Friday, October 13, 2017

Poetry Friday: "You Bring Out the Monk in Me"

Last week, I got my contributor copy of Adanna.  What a beautiful journal!  They published two poems that I was unsure of  when I first wrote them, but I've grown to like them.  One of them is "History's Chalkboards," which was my spouse's favorite.  When I read both poems out loud, my spouse was visibly moved by "History's Chalkboards," which is not a response that he often has to my poems.

The other poem was "You Bring Out the Monk in Me," which I thought might be his favorite, since if he saw himself as the "you" in the poem, he might be happy.  Of course, he's been well trained not to see literary work as necessarily autobiographical.

The poem was inspired by January Gill O'Neil's  "You Bring Out the Mitt Romney in Me," which in turn was inspired by other variations of this theme, which you can find in this post, along with some writing prompts.

I find it interesting that I would write a love poem that uses monastic imagery--but those who know me probably won't be surprised.

You Bring Out the Monk in Me

You bring out the monk in me,
the ancient practices in me,
the candles and incense in me,
the Psalms chanted across a day in me,
the calm of Compline in me.

You bring out the long robes in me,
the rough fabric in me.
You bring out the longing to know
the social order by the length and color
of our clothes, the simplicity of pattern in me.

You bring out the recluse in me,
the one who retreats in me,
the one accused of hiding in me,
the one who prays for the world
while the world carries on in obliviousness to me.

You bring out the silence in me,
the longing for only the words
that matter in me.
You bring out the perfectly balanced in me,
equal time for work, study, and worship.

You worry that there’s no space
for you in this equation,
but I assure you that space
remains in the silence,
the work, and the worship
because you bring out the monk
in me, the one who knows
what to keep and what to shuck away.

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