Monday, March 4, 2024

Laurie Klein*

Laurie Klein is a poet of the Pacific Northwest, the author of Where the Sky Opens (2015) and of the brand new book, House of 49 Doors ― both from The Poiema Poetry Series.

Her name comes up frequently as the writer of the praise chorus “I Love You, Lord” which has been ubiquitous in church circles for years. Its familiarity led guitarist Phil Keaggy to record it as the only cover-tune on his beautiful instrumental album The Wind and the Wheat (1987, Maranatha Music).

When she was featured at Abbey of the Arts, Laurie Klein said, “For me, entering the presence of the sacred means embracing mystery. And I adore mystery. Poems I love evoke — and expose — irresistible gaps: within my understanding, between the lines themselves, betwixt soul and Truth’s unerring glance.”

As Klein’s editor, for both of her full-length collections, I am delighted to see the arrival of this ambitious new book. It is a memoir of the unspeakable, that takes on a family’s disturbing sorrow with remarkable innocence, beauty, and hope.

Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, of The Christian Century, says of House of 49 Doors, “The voice in these remarkable poems belongs to a girl, a spy, a recorder of daydreams and memories of a home and a war-torn, beloved uncle, whose grisly suicide was a family secret. These poems are handprints left in cement. Once you pick up this book, you will be unable to put it down.”

The following poem is from House of 49 Doors.

Words which are not

enough — despite our regrets
and longings — mound,
musty and swept together
like fallen leaves, crackling
with sorrow nearly

unspeakable. Where is solace
meant to settle cleanly as dew?
A life shatters, its hunger
for wholeness hopefully
drifting toward Mystery,

luring us all nearer
the pure, original spark —
a vitality deeper than

we dare believe. Prayers may
falter, but know this:

though language flails
and has too often failed us,
our questions spiral,
eventually intersect
the beguiling Love

that summoned this universe,
which, from our first
shuddering breath,
clear through forever, rekindles
the sacred flint, blazons our way.

Posted with permission of the poet.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Laurie Klein: first post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.