Letters to a Poet – a poem by Martin Willets Jr

Letters to a Poet

(With lines, in italics, from Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Book of Hours)
For Wally Swist


The Creator is not contingent upon us.
The whole universe awakened
when the Creator spoke a single word.

All of creation is the Creator’s inexhaustible fulfillment
of continuous making
and unmaking.

Right now, we are being worked upon —
cells dying and being replaced.
We are coaxed into changing,
and we cannot escape or prevent the changes.

In the book of our hours,
we are being written, revised
The music of our lives sing us forward.
We cannot control any of this.
My senses tremble.

My vision is ripe for seeing. My third eye is aware,
even in the blinding light that is the Creator.

I shall not fear darkness.
Although my days grow shorter

into the long shadow of my own winter,
I find ambient light.

I have been touched by death,
and I have been allowed to walk into another day.
I have no fear of whatever is ahead.

I am at peace where I have been
and where I am going. Although I cannot see
what is ahead, like before turning sheet music
to see the rest of the composition,

the universe and I have grown together.
The Creator’s music is my music;
my story is part of the Creator’s story —
and now, I’m being spoken into life.

Martin Willitts Jr is a Quaker poet. He has over 20 full-length collections including How to Be Silent (FutureCycle Press, 2016); Unfolding of Love (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2020); and forthcoming Leaving Nothing Behind (Fernwood Press, 2022). He is an editor for The Comstock Review.

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