Writing your identity
I have only in recent years thought about writing poetry that identifies me as a Mormon. I always stayed away from writing about anything religious. I don’t really know why, except maybe it was too hard to express without sounding trite, especially with my limited writing experience. Or maybe because I hadn’t come to terms yet with my identity as a Mormon. Well, I still don’t know if I have come to terms with that identity, or if I ever will. But I am learning to appreciate certain parts of the Mormon culture that brought me up. And so, I am embarking on writing about it–and have a certain enthusiasm pulling me in that direction. What I would like to know is how you Mormon writers out there started writing about your Mormon-ness, if you do. Did you always incorporate it, and if not, what made you decide to?
This poem was probably my first that dealt with anything Mormon, though you wouldn’t know it except that I’m telling you. I was trying to write something about the Holy Ghost. Feel free to question, comment, or criticize.
The Big Calm
Is like having the privilege of catching the bird
that sits in my artificial tree outside the glass door.
This is the one that’s been making
all those deep-throated, light-noted chortles
at 3 am when I wake and usually
go right back to sleep.
And having caught him with my eye
through the glass I see his effort
put into sound–
much more muscle movement and strain
proportionately and passionately
than an opera singer puts into her aria–
shaking his entire tiny frame
and his notes
no longer feel the same,
this is the perception of something still small:
I know truth.
And I go back to sleep.
And a bird,
real this time,
knocks on the glass door.