Monday, August 23, 2010

Vassar Miller

Texas poet Vassar Miller (1924–1998) lived all her life with cerebral palsy. She often wrote of her disability — which made it difficult to walk and talk, and which made her feel isolated — but even more often she wrote of her faith. She published nine volumes of poetry between 1956 and 1985, and then in 1991 her collected poems If I Had Wheels or Love appeared. Although many have said she did not receive the attention her poetry deserves, she was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, and was twice named Poet Laureate of Texas.

When she was asked to describe the meaning of her life she said, “To write. And to serve God.”

Cologne Cathedral

I came upon it stretched against the starlight,
a black lace
of stone. What need to enter and kneel down?
It said my prayers for me,

lifted in a sculptured moment of imploring
God in granite,
rock knees rooted in depths where all men
ferment their dreams in secret.

Teach marble prayers to us who know no longer
what to pray,
like this dumb worship’s lovely gesture carven
from midnight’s sweated dews.

This is the first Kingdom Poets post about Vassar Miller: second post

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: