Originally printed as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel
When America's poet laureate, Stanley Kunitz, wakes up in the morning, he doesn't think first about his beloved garden in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Or about his ninety-five-year perspective on the twentieth century. No, he thinks first about being a poet. "I don't wake up as a nonagenarian," he says. "I wake up as a poet. I think that's a big difference" (The Boston Globe, August 27, 2000).
And what does being a poet mean to Stanley Kunitz? It means, as he explains in his poem "The Layers," holding to the "principle of being." In his book, "Passing Through," Kunitz describes poetry as "a form of spiritual testimony"; each poem is "a blessing." And the poet is someone who's ready "to convert the dailyness of the life into something greater than that little life itself."
Well, if being a poet has to do with "principle," "blessing," and transforming daily life into something better than the humdrum - even investing it with a touch of the sacred - then maybe we're all poets deep down. Maybe we all wake up as poets in the morning.
We don't all compose verse, of course. But we are all connected to the divine Principle of life, the great Mind of the universe that all creativity comes from. Every good idea for a poem, novel, movie script, speech - or even an "I love you" note on the refrigerator - comes from this Mind, which many people call God. And the more intimately you and I stay in touch with this Mind, the more vibrancy, beauty, soulfulness, and originality we bring to life. The more we hallow everything we say and do.
But we're not just conduits for God's communication. We are God's communication. He's our creator, and we're His creation. He's our author, and we're what He has "written." And yes, God is the great "Poet," and we're His "poem." We articulate His glory, beauty, rhythm, perfectness - endlessly.