At House for All, as part of the liturgy, someone reads a poem each Sunday. Different people pick the poems we use and sometimes someone from church will even write the poem just for the particular service. This past Sunday was the Baptism Of Our Lord, and I was asked to pick a poem for the service. No one is too strict about the poem fitting exactly into the subject at hand, lots of poetic license so to speak. Sometimes its hard to find a poem, but in this case one just fell into my lap from the Winter 2009 issue of The Paris Review.
This is the most wonderful poem about baptism, the Eucharist and faith. I am leery of analyzing any poem because the analysis often destroys the power, mystery and spirit of a poems. Poems have to be taken as a whole like a shot of booze. Sipping it ain't the point. So before I destroy this poem, let's read it together shall we?
Biggest Fish I Will Ever See by Jessica Fordham Kidd
Biggest fish I will ever see,
men caught you
and hung your death
on a tree by the river.
That night I slept in a huge bed
on a screen porch.
I heard your skull talking,
and in their skulls
the men heard you too.
No one knows exactly what you said
and continue to say.
Your bones are long gone.
The nail that held you
remains to be swallowed up
by years of bark.
It is all just water.
I believe that's what I heard -
It is all just water -
the reason it feels so good
to swim in dark rivers.
Why men eat fish that felt that good.
Why people put their wet mouths together.
The reason I know what you said
even though my ears are full of air.
Now that we've read it together, I've decided that I'm not going to dissect it, analyze it or destroy it. It is too wonderful to cut out its heart. To beautiful to burn at the alter of logic.
So, what are you waiting for? Read it again.