When the Wing Gives Way

Today we feature poet Jennifer Wallace’s blog post on the Paraclete Press blog. Look for her new book of poetry Almost Entirely this November. 
As the release date (Nov. 
14) for my latest poetry collection, Almost Entirely, approaches, I’d like to share a sense of the book and its arcs. Poems are grouped in four sections: When the Wing Gives Way, Something for Us to Stand On, One Hundred Footsteps, and Like Light Through the Branches. Each week until the book’s release, I will post another poem.

Poems in “When the Wing Gives Way,” the first section of Almost Entirely, represent a “coming-out” for me. Many poems in this section are expressions of faith and doubt. These themes may have always informed my poems, but never as overtly as they do here. This one, “The Wind of God…” takes as its title a line from the Book of Genesis (1:2).

I am always wondering which pronoun to use when referring to God. It is sometimes “he” or “she” or “they” or even “It.” Until recently, God was for me an “It,” a limitless, anonymous (but upper case) expanse that incorporates everything. I am coming lately into an awareness of a personal, less abstract, relation with God. Here is the poem:

The Wind of God…

…moved over the face of the waters. And after reading this,
the awareness that, more than once,
God has turned my head in the right direction,
yet I haven’t seen the gesture for what it is.

The world charges and is charged with a white-hot flame.
I might turn away, but each morning my head is turned for me
toward a crow’s flight, squirrel passage, or a person
with whom I share an ever-present reaching toward.
I let myself be turned sometimes. Sometimes
I get into my car and drive away.

Today I picture God’s hand cupped atop my head —
a quiet turning and then receding.
We are ‘fine’ with each other. This god has all the time in the world.

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