What the Body Knows
Maybe it’s the ocean’s rhythmic tug
that helps me sleep, my body’s own
surge remembering its deepest pulse.
Think of those Celtic monks who
scaled the slippery rocks carrying
vellum and inks while the sea broke
and battered beneath them. High
in a crevice, a hidden stone hut
with cot and candle. The scribe
dips and swirls his quill to preserve
the story—Luke’s genealogy,
name after name, letters shaped
like birds in every color, a flight
of messengers released into history.
Each word unfurls the promise,
like Gabriel kneeling. The body
knows that wings, like waves,
can break through walls and enter,
that the secret of the story
is love, that even as we sleep,
its tides carry us in a wild safety.
—Jean Janzen, a poet living in Fresno, California, is the author of six previous collections of poetry who has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and other awards. A graduate of Fresno Pacific University and California State University of Fresno, she has taught at Fresno Pacific and Eastern Mennonite University. Janzen is author of What the Body Knows, from which this poem is excerpted (DreamSeeker Books/Cascadia, 2015, used by permission of publisher and author).
Editor’s note: Kingsview & Co guest posts will often not be intended to integrate directly with the flow of prior and future posts, and certainly this haunting poem can stand alone in its telling of the story’s secret. However, it’s also offered here in awareness that it joins the flow of “Blogging Toward Kansas City 2015” and the yearnings of so many of us, amid tumult in church and culture, to experience “that the secret of the story / is love, that even as we sleep, / its tides carry us in a wild safety.”