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Stephen R. Clark | The Godtouch

My dad always teasingly called it "poultry."

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That's kind of the attitude I had toward it when I was a kid, too. Poetry didn't seem to be much good for anything. But as I grew up and in deeper love with words, things shifted.

I don't remember the first time it happened, but I always know now when it does. It's what I call that poetry magic thing. The poem touches something inside your head or your heart, sends a shiver to your liver, and makes you say "Whoa" out loud in a soft spoken-to-yourself whisper.

Ever have one of those moments? That's what poetry is all about. Poems are condensed and distilled chunks of reality, boiled down to their most intense essence.

When you pour yourself into a poem, it's like when you pour water on one of those dried sponge toys -- the little blue blob suddenly expands into a giant dinosaur or whatever. A good poem does that sort of thing in your head, expanding your insight and broadening your emotional sensitivities.

A way long time ago, my interest in poetry was first piqued by the likes of Rod McKuen and Kahlil Gibran. That interest was augmented by the music of Simon and Garfunkel, the Doors, Tim Hardin, Leonard Cohen, and others.

Fortunately, I had an English teacher in high school who nudged me toward more serious material on the poetry side of things. I started digging into e e cummings (not just the cute stuff), Robert Frost, John Leax, Carl Sandburg, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, and others. Later in college, another teacher of English immersed me in Milton, Donne, and the more great older English poets.

My favorite poet is James Dickey. He died a few years ago. He was the author of Deliverance and even had a role in the
 

movie that was based on his novel. I always experience that poetry magic thing when I read his poems, especially "Fence Wire." It pulls you in and you see and feel everything as if you are in the poem.

Another poet that I really like and just recently discovered is Stephen Dunn, a Pulitzer winner.

All that's just to let you know that, while my poetry may not be as good as that of a Dickey or Dunn or whomever, I do know what good poetry is about.

When I write a poem, I try to write it well. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes flop miserably. You can read and decide for yourself which I've done with each of the poems in The Godtouch. My hope is that you'll find at least one that does that poetry magic thing to you.

NOTE: The poems posted here represent those published in the original small press edition. The new, revised, and expanded edition includes 37 additional, more recent poems.

Dedication Acknowledgements First Words (Foreword)
PART I • The Forgetting Season PART II • Christmas Poems
  1. The Forgetting Season

  2. Love & Wind & Innocence

  3. Thumbs & Pulses

  4. Withstanding the Storm

  5. Last Days

  6. Rounds

  7. Tangled in Time

  8. The Prankster: A Memorandum

  9. Afternoon, Fading

  10. Fear & Loafing

  11. Shut the Door Behind You

  1. Love Poem

  2. The Star

  3. The Shepherds

  4. The Angels

  5. The Nativity

  6. The Wisemen

  7. The Fool

  8. Prayer at Midwinter

  9. Watching Snow

  10. Winter, Snow & Cold

PART III • Seasonal Hell PART IV • Easter Poems
  1. Seasonal Hell

  2. Greeting & Confirmation

  3. Remodeling

  4. Backyards: Summer: Night

  5. Night Sketch: Heat & Rain

  6. Night as Child

  7. The Fear of God

  8. Advertising

  1. The Runner

  2. Christ Came Down, Arising

  3. The Betrayal

  4. The Shining

  5. The Taking

  6. The Point

  7. Wood To Flesh

  8. First Easter Morning

  9. Cleansing of the Temple

PART V • The Hunt PART VI • Leavings
  1. The Hunt

  2. God Even Gideon

  3. Relocation

  4. Dry Tinder Quenched

  5. Laughing Savior

  6. The Incoming

  7. Maintenance

  8. Hymn

  9. Praise

  10. Masonry

  1. Leavings

  2. Recovery

  3. Moment Of Always Meeting

  4. In Silence Singing

  5. A Step is not a Leap

  6. The Sickness

  7. The Godtouch

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