ON FAITH: Our poet laureateThis August Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Joyce Sutphen as Minnesota’s second poet laureate. Joyce was raised in St. Joseph, Minn., lives in Chaska, and teaches English at Gustavus Adolphus College. So she’s ours. Let’s celebrate her.
By: Pastor Mark Hillmer, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
This August Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Joyce Sutphen as Minnesota’s second poet laureate. Joyce was raised in St. Joseph, Minn., lives in Chaska, and teaches English at Gustavus Adolphus College.
So she’s ours. Let’s celebrate her.
Here’s a poem of hers I find thought-provoking, true, realistic and playful all at once:
Living in the Body
Body is something you need in order to stay on this planet and you only get one.
And no matter which one you get, it will not be satisfactory.
It will not be beautiful enough, it will not be fast enough, it will not keep on for days at a time, but will pull you down into a sleepy swamp and demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.
Body is a thing you have to carry from one day into the next.
Always the same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same skin when you look in the mirror, and the same creaky knee when you get up from the floor and the same wrist under the watchband.
The changes you can make are small and costly—better to leave it as it is.
Body is a thing that you have to leave eventually.
You know that because you have seen other do it, others who were once like you, living inside their pile of bones and flesh, smiling at you, loving you, leaning in the doorway, talking to you for hour and then one day they are gone. No forwarding address.
I am no poet laureate. I am not even a poet. But I appreciate a poem that speaks to me as this one does.
But do you, dear Christian reader, feel there is something missing—like the resurrection of the body, a central tenet of the faith once delivered to the saints?
Her description of the frailty and comicalness of our bodies hits the mark. I have no knowledge of the shape of her faith.
I would love it if you create a closing stanza of your own. It is with fear and trepidation that I make my poor submission.
Body is a thing you’re going to get a new one of.
At least so we’re told in the Good Book.
And it won’t be in exchange for our present slow one, it’ll be put on top of the one we now have “that we not be unclothed.”
This one will be satisfactory and beautiful and fast enough.
You’ll be able to move through space just by thinking about it.
And you’ll be able to eat fish, or chocolate cake if you prefer.
And you’ll be able to recognize others.
And—best of all—you’ll see Him: Your Father and your Brother, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
No forwarding address needed.