I have just checked Madeleine L’Engle’s The Weather of the Heart out from the library.
I thought I had borrowed another of her poetry collections (Lines Scribbled on the Back of an Envelope) last fall; but it must have been this one, unless many of the poems are the same. Even if it is the same book, there are many poems I didn’t read last year, due to laziness and due dates, including her seven poems “To a Long Loved Love.”
Much of her writing is dear to me, although I cannot claim to know her as intimately as I know Tolkien or Flannery O’Connor. On my shelf there sit A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet–after which that series got a little too weird for me. But the first book of hers I bought and read, at the recommendation of a friend, was Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.
Although her theology sometimes gets a little loopy, she is remarkably clear-sighted when it comes to an Incarnational view of art. She added an invaluable dimension to my relationship with writing, and it isn’t an exaggeration to say she was one of the people who convinced me to go to grad school.
To read her poetry is to come to know her, to see the world as she sees it–and I find she has a remarkable understanding of love.
To a Long Loved Love: 4
You are still new, my love. I do not know you,
Stranger beside me in the dark of bed,
Dreaming the dreams I cannot ever enter,
Eyes closed in that unknown, familiar head.
Who are you, who have thrust and entered
My very being, penetrated so that now
I can never again be wholly separate,
Bound by shared living to this unknown thou?
I do not know you, nor do you know me,
And yet we know each other in the way
Of our primordial forbears in the garden,
Adam knew Eve. As we do, so did they.
They, we, forever strangers: Austere but true.
And yet I would not change it. You are still new.