Robert Cording is an award-winning, contemporary poet living in Connecticut, and teaching English and creative writing at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. He has five poetry books to his credit, the most recent being Common Life (CavanKerry Press). He tends to write from a faith point-of-view but often in a way that doesn’t primarily focus on the spiritual.
When I asked Robert Cording about the relationship between his role as a poet, and that of a Christian, he referred me to something he had said when his book Against Consolation received the Arlen Myer Prize. He'd said: "My task of late has been to evoke what I would call the primordial intuitions of Christianity. What are they?—that we live in a world we did not create; that God’s immanent presence is capable of breaking in on us at every moment; that most of the time we cannot 'taste and see' that presence because we live in a world of self-reflecting mirrors; that only by attention alone...can we live in the world but outside of our existing conceptions of it."
The following poem does this: causing us to look at ourselves but then to look well beyond ourselves.
They’re everywhere, baby-cheeked cherubs flying
On boutique signs, on cards and magazine covers,
In the serene sky of coffee table books.
They surround us like a halo that is no more
Than a suggestion, a dim waking to something
At the edge of our gaze when we look up.
Trees sway, a bird sings, propelling us to worship
Some source of warmth that will fill in the blank
Spaces of our hearts. Our angels never flash swords,
Flap their six monstrous wings like the sound of chariots,
Mete out judgement, or announce unexpectedly
A precocious child. They tell us to forgive ourselves
And love who we are; they focus us on abundance
So we may have enough for car and house payments,
The kids’ tuition bills. They whisper— there’s a god
Inside of you—and we believe. How good we feel
About ourselves, how unencumbered and free,
As if some transformation had surely taken place.
And so our days unravel in summer pastels,
The sun a mild version of itself, its trellised light
Nearly graspable, dappling the patio bricks and a table
Where a book is opened by the wind, a sign
Without meaning but beautiful, serving almost
No purpose at all except to create a kind of mild
Annunciatory sense that, yes, everything is about us.
(Posted with the poet's permission)
Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: www.dsmartin.ca