Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Poetry Sunday 2017 - Links to all the poems I mentioned

On Sunday, May 14, 2017 I preached a sermon called, "Poetry is Resistance." Here are all the poems I read from or mentioned during the service:

For the Call to Worship I read a gently edited version of Wendell Berry's poem "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front." You can find it on the web here.

For the Chalice Lighting we used a version of the Langston Hughes poem "Youth" as it appears in Lifting Our Voices, the new UU anthology of readings for worship. You can find the poem on the web here.

The first reading was William Stafford's "At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border," available here.

The second reading was "Write-Ins for President" by Leath Tonino. (See below)

During the sermon, as an example of poems that offer resistance in the form of direct confrontation I referenced poems that Unitarians and Quakers wrote in support of John Brown after his raid on Harper's Ferry. You can read some of those, including poems by Julia Ward Howe, Lydia Maria Child, and John Greenleaf Whittier, here.

During the sermon, as an example of poems that offer resistance through the claiming of an identity with self-love I referenced Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, especially the last lines of the poem, "i found god in myself & i loved her / i loved her fiercely."

As another example of self-love as resistance I talked about how much I love the song "i" by Kendrick Lamar. His performance of this song on Saturday Night Live is tremendous!

I concluded the sermon by sharing the poem "Revenge" by Elisa Chavez. You can read it here.


"Write-Ins for President" by Leath Tonino

I elect that bull elk in the Snake River.
I elect that raven in Canyonlands National Park.
I elect autumn moonlight on metal roofs.
I elect the strand of barbed wire that fell from the post and is
now woven into the tall brown grass.
I elect the tall brown grass.
I elect my neighbors' cat - the neighbors who are always cursing one another and screaming hateful things - because every morning he sits with me on the fire escape and watches the sunrise without meowing.
I elect the feeling of boots laced tight.
I elect potatoes cooked however.
I elect Vermont's faded, sagging, leaning, crooked-in-the-best-sense-of-the-word barns.
I elect rain improvising songs on a busted junkyard piano.
I elect the ghost of my grandfather Dean, bcause the man never wanted to be anything but a farmer, or so says my grandmother Betty.
I elect my grandmother Betty, because at ninety-five she takes the long view.
I elect the hungry mouse who stole my snack but did so honestly, out in the open.
I elect the thump-thump-thump of many wagging tails.
I elect the dream I once had of a monkey riding a flying goat, a dream in which I understood intuitively, instantly, that a monkey riding a flying goat foretold the healing of all wounds.
I elect the tears on my cheeks when I woke up.
I elect crushed mint.
I elect littered napkins folded together by the wind and placed, as if by magic, at the base of a street-corner trash
I elect a climb of Precarious Peak that made me, and will forever keep me, humble as a pebble.
I elect that which can't be written in, that which will guide us forever, ever forward, regardless of who lives in some white house.