This week we are with the poetry of Todd Davis, a contemporary poet from the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Today’s Bible reading

Read Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge. 
(verses 1-2)

More thoughts for meditation

Half in the Sun

This is the lit prayer of the shining world, the words
that glisten like an oil stain–purple and dark in the rain,
mirror in the sun. This is the liturgy, of both/and that affirms
our feet as they tread the earth, the bear of the world
who wanders neighborhoods and dreams, who turns over
garbage bins, then bounds away across manicured lawns.
This is Ursa whitmana throwing his arms around 
the green ball of everything, the love he hoped could be
carried in syllables, a pink heaven, ants dancing
upon the tongue. This is the rot-sticky sweetness
that lies down against the skin, finest hairs stuck together,
the songs we collect in the hymnals of our flesh–
impromptu, a capella, our mouths flung open 
in a great wide O.

— from The Least of These by Todd Davis 2010

“Ursa whitmana,” is a reference to Walt Whitman, and by my lights, specifically Whitman’s Song of Myself which is a sprawling embrace of everything–an at times manic attempt to name it all. Like a bear hungry for whatever can be found and devoured. Here again is zest–a refusal to miss out on any of the beauty to be found — sticky sweetness in the trash and rainbows in the glistening oil slick included. 

Again, like yesterday, Davis leads us to the both/and. This world is sickening, and sweet, and sickeningly sweet, and sweetly sick, and sick of sweetness, and sweetening sickness, and just sick sometimes, and yet sweet.

Suggestions for action

Say “O.” Fling wide open your mouth to join in the a capella hymn. “O.” Just say it. Say it long enough for your eyes to land on something worthy of its sound. It doesn’t have to take long. Dig for reverence. You can find it in your face in the mirror, the fact that your weight is suspended securely on the second story of a building, or, best, that God loved you enough to wake you up this morning. Light up your world with this prayer: “O!”