"The Creation of the World and the Expulsion from Paradise" by Giovanni di Paolo‘Back to The Beginning’ by Mike Bryant The Society June 10, 2021 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 43 Comments . “I want answers. I want all the words the poem whispers to be made flesh, to sit opposite me, and to shout out the reason for our existence…” —Susan Jarvis Bryant on Daniel Kemper’s poem He who is, and always was, spoke light And made our tiny place. That light, His clay, He fashioned into width and depth and height, And earth and water, us, and night and day. And every part of every thing; of space And flesh and stars and time, are all the same— A single thing—His words pronounced with grace. And He, I Am, calls out to all by name. Whatever was and is must answer Him By being just what they were made to be. No, we were not created on a whim, But in His image, and by His decree. Creation He’s bequeathed to every voice. Our words can build or raze, can curse or praise, And every utterance is by our choice— To mutter sheepishly or else to blaze. . . Mike Bryant is a poet and retired plumber living on the Gulf Coast of Texas. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 43 Responses Julian D. Woodruff June 10, 2021 Masterful, and very important without any self-importance. I wish all English speakers could read this. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 That’s a great compliment… Thanks, Julian. Reply TONIA KALOURIA June 10, 2021 Eloquent insight. And a reminder to stand up. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 Thank you, Tonia. That was my intent… to use our gifts to good ends. Reply BRIAN YAPKO June 10, 2021 Mike, I really enjoyed this poem. I especially like the understated yoking together of the cosmic and the mundane with “…us, and night and day” and similarly “… of space/ and flesh…” The theological message is abundantly clear: our existence is not a trivial one. Even more, I like the assertive way you describe our relationship with our Creator and the challenge we face to either assertively live up to our roles in His creation or to hide in obscurity, that we must take responsibility for the voices we have been given since they can make a real difference either for good or for evil. I read your wonderful poem as a very clear message to “step up to the plate” and be our best selves since we answer to a higher authority. Well done. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 Brian, you always manage to spot all the deeper meanings beneath the obvious. These ideas about words and voice and creation are always knocking around in this blue-collar noggin. I think that most of us have no idea of the power of our words. It was words that brought my Susan to Texas… to me. Thanks so much. Reply jd June 10, 2021 There is no doubt this poem “blazes” and fulfills the quote which introduces it. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 Johanna, thanks for your compliment and insight. I couldn’t let Susan’s words disappear without addressing them. Reply Peg June 10, 2021 Amen. Thank You, Father Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 Thanks, Peg and God bless. Reply Lucia Haase June 10, 2021 Beautiful Mike. I love it! Very moving and stirring. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 It was from the heart… thanks, Lucia. Reply Gail June 10, 2021 Very encouraging. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 I’m so glad you found it encouraging. Thanks, Gail. Reply Sally Cook June 10, 2021 Mike – To the core of it! Thank you for linking what most of us think; everything that makes us sing comes from our beginning. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 Sally, as ever, you get right into my head… thanks. It might be a sea turtle thing.. Reply Sally Cook June 10, 2021 Silly me, and here I was thinking that Susan had removed every last straw from your sea turtle snout ! As the spouse of a former ST, I must say sea turtles are really something !! David Paul Behrens June 10, 2021 I believe God is beyond our comprehension, but this came close. An interesting concept for a poem. I like it. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 Thanks David. How can anyone understand a Creator that lives outside of time? I’m glad you think I came close. Reply Jeff Eardley June 10, 2021 Mike, a most thoughtful and spiritual piece and a delight to read. The words flow like a good hymn. Thank you. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 No, thank YOU Jeff. I appreciate your compliment very much because you, like Julian, are a musician. I haven’t played any instruments or sung since I was about eighteen, but I’m sure those hours have left a bit of music in me. Reply Cynthia Erlandson June 10, 2021 This is exquisite! It takes a lot of talent to come up to the level of the beautiful epigraph (by a famous poet!) on which you based this poem — and I think you’ve done it. What a dynamic duo you two are! Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 Thanks so much Cynthia. It’s a great gift to have a partner who shares your love of words. I have a feeling that you and Paul have a similar dynamic at work… and play. Reply Cynthia Erlandson June 11, 2021 Yes, we do! We love word-play! Joe Tessitore June 10, 2021 This is a very beautiful poem, Mike – clearly, from your heart. Reply Mike Bryant June 10, 2021 Thanks, Joe. This one almost wrote itself. Reply Joseph S. Salemi June 11, 2021 The last two lines are especially brilliant: “And every utterance is by our choice — To mutter sheepishly or else to blaze.” It is no easy task to write a good poem about the link between the Source of Existence and human language Reply James Sale June 11, 2021 I agree Joe – those last two lines especially are very fine. Reply Mike Bryant June 11, 2021 Thanks, James. I loved the poetry reading. You set a high bar. I guess you know that you must include a performance in every event going forward. Maybe Byron is up for an encore. I’ll see if Susan will break out the tiara and feather boa! James Sale June 15, 2021 Yes, Mike – we need more encores – let’s see what we can do! Thanks. Mike Bryant June 11, 2021 Thanks, Joe. I’ve written several on this theme. This poem came directly from Susan’s question. Susan was working on a poem about it… but I got there first! Reply Jeff Kemper June 11, 2021 I agree with all previous comments on this thought-provoking poem. I especially liked the final stanza, and even more especially, line two: “Our words can build or raze, can curse or praise.” Yahweh God, the I Am, is indeed beyond our capability to comprehend, . . . except what he has revealed to us about himself, the world, and mankind. For that revelation I am deeply thankful. Reply Mike Bryant June 12, 2021 Thanks, Jeff. I know you teach the Bible, and of course the insights in this poem are Biblical. Susan’s question is beautiful and universal. Reply David Watt June 12, 2021 Mirroring some of your words, this poem with a clear and uplifting message wasn’t ‘created on a whim’. It shows that you put thought and feeling into each successive line. Reply Mike Bryant June 12, 2021 Thanks, David, no one can set a story to verse better than you can. I really appreciate your comment. Reply Yael June 13, 2021 This is a great poem, I love it! I really enjoy how the poem starts out with physical aspects of Creation and moves on to the voice and words at the end. It honors our Creator and Redeemer and the Word of God. I believe He may be smiling brightly as His face shines upon you. Reply Mike Bryant June 13, 2021 Thanks, Yael. With all the blessings I enjoy, I’d be crazy if I didn’t feel that sunshine. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant June 13, 2021 Mike, I have answers – beautiful, poetic answers that shout out the reason for our existence, and for that I thank you. Answering my question in poetry was no easy task, but you have managed to make it look effortless… the hallmark of a talented poet. I’m impressed. Reply Mike Bryant June 13, 2021 Thank you, Susan for your lovely comment. As long as you have questions I will always do my best to answer them. I just noticed your most recent poem. It is truly profound, however you do know that National Cliche Day isn’t until November 3rd, right? Reply Margaret Coats June 13, 2021 Yael came close to what I observe about this splendid poem. Clearly it has the Biblical account in its background, but does a creative re-telling in order to give the human voice its own special place in Mike Bryant’s story of Creation. Thank God for the inspiration and thank you for the poem! Reply Mike Bryant June 14, 2021 Thanks, Margaret, and, you’re welcome. The poem was definitely inspired, by Susan, and of course the scriptures. As we were made in God’s image it’s no stretch to appreciate the power we have in our voices. This poem did seem to write itself. I wrote three verses in less than an hour. Susan said I needed another between the second and third. I slept on it and the next day it took about twenty minutes to write the new third verse. Thanks. Reply C.B. Anderson June 20, 2021 In a way, Mike, after this there is nothing left to say. You’ve made things very clear, and little, if anything, needs to be added. Reply Mike Bryant June 20, 2021 C.B. that’s just the first chapter of the Bible, but I agree, I’ll stop at that one. Thanks. Reply Leave a Reply to David Watt Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.