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. To find more poets among our alums, go to the MLTS Library's Poetry Month page.
It’s the time of milk, and birth;
Herbs, and the weird magic of wells, and women—
Naturally, the Goddess of hearth fire and candles.
But there is a working, and a blessing, for men as well.
The forge, too, is a contained fire,
And you will find Brigid there
In the spell of heat and metal from which a good tool is born.
Where the iron is wrought and tempered into something trusted—
A hammer, a plowshare, an axe head—
A thing that moves as the worker moves
In harmony where the habits of the earth meet the human will;
The furrow turned to receive the seed, the timber dressed for building,
The marriage of upright and crossbeam that shapes shelter.
The long cold winter twilight is for sharpening the saw blade,
Truing the cutting edge, resetting the handle to the sledge, and the harrow.
The tools, like all created things, long for our blessing;
Warm in the presence of our respect and care.
They will labor with maker and heir and grandchild faithfully, in earnest—
A little oil, the touch of a whetstone, broken leather mended,
Is a reasonable sacrifice of reverence and gratitude.
While the snow lies deep, and the bear’s dreaming grows restless,
And the sap begins to stir, and the milk tightens in the udder,
Brigid, dazzle us with the quickening of new life,
The highest miracle.
But hear our prayer for these our humble tools,
that serve as we serve, unbegrudgingly,
the common purposes of the year.
The Rev. Dr. Kendyl L. R. Gibbons is the minister of All Souls Unitarian Church of Kansas City, Missouri, a past president of the UU Ministers Association, and former co-dean of the Humanist Institute. She is co-editor with William R. Murry of "Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism" (Skinner House, 2016). She was the recipient of the UU Humanist Association's 2015 Religious Humanist of the Year Award.