Hope is sometimes harder to define, out here "on the other side of church land," but it's not hard to find. At Easter, in church services across the land, worshipers joyfully rise to sing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today! Alleluia!" as if that's all the hope we really need. Meanwhile, among those of us who feel less sure about what Jesus' resurrection has to do with the rest of us, we look instead, not to some eventual rising from the grave, but to the seeds of new life hidden deep within this mortal frame, even within death itself. In this episode I speak with poet Juleta Severson-Baker about the power of words to evoke such hope in us. Somehow, the intentional, well-chosen words of a poem can draw our gaze to the present moment, with all its dark challenges, where we find not despair, but a reason to live. "Alleluia" indeed!
Poems read in this episode are either in the public domain, or credited as follows:
"my daughter tells me her generation is buckling under the anxiety about climate change while we drive our car down a highway" by Juleta Severson-Baker (unpublished)
"The Well of Grief" by David Whyte; published by Many Rivers Press, 1990
"Oh Children" by Margaret Atwood in DEARLY; published by McClelland and Stewart, 2020 (permission pending)
"July" by Juleta Severson-Baker in EVERY WORD SPOKEN; published by Leaf Press, 2013
"Franz Marc Blue Horses" by Mary Oliver from BLUE HORSES; published by Penguin Press, 2014 (permission pending)