Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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June 22, 2019

Matthew Clark


This? is a habitation.

Curl round the way a tendril

Climbs a lantern post,

Anchored in its reaching

Towards the summons of light.


This? is a nest.

Nervous birds that we are!

Sit still, and be embraced

By a thousand vining strands

Of song – a matrix wreathed

To cup, maintained to warm

The brooded, cherished, brittle ones:

What hopes to hatch


This? is a home.

A frame readied for filling,

Chambers shaped for meeting,

A body built to house the living,

A door to enter by, a kitchen,

A table, if you’re willing,

Where we may rest and share

The meal that we’ve been given.


This? This is a tree

So full of years no tongue can trace

The rippling tale it would announce,

Which ringing out

from its ancient mouth

its heart would yet pronounce.


Still every tongue has sung

Through seasons countless now —

Both grafted branch,

And twisted bough —

The word from the which the seed

was sprung.


And though each leaf is like

Another, one by one,

With new-born speech, each

Bodies-forth the fruit,

(whose source: a far-remembered intercourse)

Makes manifest the breeze.


This? this is a book.

And you are in it – look!

We are sentenced —

And thereby freed — to life;

Ensconced a story-seed,

Bound and rhymed in living lines

That when read bleed

and throb in rhythm

To give to solemn ink bright wings…


The turning page in time

Turns out to break the misspelled words;  

The storyteller left a sign —

Now, joy-sung spells arc through the sting,

Raise death to breath

And tune sin to sing!

The featured image is particularly suited as the ornament to this beautiful work from Cultivating’s Matthew Clark. These little robins were on the threshold of fledging the very day this image was made. Matthew was staying at our home – House on the Way – during this time period and was present for the mystery of the summer fledging rites.

The image is (c) Lancia E. Smith  and used with very glad permission for The Cultivating Project. 


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  1. Susan Clark says:

    Love to see what you see in creativity and in life.
    Love this verse and the beautiful picture . Thanks for your wonderful words.

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