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Communion: Wind, The Birth of a Poem

book cover Birdi Sinclair single poem Comm union: Wind

Poetry is so visceral. It has an expectation to bring emotions, senses to life in a way that makes the words that construct the poem disappear. A poem in any form connects, transports each other into a shared moment. It can be common. It can be mysterious, but relatable, taboo.

I actually wrote this particular piece after my advisor in my doctoral program gave me a challenge in one of our early meetings. It wasn't an easy meeting, and the challenge felt annoying. He wanted me to recall a time where I witnessed or experienced "communion," because he felt my answers to his questions were too superficial and text-like. I was irritated because I felt during our conversation he was provoking me to share too intimately and in my mind, this was supposed to be an academic, or outward experience. It was one of our first meetings. What I did with it inwardly, I didn't feel was anyone's business.

THAT reaction was the flag to me that I needed to run with this. I am usually pretty even. When something is not for me, I am neutral about it. I feel no need to make a stand. You be you, I'm a me. I'm not approval seeking, competitive or needing to clarify my point or make a stand most of the time. I'm often more curious about people's views, knowing there is infinite possibility. I have learned the more rebellious I feel about something, the more resistance I create into a mind spin, and the more I dig in, it is often an invitation, that there's a knock on the door to go through, and I will have an expansion if I allow it.

When I felt such aggravation about his response to what I felt was an antagonistic conversation, my surface reaction was he was proving that I had no reason to share these things with him. I didn't know him, he was provoking, it didn't feel safe. He was the head of my seminary. It was absolutely appropriate for us to have an in depth conversation exploring what is communion. Did we continue to rub each other all through my time at seminary? You bet. It was great. It was not the nourishing mentor I had envisioned for myself when I dreamed of going, but it did the job of inspiring and improving my depth of thought and engagement.

I wrote this piece because I wanted to lean in, trusting that he knew best what he was trying to crack open in me. Poetry is a great instrument for the intangible. It's great for transporting outrage, rebellion, wonder, love...I didn't know how else to touch so many raw things other than through the raw and layered possibilities of poetry. I resigned myself to his task -

and then I got into it. A string of themed pieces evolved to amplify the facets of communion. At first it was a tantrum, and then it was mine.

Poetry is one of those things I've had a crazed relationship with. Some things I read and I JUST CAN'T get there. I want to almost smash stuff. It's crazy town. The metaphors - you mean it's not about a snake in the grass? WHAT? What am I reading? How did you get THAT from THESE WORDS? Too much. Other times I read it, and in the most pared back phrasing of a haiku, I am moved to my soul.

Issa is a master haiku-ist. Here is one of his in the spirit of communion:

Who was it
That lived here before me?
The violets….

Some poems are like a laser pointer to burst me open and I get it, I'm transported or witnessed or homed. Longer pieces become friends to journey with. Short haikus open my senses and sharpen my wit like little secrets we keep in our pockets. I felt compelled to write about communion in only this kind of language, because communion is a felt experience, intangible but palpable. We are born seeking it, already a part of it. Playing with the words became part of my joy in immersing myself.

There are a lot of little extra eggs in these pieces for the curious, or not and one isn't missing anything.

This time in the first piece is my experience from a most difficult time. I was in the weeds of going through a divorce and it was devastating, even though it was a correct decision at the right time. It smashed all the hopes within my own measurements of values, what I felt was now lost in all my years of wanting. Not marriage itself, but my place and personal value, my capacity, my essence of who i thought I would be and what I could create in my life. I believed I betrayed my vision, although I didn't have those words at the time. Of course I didn't. It was a bad marriage, not the right choice for us as life partners. I had trainings hosted by Dr. Ruth Westheimer and she spoke about legitimizing love affairs in her first 2 marriages, and it was her third marriage that was a true marriage. I instantly was grateful for this clarity. YES. This made sense to me. We can feel like this is enough of what we are supposed to want at that time of our lives, make these commitments believing we can build from there, but really, for us, it was a vibrant love affair that ran its course and crashed hard. If we hadn't gotten married, we would have known when it was time to let each other go. It was broken, and I healed. But I almost didn't. The profound loss of hope, the feeling of prolonged striving in our lives together, of purposelessness and failing, is dire. Suicidal longing at the loss of hope or purpose is real. It can claim us, and isolate our thoughts and feelings, remove us from communion. Excommunicated. It took me 2 years to fight for my life, even after I knew I wanted to live. I had to regain a sense of purpose. Wanting to live is not always enough to restore a passion for life. The restoration of communion, in whatever form that is true, through nature, spirituality, kindness, service, creativity, friendships, animal companions, books, music, whatever, is as important as air.

The first poem is long, connects nature and my actual experience with weather, time, and place with my soul's wildness. I was existentially lost yet my instinct delivered me to the door of strangers who would hold me with such compassion that my spirit's dignity was restored. Only the purity of communion could have done this.

Did my advisor know best? Yes.These times we go through, however deep, dark, heavy, are not precious secrets. These are our shared experiences, and they need air, because we are not alone. We are not broken or in shame. We transmit love, compassion, wonder in wordless moments akin to mysticism. It is not something we need to carry as a vulnerable privacy. And it's not always pretty. It tripped me into a whole exploration of what is communion and this will never leave me, and only benefit those whom I work with. I am grateful for leaning toward what felt like an intrusion in that conversation instead of away from it. When I presented him with the first printed, bound copy of the collection of 9 pieces, he said it was one of the best creations that had come through the seminary in a long time.

A little companion poem book: Comm union: Wind can be purchased from the publisher's site. I'll have a few copies that I can sign on hand also. The shipping may be less through me if I have some available. They are small and I can pop it in a small envelope. This little one is nice to pass on or keep in a pack if you find it useful or comforting in any way. I left a blank page at the end for notes.

Birdi Sinclair booklet of single poem, Communion: Wind

It is inside of the larger book published and available on Amazon, called Communion in IX parts, which goes further in testing and shaking up the hold on the word that your religious connotations may trap onto it. Fun pieces, commentary on society, simple spiritual thoughts mingle together.

Birdi Sinclair with book, Communion in IX Parts: Moments in the Whole

Wind is a piece that became an artful, lead letter press project that I am hand illuminating and hand binding for numbered, collector editions. I hope you find it expanding and comforting. I am loving the process of making each one unique and beautiful.

I hope this encourages you to lean in to the challenge. Explore poetry in different forms. Some will connect, and others will not. Maybe at another time in life it will. To say, I don't like poetry is like saying I don't like music. It is too vast. There are so many options. Like music, there are structures and also unstructured as well as deconstructed, whatever... There are so many moods, reasons, styles, histories, cultures, expressions. Poetry is us. Enjoy the curiosity of it. Maybe even pick a theme and lean in to writing some of your own, if you don't already.

In love,

Birdi 💖🌸✌🏼🌱

lead letter press printing Birdi Sinclair Poem Wind

In Kindness,

Dr. Birdi Sinclair

Spiritual Guide, Peace Coach

Birdi Sinclair Signature

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