I enjoy reading poetry. The names of the poets I enjoy most include; Wendell Berry, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, D. H. Lawrence, Walt Whitman, Jal alladin Rumi, Hafiz, Shams of Tabriz, Rabia, Omar Khayyam, and Khalil Gibran. Reading these authors, I often wrestle with universal themes in the human experience.
The human experience includes explorations of religion and justice, love and death, prejudice and compassion, nature and the divine. The poets, named here, peered out at their world through the lenses of; a Christian Transcendentalist minister (Walt Whitman), a Lebanese Christian refugee (Khalil Gibran), a farmer and environmental activist (Wendell Berry), a novelist and social activist (Langston Hughes), a writer and editor (Carl Sandburg), playwright and painter (D.H. Lawrence), a former woman slave (Rabia), and Sufi mystics (Jal alladin Rumi, Hafiz, Shams of Tabriz, and Omar Khayyam).
Over my life's journey each of these poets and their inspiring works have strengthened my self- understanding and knowledge of human relations in general.
Carl Sandburg inspired me to educate myself on the ongoing struggles of day laborers and migrant workers. Wendell Berry confirmed for me that human beings stand to gain in physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health when we care for the environment.
Langston Hughes cautioned me to be mindful of white privilege and its negative impact on our community. D.H. Lawrence taught me the power and beauty of both the written and spoken verse.
Khalil Gibran opened up for me the world of the refugee and the hopes for a better life they struggle to realize. Walt Whitman confirmed my nature to never stop learning and be open to new wisdom.
The Sufi mystics Rumi, Hafiz, Rabia, and Khayyam drew me into a deeper communion and experience of the divine.
I do enjoy poetry, and reading the works of these artists has enriched my life and my relations with all the people I meet. I was just thinking that another trip to the library is in order.
More Life to You and Joy!
Rev. Mark C. Pafford
Chaplain and Minister