Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anglican Poetry Contest - First Place Winner

The First Place winner of Anglican Beach Party's 2009 Anglican Poetry Contest is Fr. Lennart Pearson. Four of his poems appear below.


The sound of bells and clicking clocks mark

the receding movement of the mass

and pebbles on my desk. I pass

along moraines of memos, minutes, fill

fossil folders, check dinosauric data, page

through the paper strata, sift the verbal till,

sedimented miscellany of a new ice age,

in hopes of finding bedrock. Once, I recall,

I saw a jagged thrust of outcrop in a field –

it was Gibraltar in Wisconsin, and all

plowing ended at its edge. Likewise, concealed

beneath these coffee stains and half-bent

Paper clips, the formica surface awaits

a fiery eruption of volcanic thought, sent

up to consume the clutter. The trash abates.

-- Fr. Lennart Pearson


“Something grand is coming!” So says the sign

announcing the new convenience store. Beside

the sign, four grey walls of concrete block confine

a cubic space for “Mr. Chip,” described

as if the structure were an old baroque hotel,

a Verdi opera with a singing cast the size

of Italy, a romantic continental tour for well-

bred Englishmen on holiday, the ultimate prize

for decathlonic agony, a funeral speech

for Pericles, a Churchillian political design

for winning war or peace, ideas that reach

for stars, a Steinway ready for a Rubenstein,

a finale worthy of a William Tell.

No, convenience grandeur only wakens pity,

as though Bunyan’s pilgrim, on fleeing hell,

had said his destination were “Sky City.”

-- Fr. Lennart Pearson


It’s ironic how, being free, we choose,

become imprisoned in our choices,

and then want back the freedom that we lose.

Poor bride! Poor Groom! the noisy voices

of their guests (surprise!) are obligations

in disguise. That simple wish upon a star

ends up a managing of constellations

with bangs and holes and dwarfs as far

removed from honeymoon as laundry day

from Mardi Gras. The stupid parrot squawks

of eagledom as if there were a way

to flee the quotidian conspiracy while hawks

are soaring elsewhere. Now both caged

and counted on, I simply long to simply be

– no actor in another’s play, no staged

model of warning or example, no epitome

of anything. I’d rather have my flaws

rubbed down by one who really understands

how tiring it is to always represent a cause

and who, in turn, would welcome loving hands.

-- Fr. Lennart Pearson


They kept it simple, since they were but two.

The sacred words and actions were not new,

But subtly, there was now in her inflection

A tenderness that startled him – compassion

suited to a deeper seeing

into sacramental mysteries. Being

both aware, they waited. Suddenly, the wonder –

this time in, with, under

palace shadows, among tourists, in the roar

of traffic. But now it was not simple anymore.

-- Fr. Lennart Pearson