CTX Blog

Sheltering in Poetry

April 27, 2020
students at table

[Written by Meghann Bolton, Director of Foundation Relations]

Hi, I’m Meghann, the director of Foundation Relations at Concordia University Texas. In normal life, I read books, but right now, my attention span is shot, so I’ve never been more grateful for poetry. I recently discovered “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Joy Harjo. The poem begins, “The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live./The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

Harjo explores how the table is central to all of life’s events, big and small. “Babies teeth at the corners.” One of the last lines reads, “At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

dining tableWith all of us forced to spend the majority of our time at home, I think about the importance of household objects, such as our kitchen table. Ours has been covered in marker, paint and crayon. Food and wine spilled, games played. It has heard our anxieties and our laughter. It has been disinfected more times than I can count.

I imagine that a month ago, we all stepped into a river together. Every day, we ride the current. As the current changes, we course correct and adjust, especially our expectation of arrival. We know we will arrive, just not when. When we arrive, we will be different. The river will keep on without us.

For me these days, poetry is a moment of calm water. Below are some words that I return to. Poetry.org has started Shelter in Poems, a place where readers can recommend their favorite poems for this moment. Whether or not you like poetry, I invite you to take comfort in one listed or discover one for yourself. I wish you health and peace until we meet again.

Here are some poems I recommend:

Maggie Smith, “Good Bones

Maggie Smith, “Harrowing

Maya Angelou, “Alone

Ada Limón, “The Conditional