Poem 12 The Edge of Our Unknowing takes us into deep water, with Denise, Arwen and Tom

It always sounded like such a hopeful poem to me – the Edge of Our Unknowing,

I like it that friendship is like getting into a boat
Pushed out from the shore,
There’ll always be more you want to know
To see, to feel, to sail
But there’s only the journey, never arriving
But the sea is wide and free.”

But then I was reading an article in’ Shalom Tidings’ magazine about poetry. In it Leighanna Schesser says “The best poetry, as Robert Frost so famously said, is the kind where the poet learns something by writing the poem – there must be surprise.”

This indeed was the case with this poem. Part of me was issuing a warning about something that I’d failed to see.

Have a listen and then see if you agree with my friend Tom Bentall’s interpretation below, He’d come round to help me sort some of the 81 boxes of books for the Bard Library! And I was reminded of the time when he’d spotted this word, hidden in plain sight –

I like it that friendship is like getting into a boat
And you wish it was made of glass.
Because then you would see the fish at night
In their own sweet world.
The secret thoughts of that other mind
In a universe oblivious to your own being
And yet so vast and real.”

A universe oblivious to your own being –  that doesn’t sound too intimate does it?  

(Me)  Oh no!  I wonder why I never saw it before.. 

 “But sometimes the fish look up
 And the wood is glass-like.
A sudden seeing from a light beyond
A glimpse in the line of sight
And the sight is a distant shore,
But it comes with a promise.

Apart from making me realise that those fish were actually pretty sinister, I couldn’t help noticing that it had all come true as he said.  But then there was this promise.

And it set me thinking again, about what that promise might be. An end to the oblivion?  A beginning of reconciliation? A sign of the kindred nature of all creatures  – no matter how distant they might be to each other? Or even that impossible sounding hope of Julian of Norwich’s assertion, that all things shall be well and all manner of things shall be well?

Because even in the poem, there is something greater than the friendship in the boat.

Such delight that the unknown way is prepared before us
And this ever-expanding freedom is uniquely ours.
I like it that friendship is like getting into a boat
In a world of wonder”

When I read this same poem to Denise Calverly, seen here in our kitchen with her daughter Arwen, the other day,  she thought the poem made her think how faith is like the edge of our unknowing. And how at some point, we need to get out of the boat.

 She said
‘I can’t help thinking that Peter in the Gospel, steps out of the boat and when he keeps his eyes off the waves  he actually walks on the water. People remember that he sank. I remember that he walked. “

I love where the conversations about poetry go – as much as the the process of writing the poems themselves.  To return to Leighanna in Shalom Tidings Magazine, she speaks about the poet conversing with themselves, their ideas and an imagined audience in a way that is rather Trinitarian.  What I enjoy aswell,  is when the audience is no longer imagined, but real, and adds their own surprising and insightful contribution to the journey.

So why not come, if you can, to the Celebration of National Poetry Day on Thursday 4th October?

The theme is Change… As part of St Michael’s Arts festival, I’m performing poems and stories from the book and beyond and there’s also Prosecco included!  You can book tickets here and also see what other delights have been prepared for you.

 St Michael’s Arts Festival in Stockwell on National Poetry Day  7.30pm – 4th October 2018 

(The festival runs from 4th to 14th October but my performance is just on Thursday 4th )

Or if you are just wanting to lie back right now and listen.. whether you are at the edge of your unknowing or in the thick of it, you can enjoy the audio book of 50 poems for £5.59 right now. 

Looking forward to seeing you at St Michaels or in the comments below!

I like it that friendship is like getting into a boat
In a world of wonder.

And thanks so much again to Tom Bentall for not only helping me shift books, but also for reviewing the audio book in his beautiful tender style.

Apparently if you get 50 reviews, Amazon starts to promote you.  So if you do feel like putting up a review, that would be a wonderful way of pushing the boat out, together!!!

5.0 out of 5 starsBuy it! Read it! Listen to it!! Treasure lies within!!!

15 August 2018
Format: Audio DownloadVerified Purchase

A Beginner’s guide to opening the world with words.

Sarah’s beautiful and transportive audiobook sings in the heart long after listening to it.

I find it simultaneously challenges one to think and puts the heart back together in a magical and loving way. Her poetry is at once expressive and delicately tender, proving a valued ally for one’s journey along whatever path of life one chooses. 

I think her wit, charm and erudite use of metaphor adds colour equally to an innocent tone-poem or a more philosophical dialectical study. I find Sarah’s character in her work speaks volumes about her approach to life :- add humour and loving presence; hey presto: joy!!!

Her book is a joy to listen to and one I will certainly take along with me in the coming autumnal season.

Her spiritual insight is precious and timeless, as seen in the hermit story or ‘a black sheep’. Her newer work is often more pensive and poignant but her wisdom-being always shines through.