lead in Northern Ireland next year. Do check the Community blog site for more information – it is going to be a very special week.
In this morning’s worship (to which you can listen again here) Padraig referred to the poem “Howl” written by the American poet Allen Ginsberg in 1955. Picking up the title, he prayed, “Hear those who are howling today” and my mind went to so many scenarios:
- Haiti, suffering yet again from extremes of weather
- Israel/Palestine limping on amidst bitter conflict and violence
- scenes of racist abuse much closer to home in the aftermath of Brexit
We can all go on and on and on – so much sorrow, so much despair, so many howls.
Today is also the 23rd anniversary of Peter’s birth and so, even more than usual, he has been in my thoughts.
- The howling of all those oppressed by darkness and struggling to find the energy to carry on with life day after day echoes around our society too.
Not long after Peter died I was given the opportunity, along with others, to create a table top which represented something about me. Through the horror of having to produce something “artistic”, the idea of stained glass pierced my panic – shattered, broken pieces of life can become beautiful. I added some stars in the hope that, one day, I would feel like sparkling.
Hear those who are howling today, Lord. Jill