Tag Archives: Christian Wiman

Think of the atoms inside.

EVERY RIVEN THING

God goes, belonging to every riven thing he’s made
sing his being simply by being
the thing it is:
stone and tree and sky,
man who sees and sings and wonders why

God goes. Belonging, to every riven thing he’s made,
means a storm of peace.
Think of the atoms inside the stone.
Think of the man who sits alone
trying to will himself into a stillness where

God goes belonging. To every riven thing he’s made
there is given one shade
shaped exactly to the thing itself:
under the tree a darker tree;
under the man the only man to see

God goes belonging to every riven thing. He’s made
the things that bring him near,
made the mind that makes him go.
A part of what man knows,
apart from what man knows,

God goes belonging to every riven thing he’s made.

Christian Wiman

Yesterday evening I was rear-ended a few blocks from my house, while my car and I were waiting for a light to turn. I was startled and confused and heard myself cry out — all that probably took a few seconds. My car lost a little paint, and complaints emanated from my spine, but when I got home I took a short walk to loosen up, and talked to insurance companies, and seemed to have a fairly normal evening. This morning I talked to a doctor who warned me that in addition to slight soft-tissue damage I probably have “emotional bruising” and should be mindful of that. I do feel a bit shaky, which surprises me.

I am grateful for the advice, and am trying to rest, and to seek God’s comfort. I thought I would read poetry, and I found this poem that gives me light and focus. God goes… and He comes to the atoms of my traumatized body and associated emotions. Thank You, Lord!

From a Window

From a Window

Incurable and unbelieving
in any truth but the truth of grieving,

I saw a tree inside a tree
rise kaleidoscopically

as if the leaves had livelier ghosts.
I pressed my face as close

to the pane as I could get
to watch that fitful, fluent spirit

that seemed a single being undefined
or countless beings of one mind

haul its strange cohesion
beyond the limits of my vision

over the house heavenwards.
Of course I knew those leaves were birds.

Of course that old tree stood
exactly as it had and would

(but why should it seem fuller now?)
and though a man’s mind might endow

even a tree with some excess
of life to which a man seems witness,

that life is not the life of men.
And that is where the joy came in.

–Christian Wiman

tree-flock-birds_David Biggs
Photo by David Biggs