Throughout the readings for this week the theme of God's love is present. In each of the poems and the work by O'Connor, God's love is demonstrated but is not appreciated or recognized until something significant happens in life. Whether it is death, a beautiful moment or the feeling of being lost, those are the events that allow us to reconnect with God after a period of separation. Each of the poets and the author portrays that them in their work by using things that occur in everyday life. It proves that God is with us but we are unable to recognize it until faced with a situation.
Gerard Hopkins portrays this point in his poem God's Grandeur. Initially he explains how God makes himself known to the world and how the world is charged and electrified with the power and greatness of God. Hopkins does so by using alliteration such as “grandeur of god” and “flame” and “foil” to show the harmony God had created and to demonstrate the unity of the world that is held together by God. The speaker eventually questions how mankind could disobey God and be blind to his love and presence. He realizes that no matter how much people ignore God's love He still shows it everyday through nature. It is seen through the rising and setting of the sun and the love and peace in the world. This poem tells the reader to not ignore the love of God and just take it for granted but to recognize it and embrace it because it will always be with them.
Another poem that exemplifies the them of God's love is Jane Hirshfield's Happiness. She uses the patron saint of animals, St. Francis, to show the natural love of God. Throughout her piece she writes about how God's love is not only seen with humans but it can be seen in animals and their actions. It is noted not only in the biggest animals such as wolfs and birds but even to the tiniest organisms “the least amoeba,” still shows God's love. The sections about the wolf can also relate to a legend associated with St. Francis. In the town he lived in there was a wolf that devoured men and animals, but the speaker notes that the wolf “cast off the deep fierceness of her first heart.” This use of the legend shows that even in dangerous animals God's love can still be seen.
The other reading for the week A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor also portrays the theme that God's love is present but is truly only recognized in significant situations. The reader is taken on a journey with the family. On their journey this dysfunctional family encounters a wanted killer known as 'The Misfit'. It is at this time that the family appears to be religious, a quality that was not seen at any other time in the piece. The grandmother when confronted with a dangerous situation begins to pray and asks the killer to pray. As she is killed the killer recognizes that she is one who is ignorant of God's love. She only showed her appreciation in the face of danger and “would have been a good women...if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” This story enforces that point that although God's love is always with us, most people do not appreciate it or recognize it until they are faced with danger, problems or have witnessed beauty.
On February 1st I attended the Modern Masters Reading Series. While there I was able to here Dana Levin speak about and read some of her poetry. Most of her poetry is about grief and death. As a poet and someone who has experienced death in her family she tries to understand death because it is where we will eventually end up. Dana Levin enjoys turning grief into beauty and to show that there is some happiness in sorrow. Her eulogy’s are not traditional, instead she uses poetry to understand death not just to speak of it or someones life. While listening to her and after reading the poems for this week I noticed that its not her work that relates to the message from these poems but it is her mentality and how she approaches her work.
Death is just like God's love, we never appreciate or want the person who died until they do. Even though God's love is present in everyday life, most people do not appreciate it until it is needed. When someone dies, they are not appreciated to the fullest until they are gone. That is one of the messages Dana Levin was getting across. When her parents died she attempted to understand their death and to appreciate it. She was not able to understand her parents and appreciate them until they died. Death occurs every day and is part of our lives but isn’t understood until it occurs to one of our loved ones. The same goes for God's love. It is present in everyday life through nature and events but it is not truly appreciated and wanted until we most need it.