Monday, April 8, 2024

Jane Clark Scharl

Jane Clark Scharl is a poet, essayist, and playwright, who lives with her husband and children in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Michigan. Her new poetry collection, Ponds (2024, Cascade Books) has just appeared as part of the Poiema Poetry Series.

Ponds is her first book which would be considered a collection of poems. She has also published a verse-play Sonnez Les Matines (2023, Wiseblood Books) which imagines three significant figures ― John Calvin, Ignatius of Loyola, and François Rabelais ― as students together in Paris in the 1520s. They discover a dead body, and as they investigate the murder, each must probe deep questions on his own.

J.C. Scharl and Brian Brown, in conjunction with the Anselm Society, have also recently edited the essay collection Why We Create (2023, Square Halo). This book is an examination by numerous thinkers of how we have been created to create.

I am honoured to have worked with Jane Scharl as the editor of Ponds. For those of you attending the Festival of Faith & Writing, in Grand Rapids, Michigan this April (and those who live nearby) I invite you to attend the Poiema Poetry Series reception on Thursday, April 11th at 7:30. Jane Clark Scharl will be one of our many readers.

In her Plough article “Poetry at Home” from last October, she points to the very first recorded words from Adam when God presented him with his wife, and points out that they are written as poetry (Genesis 2:23). Scharl says, “Poetry should be nourished beside the hearth, not in the lecture hall. When we invite poetry into our homes, we make our family life more abundant, but we also help poetry itself grow richer and more beautiful.” Perhaps the best argument to support her premise is the following poem, which is from Ponds.

To My Unborn Child

There is a story of how God,
before anything else existed, was everything.
And one day he looked out and saw
that everything was him, and he knew
that if he wanted to make some other thing,
first he’d have to vacate
some of what is, to make room, you see.
And so (the story goes) he breathed
in a mighty breath and with it
he pulled in a little of himself,
leaving just the smallest hollow
surrounded by the everything
that is him. Then, into
the hollow, he breathed, but kept himself
held back, just a little, and in
that empty space he made all Creation.

I wish I knew, dear little one,
if the story is true, and if
now he sits like this, hands cupped
around the hollow at his center
that is filling up with something
that is not entirely him;
if he too feels it shift and kick,
and what it is he wonders then.

Posted with permission of the poet.

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.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Charles Wesley*

Charles Wesley (1707―1788) along with his brother John were central figures in the Methodist Revival in eighteenth century Britain. Charles was the most significant hymn writer of his day, and is the most prolific hymnist of all time, having written ten times the number of hymns that Isaac Watts did, who comes a distant second.

In 1729, while a student at Oxford, Charles founded the “Holy Club,” which was later joined by John, and by George Whitefield. Beginning in 1738 the Wesley brothers held meetings throughout Britain, which consisted of hymn-singing and preaching.

The following hymn is one of those most identified with Easter Sunday. Most hymnals today only include four to six of Wesley’s eleven verses. In the 19th century an "Alleluia" was added at the end of each line, perhaps to make it fit the tune “Easter Hymn.”

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

“Christ the Lord is risen today”
Sons of men and angels say
Raise your joys and triumphs high
Sing ye heavens, and earth reply

Love’s redeeming work is done
Fought the fight, the battle won
Lo! Our sun’s eclipse is o’er
Lo! He sets in blood no more.

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal
Christ has burst the gates of hell!
Death in vain forbids his rise:
Christ hath opened paradise!

Lives again our glorious King
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Dying once he all doth save
Where thy victory, O grave?

Soar we now, where Christ has led?
Following our exalted head
Made like him, like him we rise
Ours the cross—the grave—the skies!

What though once we perished all
Partners in our parent’s fall?
Second life we all receive
In our heavenly Adam live.

Risen with him, we upward move
Still we seek the things above
Still pursue, and kiss the Son
Seated on his Father’s throne.

Scarce on earth a thought bestow
Dead to all we leave below
Heaven our aim, and loved abode
Hid our life with Christ in God!

Hid, till Christ our life appear
Glorious in his members here
Joined to him, we then shall shine
All immortal, all divine!

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to thee by both be given
Thee we greet triumphant now
Hail the resurrection thou!

King of glory, soul of bliss
Everlasting life is this:
Thee to know, thy power to prove,
Thus to sing and thus to love!

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Charles Wesley: 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.