April is Poetry Month! To celebrate it this year, we want to lift up the poets among our alums. Meadville Theological School, Lombard College, and Meadville Lombard Theological School, all share a rich history of poetry. As part of Poetry Month, we asked our alums to submit recordings of them reading their poetry so you can not just read their words, but hear their voices.
I go in and out, don’t you?
Into flow and gratitude,
and out of it again
Into grief and hopelessness,
and out of it again.
Into routine; cooking, walks, connection
And then into bed, the bath,
my head, my tears.
These days call for the ability to sway
Sway into reality, sway into empathy,
and back again.
Dip toes into fear, anxiety, awareness
And rest in creativity, distraction, comfort.
We go in and out, like tides
Creating our own slow rhythms
Finding the pulse of survival.
I’m pretty sure we’re doing alright
Even though we’re always late,
the food comes prepared,
and you watch more tv than I ever imagined.
I’m pretty sure I’m enough
even though I’ve worn the same
sweatshirt for 6 days straight
and I can’t seem to clean the bedroom
or unpack the boxes of books.
I’m pretty sure you’ll be ok
even though you don’t act like other kids
and transitions make you cranky
and you spend most of your life daydreaming.
I’m pretty sure there’s no right way to do this thing
this family life endeavor,
except to be in it every day, and
laugh and try to be yourself in every way you know how...
Even if it means I hide away in the bathroom
Writing poetry on my phone
While the puppy sleeps
and you eat hummus straight from the container with a spoon.
Pretty sure we’re doing alright.
Beautiful one, I wonder if you’ve breathed enough today.
If you’ve taken the time to press lightly on your closed eyelids,
watching the fireworks of light ebb and flow across your inner landscape.
I wonder if you’ve turned off the screens and gone to the window,
listening for the wind and the birdsong.
I wonder if you’ve eaten today.
I often forget that part myself,
until the headache comes and I unclench my jaw
and lift the spoon to my lips.
I wonder if lying on the ground in your living room might feel nice.
To lift your knees to your chest and rock back and forth.
I wonder if you can listen to music from your adolescence,
memory is so very powerful right now, so very comforting.
I wonder what makes you laugh,
what tells your heart to grow instead of locking itself away.
I wonder if you’ve cried enough...
Beloved creature, we have very few needs in the short term:
air, water, food, shelter, and love.
Tend to them first.
And then don’t forget to feel. Feel it all.
[We asked Alix about her path to becoming a spiritual director. Read the interview here.]
Alix is a spiritual director, photographer, creative arts minister, and poet. Alix has been writing poetry for her entire life and remembers wanting to submit a poem to Highlights Magazine when she was 8, but never got up the courage. You can find her book, Secrets & Stars, on Amazon worldwide, Barnes & Noble online, and at any local bookseller through Indiebound.com. To read and engage with her in community you can follow her on Instagram @AlixKlingenberg or on Facebook @Alix Klingenberg, Writer.