One of the joys of writing is making friends with readers, and one of my reader friends is Tony Stoneburner. Tony has read much of what I've published and has given me the generous - generous! - gift of writing me notes of response. And he doesn't just say things like, "I really liked your piece on...", as wonderful as that kind of note is. Instead, he points to specific lines and paragraphs and uses them as a springboard for his own thoughts, such that it's obvious he has entered into a conversation with what he has read.
Tony is more than a reader. Dr. Stoneburner is also a writer. A poet. A former minister and former English professor. When he recently sent me several pages of response to Finding Livelihood, he also sent me a book of his poetry: Gatherings and Aftermaths.
Here, with his permission, is the poem that starts the book. I'm so pleased to share it with you.
If Mary had not heard, had heard
but had not listened,
had understood but not stood
still, had not consented,
had been scared
and scurried from the garden
where he glistened
into the dark house or the dark wood,
worried because the Word he hinted
uneasily within the ear; if she had erred
and had permitted heart to harden
when, like frostenameled ground, air glinted,
the Word would have been only sound.
– Tony Stoneburner, Gatherings & Aftermaths
Isn't that lovely?
[Photo: taken of palm branches against a blue sky. Enough said.]