In “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower,” William Carlos Williams says, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Every minute of every day an attack, sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, is made on the life of the spirit. To lose our connection with the spiritual is to die. Poetry can give us a primal connection to the spiritual waters we thought had disappeared or dried up beneath layers of asphalt, concrete, steel, and synthetics. We need to re-connect with our feelings and nature, revive our participation in community, and recover our sense of the sacred.
With its incantatory sounds and rhythms, illuminating images, and powerful vision, poetry can transport us to the world of spirit, tap the waters we thought we had lost, and help make us whole. I have spent the past thirty-seven years as a poet trying to connect with the three places that are my spiritual centers, the southern Indiana of my youth, the southern Germany of my ancestral past, and the Long Island of my adult life. Since returning to my native state several years ago, I have found that, for me, the deepest waters lie beneath land-locked Indiana. The more deeply I connect with my trinity of places, the more likely my poems can serve as a conduit for a reader who, like me, thirsts for the spiritual waters beneath the surface of contemporary life.
Originally appeared in SpinDrifter. © 2008 Norbert Krapf