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Oasis Poetry

Oasis Poetry

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1. Quiet yourself and imagine dropping
down into the dark abundant well of your
soul. Take a few moments to feel that deep place and become aware of God's presence there.

2. Silently read the poem completely
through once.

3. Read the poem out loud.

4. Slowly read the poem again silently,
savoring the phrases, the words, the feel,
the taste of it.

5. On a blank piece of paper or on a page in your journal, complete the following:

a. The first image that arose in me as I read this poem was...

b. My immediate feelings after reading this poem are...

c. The reality that has been unearthed for me by reading this poem is...

d. If I were to paint a picture about this poem I would include my work of art...

e. If I were to add a line of my own somewhere in this poem it would be...

6. Read the poem out loud again, but this time as a prayer to God.

7. Sit in silence to see if God has a response to make to you.

8. End with your own prayer or poem of thanksgiving.

by R.T. Smith

"I'll get it directly," she'd say, meaning

soon, meaning, when I can, meaning, not

yet, be patient, the world don't turn upon

your every need and whim
. Or "the dogs

will be back home directly, I reckon,"

"the preacher will be finished," "your daddy

will see to you," "supper will be laid out"--

all "directly," which never meant the straight

line between two surveyor's points

an arrow's flight, but rather, by the curve,

the indirect, the arc of life and breath

and she was right, and when she passed

or was passing, I could not say which,

in a patchwork quilt, the makeshift room,

the sweet hymn notes sung neighborly

across the hall, she whispered, "Learn to tell

what needs doing quick as a bluesnake

and what will take the slow way, full

of care and mulling, be fair in every

dealing with beasts and people and all

else alive, and surely, my dear, He will

come for you in His good time, the way

He comes for all of us, directly."

Copyright ©2003 R.T. Smith. Original publication in the
Oxford American
, July/August 2003.

R. T. Smith edits SHENANDOAH for Washington and Lee University. His books include Messenger (LSU), The Hollow Log Lounge (Illinois) and Brightwood, which includes "Directly" and will be published by LSU later this year.


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