“Living the Chemical Life” by Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson


I have to admit that I don’t care about the historical Jesus.
One way or the other.
I’ve always thought there were larger forces at work.
The sun and the wind. The sadness that comes in the afternoon.
Did you know that our bones are only 10 years old?
No matter how old we are, it’s always the same.
Something to do with cells, I guess. With regeneration.
There are miracles like this all over the place,
in everybody’s bloodstream, and that’s alright with me.
Doris Day was once marooned on an island with another man.
Years went by and her husband, James Garner,
was about to marry another woman. Polly Bergen.
But then Doris came back and sang a lullaby to her kids,
then tucked them into bed. And they didn’t even know who she was.
I think that life is just like this.
Sometimes we are the stone and the Spirit is the river.
Sometimes we are the mountain and the Spirit is the rain.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


Chris Anderson: “I am an English Professor at Oregon State University, but I am also a Catholic deacon, and my poetry is one result of the free association and spontaneity of lectio divina, the kind of prayer I practice every morning. In lectio you leap, and in leaping poetry, of course, you leap, and what I love about that is how there’s this mystery, this other story you don’t really understand, bigger than your own, that somehow gets implied in the gaps and jumps. Maybe a poem like ‘Living the Chemical Life’ would seem irreverent to a believer, but for me it’s not at all. It’s joyous. It’s one way of letting the Spirit move.” (web)

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