Tag: grown ups (page 1 of 1)

Bonus Post! Only the Lover Sings

Are you familiar with Matthew Clark? I hope so! He’s a singer-songwriter from Mississippi who travels in his trusty van, Vandalf the White, and brings music and beauty with him wherever he goes.

But his work doesn’t begin and end with music. I first met him while editing an essay he contributed to J.R.R. Tolkien and the Arts, and again when he contributed a chapter to Wild Things & Castles in the Sky. Now he’s the mastermind behind Only the Lover Sings—an album of his own music, accompanied by an anthology of essays written by various authors who each respond to one of his songs.

Did you follow that? I barely did. Let’s see if I can say it more clearly. For the book Only the Lover Sings, Matthew recruited a handful of writers (such as Andrew Roycroft, Lanier Ivester, and more) and invited us to choose a song from his album to write about. Our assignment was not to analyze the song or interpret it, but to respond to it, each in our own way, and the result is a diverse but beautifully braided collection of essays that weave in and out of one another. Some are more scholarly; others are stories. All explore some aspect of the story of the woman at the well.

If you’d like to know more about Only the Lover Sings, I encourage you to listen to Matthew Clark’s podcast, One Thousand Words, where he invites each contributor to read a portion of their essay. You can find the podcast here, my episode here, and the book itself there.

A Nature Poem For Every Day of the Year

Earlier this year I shared the beautiful anthology of nature poetry for children, Sing a Song of Seasons. What happened shortly after was that I bought a beautiful anthology of nature poetry for my own, perched it in our dining room window where I’d see it every day, and set myself the loose goal of reading a poem whenever it crossed my mind.

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year, edited by Jane McMorland Hunter | Little Book, Big Story

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year features poems old and new, one for—wait for it—every day of the year. From E. Nesbit to Shakespeare, some are easy to follow and some invite us to reach beyond what feels comfortable. Some are excerpts from older, lengthier works like Paradise Lost or The Faerie Queen; many are single stanzas. But all are a glimpse of the sun as it peers over the horizon at dawn. As editor Jane McMorland Hunter writes in her introduction:

“Animals, birds, flowers, trees, the sea and the sky allow our imaginations to soar. This can only improve our lives.”

I would go further and say that animals, birds, flowers, trees the sea and the sky lift our eyes up to the Lord, maker of columbine and wild geese, cumulus clouds and cherry trees, and in him our imaginations soar. These poems remind me to lift my eyes from the page (or, alas, from the news feed on my phone) and remember the Lord who cares for sparrows and lilies and, more so, for us.

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year, edited by Jane McMorland Hunter | Little Book, Big Story

Whether you read a poem daily or weekly (or, as I do, sometimes one and sometimes the other); whether you read your poem seated at the table with you family, outside under a flowering plum tree, or (as I do) standing by the shelf where you store the book, pausing for a moment mid-stride, this is a book of wonder and beauty worth savoring. Though this anthology is intended for grown-ups, I haven’t seen anything in it that couldn’t be read as a family—and I do sometimes read a poem aloud to any nearby child who might be listening.

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year
Ed. Jane McMorland Hunter (2018)