Just Thinking: “The Poetry of Earth”
Posted by Danielle DuRant on September 1, 2017
A Note from the Editor, Danielle DuRant
In his poem “On the Grasshopper and Cricket,” John Keats waxes,
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead
The shade of “cooling trees” and the barefoot lush of new-mown grass draw me inexorably outside in summer, even in the high noon of “Hotlanta.” There’s a certain steadiness in this season: school break, longer days, the expectation of vacation, fresh peaches, tomatoes, and corn at roadside stands.
Then again, summer sings of such surprises! A spontaneous trip to the shore, a serendipitous celebration, a side trip for ice cream!
In the Just Thinking essays that follow, a neighbor’s simple gift turns Margaret Manning Shull from a garden observer to an avid gardener. A book from his parents, now tattered and worn, inscribes its words upon Aniu Kevichusa, whereas a book from a garbage pile introduces Ravi Zacharias to a world unimaginable. As Ravi observes in this final 25th anniversary issue, “I am persuaded that God alone, the Grand Weaver, knows our future and knits our lives…. Only God’s grace could have brought about this new life…. There simply was no other explanation.”
Alas, the brightness of summer inevitably gives way to autumn and winter. Yet, this constant remains, says Keats: the song of the grasshopper in “the hot sun” and the cricket “on a lone winter evening.” With each passing season, “The poetry of earth is ceasing never.”
“The grass withers and the flowers fall,” Scripture declares, “but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8). With each passing season, this confidence remains for those who know God:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.