Ears of the Heart: Daily Dose of Art and Poetry

Ears of the Heart: Daily Dose of Art and Poetry

Vision of St. Benedict by  Giovanni del Biondo
Vision of St. Benedict by Giovanni del Biondo

Ears of the Heart

by Robert Cording

St. Benedict said, Listen with the ears of your heart.

And so I try to remember what was once heard
in the practice of the heart’s listening:
the surprise of a robin’s common song

when I was ready to hear it. And wind saying itself
in the tulip leaves outside my childhood window.

So many times I’ve needed to learn again
what I am always forgetting—
that each thing has its own pitch and vibration and rings
with the exactness of a bell.

Like the sounds rain makes so differently
filling a tin cup or waterfalling leaf by leaf through
the understories of a forest.

And there’s my mother’s voice calling
me home for supper and, later, saying goodbye.

When I am dying to the world will the ears of my heart hear—

in a hospital room’s trickle of sad laughter,
in the sitcom leaking down
from the television, in the doctor’s voice calling my name
when no one is sure I am still listening—

the voice of my beloved moving like light
at the beginning of each day,

speaking in words I have heard but never clearly enough
to write down, saying everything I could never say?

+ + +

Thanks to Elizabeth Scalia for pointing me to this lovely painting of St Benedict. I had a hunch she’d be able to point me to just the right picture, and she was.

I don’t remember how I stumbled across Robert Cording; but I love his poetry. It is full of these luminous moments, threaded through with faith, and features many birds. I suspect if I’m able to keep up with my poem a day regimen, you’ll be seeing his name pop up here again.

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    • Isn’t it though? I can’t remember just this moment which friend I tagged with Robert Cording, I think it was Katherine Stroud. Anyway, they posted it and I needed to repost because I need to read it a few hundred more times. I think I need to pull some of his poems off the shelf and post more here.