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To See in a Deeper and Truer Way

Laura shares impressions and a favorite poem from this year's New York Encounter Poetry Contest

Vincent Van Gogh, Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background

I watched the New York Encounter Poetry Contest for the first time this year.

Why? Because it is more and more urgent to stay close to our charism in order to understand and be part of our times. This charism of Communion and Liberation is and has been for me the source of a reasonable gaze on reality, any reality. So, when it was suggested that we watch a poetry competition, I said: OK, this is the way Christ is calling me to know myself, the world, and to recognize more His Love for me and all humanity.

I am not educated in high-level poetry, but I look at poets as those geniuses who are able to explain what I cannot and what is real (as Father Giussani taught us).

I enjoyed the poetry contest because, with poets and poetry, I can see what is happening in our lives in a deeper and truer way. They see what I can't see--but they make me see it, too: colors, feelings, realities, faces, experiences.

The poems were harshly true.


by Andrew Lustig

I rise subdued by extra hours of sleep.

The morning rituals are slow to start.

To be the only company I keep

requires that I make solitude an art.

This virus unannounced has left the world

a cheerless chronicle without a plot,

a needlepoint we set aside unpurled,

a reckoning with all that we are not.

But it may be a beckoning to more

than all the busyness that came before,

a quiet voice, a coaxing at the core,

the opening of a long-neglected drawer

where we stored keepsakes for a day of need

or recompense, a time to take our heed.

Laura, Boyds, Maryland

Editor’s note: “Invitation” by Andrew Lustig was the first-prize-winning poem at this year’s contest. The other winning poems can be viewed on the New York Encounter website.


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