Wild Joy

Gregory Orr “One consequence of traumatic violence is that it isolates its victims. It can cut us off from other people, cutting us off from their own emotional lives until we go numb and move through the world as if only half alive. As a young person, I found something to set against my growing sense of isolation and numbness: the making of poems.

When I write a poem, I process experience. I take what's inside me — the raw, chaotic material of feeling or memory — and translate it into words and then shape those words into the rhythmical language we call a poem. This process brings me a kind of wild joy. Before I was powerless and passive in the face of my confusion, but now I am active: the powerful shaper of my experience. I am transforming it into a lucid meaning.”

~ Gregory Orr, from “The Making of Poems,” This I Believe, February 20, 2006

Three poems from How Beautiful the Beloved by Gregory Orr:

Reading the world
As if it were a book
Written before words —

That sparrow perched
On the withered stalk
In the garden — isn’t
The bird itself
A song to the beloved

Even before it sings?

*     *     *

Praising all creation, praising the world:
That’s our job — to keep
The sweet machine of it
Running as smoothly as it can.

With words repairing, where is wears out,
Where it breaks down.

With songs and poems keeping it going.
With whispered endearments greasing its gears.

*     *     *

Human heart —
That tender engine.

Love revs it;
Loss stalls it.

What can make it
poem = word / temple (Copper Canyon Press logo)Go again?

The poem, the poem.