Tonia Peckover: Why Poetry?

In April, I began exploring the reason for poetry. I've invited a few guests to enter the conversation, to try and find the collective answer to the question, "why poetry?" (Read all "why poetry?" guest posts, here.) Today, I've asked Tonia Peckover to stop in and share her answer. Tonia has been writing a great deal of poetry at her place these days, and it is extraordinary. She is an amazing writer, a semi-vegetarian Oregonian, and an enthusiast of simple living. I hope you enjoy Tonia's words as much as I do. When you're finished reading, visit StudyInBrown for more of her poetry.


Why poetry?

Because maybe it happens to you: the small shimmer that puzzles at the corner of your eye. Ordinary day, the playground with your kids, or about to pull open the door to your house, and there it is: just a glint where you don't expect it. Enough to make you turn your head and search the lonely swing set, or the driveway, the hump of shadows near the alley, for the barely seen glimmer of movement, never there.

Poetry is the camera for capturing that.

Or perhaps you have one of those dazzling hours when your mind has hold of some oblique thought, an elusive idea that all at once took shape like a wreath at the end of some old timer's pipe, and frantic, you take your pen and try to give it words, hope somehow your pen will carve the shape of epiphany, or genius, and find instead it has scrawled down the memory of a wreath, now an egg, now a horseshoe, now a curve, now... gone.

Poetry is the language for writing that.

Or maybe you've faced a length of days like a chain of unanswerable questions, each one linked to another, unbreakable mystery, each one waking in you a terrible hunger for certainty, a thirst to know, a driving need to apprehend and solve, to label and catalog, to categorize and conquer, file away forever the shadowed places that persist.

Poetry is the rest from that.

Why poetry?

I have stopped for a moment because there is a glimmer at the corner of my eye, something bright and careful, like the scales of a minnow who just caught a shaft of the sun and slipped over to dive down deep, bringing with him into darkness a minuscule treasure, the barest sliver of another world, a tiny relic, like a shard of gilded pottery dug from the mud, a memory from an ancient earth, just a shimmer or a smoke ring, a question, to tell them there have been others who dreamed and swam high.

Good Links (The Welcome Wagon Edition)

Amber hopped a jet to the Caribbean last Thursday, though it's not like it sounds. She and a few friends hitched their wagons to the star that is Help One Now and made their way to Haiti for the week. It should come as no surprise to you that the boys (including this boy) get restless when Mama's away. She's brings balance to this house full of testosterone, and when she's away, things sort of go the way of the man. What is the way of the man? Let's just say that my boys have eaten more meat, imbibed more root beer, watched more action movies (appropriately rated, of course), have caught numerous fish, destroyed numerous household furnishings, and have irreparably clogged one toilet.

Yes we are well aware of our frailty, so when mama returned to save the day, the welcome wagon was ready to meet her. It went down as follows:

We're glad Amber's back.

With all my free time this week, what with raising four boys, work obligations, and a community gathering or two, rounding up good links was difficult. But such as I have, I give to you. Enjoy.


Late last year, I had an inkling that I needed to dive into the words of St. Francis. I put off said inkling, and instead chose to rip through three novels that were not spiritual and were certainly anything other than saintly. I digress. At the prompting of a friend, I picked up a copy of Francis and Clare: The Complete Works. Grammar aside, it's busting my chops.

Know well that in the sight of God there are certain matters which are very lofty and sublime which are sometimes considered worthless and inferior by people; while there are other things cherished and esteemed by people, which are considered worthless and inferior by God.

Grab a copy.


Tonia Peckover is one of my favorites. She's one of the rare pearls of the internet, and has been stretching her poetry across the screen these days. She posted this piece on the Rwandan genocide memorial. Warning: take a deep breath before reading.

It's Holy Week, the week Christianity commemorates the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Head on over to Deeper Story for John Blase's piece Happy Easter Chuck.

I've loved all the posts that have come from Haiti, but none more than those from Laura Tremaine. She's been honest with her misgivings and assumption. It been refreshing. She writes:

But how, then, were these children seeing us? As novelties? From the outside, did we look like poverty tourists? We had translators, but how can I know how we were actually presented? As the hours slipped by with children in my lap, it ceased to matter. The only person over-thinking this particular relationship between giver and receiver was me.


Mike Rusch has been taking photos of the unsung heroes, those whose names you will never know.

Of this photo, he writes:

You'll never know his name but he works with Haitian government to accept children into Ferrier Village that were rescued from Human Trafficking. The world needs more heroes like this.


Were you there?


Did you dig into The Oh Hello's 2012 album, Through the Deep, Dark Valley? If you missed this one, here's your chance:

Thanks for stopping in this week. See you soon.