Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In Case of Emergency

Last night, as a friend and I were timing during the kids' swim meet, she told me how she'd been given a book of "Poetry for All Occasions." A thoughtful gift, but a little odd because many of the occasions were sad ones: On the Loss of a Dog. On the Loss of a Child(!). On the Dissolution of One's Marriage. On One's Excommunication from the Church. (Okay, I made the last two up, but the first two were real!) Now that I think about it, I should have asked to borrow the book because I would really like to know which poems they suggested for the various tragedies. ("Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore!'"? "I think that I shall never see/a poem lovely as a tree"? "There was a man from Nantucket"?)

Now, having visited the funky places known as Christian bookstores a few times in my life, I know they have similar books like "Psalms for All Occasions," especially occasions where you want to praise God's creation poetically or, on the other hand, occasions where you'd really, really, really like God to bash someone's head in. Psalms for life's crises make more sense to me because they really are no-holds-barred. There really are appropriate ones for the times you want to tear your hair out and beat your chest and yell at God.

Maybe I'm off base here. Can anyone suggest any secular literature they turn to, when the going gets tough? For comfort, not distraction. I'm not holding my breath.

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