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I am fearfully and wonderfully made

Posted Fri, 06/25/2021 - 10:35 by Katharine

To open CCJ's Transforming Intolerance Conference Poet-In-Residence Hannah Stone presented a new poem on the theme 'fearfully and wonderfully made' from Psalm 139

 

‘Tell us a story,’ you begged.

‘I’ll paint you a picture,’ I said.

 

I am seed, a speck boring into the soil,

swelling as it sinks, burrowing roots into the earth,

mirroring their reach with stem, twig, leaf

twining upwards towards the light.

 

I become grove, coppice, thicket, forest.

I am armoured by bark, and tunnelled by beetles.

Curse me, and I will wither – but only for a while.

Cut me, and see how my blooms still blossom.

Fell me, and in the emptied glade

a quiver-full of my offspring

soon shoot up to pin the bright sky

with their spears of new growth.

 

I am the acorn buried by a squirrel

in a garden plot squeezed between weeds;

I am the sapling that persists

by the side of a road;

the buddleia bole that triumphs

through cracks in the paving.

 

I am planned and planted,

named and numbered,

owned and harvested.

Under burning skies

I am nurtured

with sparse mouthfuls of water.

 

I am one, and many.

I am oak of righteousness,

I am olive, flowing with oil,

I am cedar of Lebanon;

I am bright new beech,

fanning beds of bluebells,

I am cherry blossom

for Japanese ceremonies,

I am shade for sheep in the green pasture.

I am bright flags of Canadian maple,

signalling the approach of fall,

I print messages on the winter sky

with my naked branches.

 

I am hiding place for frightened men,

home to owls and sparrows.

I am climbing frame, lightening rod,

lodestar for the lost.

I am roof, I am fuel,

I am ship, I am arrow;

I am walking stick, crutch,

crocket mallet, cricket bat,

doorframe and gate,

roodscreen and altar,

I am mast and flagpole,

spar and splinter,

cradle and coffin.

I am fashioned into harps

to sing the Lord’s song in strange lands.

My leaves are for the healing of nations.

I bridge the deeps of the earth

and the boundless heavens.

I am more than the sum of my parts.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Learn from me, and lift up your voice:

join creation to sing ‘rejoice!’

 

Hannah Stone

CCJ Poet-In-Residence