In this special post, the three of us come together in a collaborative effort to weave our individual searches for Jesus together into a poem.
A/N: Blessed Wednesday everyone! To round off Odes to October month, Chris, Greg and I thought we would try writing a poem together. After giving it some thought, I struck upon the idea of modeling the poem after a Japanese collaborative style of poetry called “renga”.
You may notice that Greg’s first three lines take the form of the famous “haiku” – the three line, 17-syllable Japanese poem. A renga consists of a series of haikus linked together by a couplet – two lines of 7 syllables each. I thought the structured form of this poem would both impose healthy creative limitations (the challenge was to sum up the state of our current spiritual lives in a haiku), and aid some of us who had grave (and unfounded) doubts about our poetic abilities (*cough*Greg*cough*).
So over a long video call across various time zones, the three of us spent a light-hearted three hours listening to each others journeys and trying to fit our spiritual lives into 17 syllables, as well as finding ways to express where our spiritual lives overlapped, mainly in our combined desire to search for Jesus. Do let us know your thoughts on social media or if you ever wish to try a similar exercise with your community or loved ones. We hope you enjoy the read!
I walk the desert
Relishing in a mirage
More real than the rain
Truth reveals reality
Turning desert to summer;
Lazy summer’s day
Seeker puts his satchel down
To hear the Lord’s words:
“Why search for answers outside?
Can you find rest in me, child?”
New yet familiar
I cook a meal for Jesus
I am loved; He smiles.
My meal and His Eucharist
We dine together and live
© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Gregory Adrian Gunawan
© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Garrett Christopher Ng
© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Christopher Chok
Chris writes a response poem-prayer to Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings.
Dag Hammarskjold, Markings
A pure heart
That we may see Thee,
A humble heart
That we may hear Thee
A heart of Love
That we may serve Thee,
A heart of faith
That we may live Thee,
Whom I do not know
But Whose I am.
Whom I do not comprehend
But Who hast dedicated to me
To my fate.
Christopher Chok, Imprints
A still soul
That we may touch You,
A contrite soul
That we may feel You,
A soul of Peace
That we may see You,
A soul of Truth
That we may know You,
Whom I long to know
And Whose I’m loved.
Whom I search all day and night
Yet Who has loved me into being
To this world.
Chris writes a response to Tennyson’s poem, “In Memoriam”
Alfred Lord Tennyson, “In Memoriam”
Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of being slow.
Chris reflects on the wisdom that he has learnt from Richard Rohr’s books and talks about the movements of one’s spiritual journey
“Sooner or later, if you are on any classic ‘spiritual schedule,’ some event, person, death, idea, or relationship will enter your life that you simply cannot deal with, using your present skill set, your acquired knowledge, or your strong willpower. Spiritually speaking, you will be, you must be, led to the edge of your own private resources. At that point you will stumble over a necessary stumbling stone, as Isaiah calls it; or to state it in our language here, you will and you must ‘lose’ at something. This is the only way that Life-Fate-God-Grace-Mystery can get you to change, let go of your egocentric preoccupations, and go on the further and larger journey. I wish I could say this was no true, but it is darn near absolute in the spiritual literature of the world.”– Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.
Chris reflects on how important it is to hold on to our identity as children of God in the midst of a world of distractions.
Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came’ … (Excerpt from the Gospel of the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time; Mark 1:29-39)