A friend of mine just sent me an "On Being" interview of poet Christian Wiman, by Krista Tippett. It is quite a fascinating interview of boy who grew up in a strange combination of a violent, yet conservative culture. In time, he became both a poet and agnostic. Christian later faced death as he was diagnosed with a bizarre blood cancer. Later, as he fell in love in his thirties, he remembered God and his place in the world. He just came out with a new book, The Bright Abyss and has published books of poetry over the years including Every Riven Thing, a book published after his diagnoses.
He is wrapping up his time as the editor of Poetry Magazine, and will soon move to Yale Divinty School. This is an amazing, humble interview about faith, doubt, belief, death, life and well... poetry. Enjoy!
This poem, read during the interview, was written after three years of poetic silence after learning of his diagnosis.
God goes, belonging to every riven thing he's made sing his being simply by being the thing it is: stone and tree and sky, man who sees and sings and wonders why
God goes. Belonging, to every riven thing he's made, means a storm of peace. Think of the atoms inside the stone. Think of the man who sits alone trying to will himself into a stillness where
God goes belonging. To every riven thing he's made there is given one shade shaped exactly to the thing itself: under the tree a darker tree; under the man the only man to see
God goes belonging to every riven thing. He's made the things that bring him near, made the mind that makes him go. A part of what man knows, apart from what man knows,
God goes belonging to every riven thing he's made.
- Christian Wiman, a poem from Every Riven Thing