I think poetry is underrated in our society. You know why? I think we’re too busy to sit down and enjoy it, that’s why. We’re always reading books about ‘7 steps to become a leader’, or the newest christian author in hopes they’ll reveal some truth about God we never realized (Even though we should just be reading our bibles. Oh, yes, I’m bad at that.), or teach us how to handle our finances better. Poetry may do some or all of this, but never with that purpose in mind. The purpose of poetry seems to be just to sit and ramble your thoughts out and then organize them into sentences. It’s taking hours to craft one sentence out of a thought that has been eating you for a year. That’s what poetry does. I’ve never been good at understanding poetry. I mean, I’ve read in spurts over the years. But I recently decided that poetry speaks the language of mulling, and I’d like to mull more.
So I’ve started a poetry pipe club. Fashioned after one my brother-in-law does in Chicago (He doesn’t allow girls, though. Shame!). We light a nice campfire in my backyard, light up the old pipes (which usually involves some discussion about how to do it properly), and speak meandering thoughts, deep passions, and contemplations on ultimate purpose into each other. Sometimes, we get tired and just sit and look at the coals from the fire, which are sure to bring contemplation to any person. Sidenote: Did you know that staring at fire is one the ‘yoga kriyas’, where it is supposed to still the mind and purify the eyes if you look long enough without blinking? Sometimes the most simple things are the things that are healthiest for you. End sidenote.
I love poetic pipe night. Every week I am continually impressed by the array of subject matter, emotional depth, and complete lack of dullness embodied in each poem brought to the fire. It makes me want to write some. It makes me want to take something deep within me and put it into a sentence that everybody in the room hears and says, ‘I feel just like that. I’ve just never been able to put it that way.’ Because that’s how I feel when I hear those poems.
I also love sitting with my friends and taking a break from everything. There’s no rush. There’s no purpose. It’s not a bible study where we have to talk about God—but He comes up so often and naturally in conversation, it could be a small group from church. You don’t have to come every week. You don’t even have to bring a poem. But, if you don’t, you must comment on everyone else’s and you have to introduce a profound thought to everyone. It’s just a chance to hang out, but inspire and address life around us at the same time.
I’m telling you how much I love it, because I think we should make it a national pastime. Americans all over the country will take Thursday night off from life, sit in front of a campfire amidst some friends, and read poetry to each other. It’ll be great. It’ll be like the equivalent of a siesta or something, except a social, non-sleeping siesta. Or like ‘chafing’ in Bosnia where they sit around and eat sweets and drink coffee. I think it could have a chance to take off.
But, since coming home from Bosnia, I’m realizing how important it is to me to have a quality time where my friends and I can take a break from the world. I’m starting to realize why God invented the Sabbath. I just do it on Thursday night.