Two poems, ‘This is My Body,’ and ‘Gifted,’ by Cat Connolly, with a reflection on playfully tracing lines between God and humanity through words.
Illustration: ‘Wings’ by Matthew Colclough.
My understanding of what it means to be artistic has been stretched in the last couple of years. For a long time I inwardly mourned my own lack of ability when it comes to painting, drawing, crafting, and all related subjects.
However, I was prompted a while ago to start writing, and to think of writing as being an art form. Perhaps this is obvious to some. For me it was bizarrely revolutionary.
And I love words. I love that emotions and images unique to each person can be conjured as the reader is taken by the hand and linguistically twirled. I love the beauty and flow of language captured on a page. I love the ambiguity and power that can coexist in simple communication.
So now, gently encouraged, I write. Not often, not much, and not with the dexterity of an acclaimed wordsmith. But it has become for me a way of being, journaling marbled with prayer and wonder, self-reflection and creativity tentatively combined.
It has become something vulnerable, but also bold. A small step of playful bravery. Musings between myself and God. And somehow, this encapsulates the way I have come to think of art.
This is My Body
A moment of curious holiness.
Juxtaposition of beauty and brokenness.
As the melody of the Agnus Dei surrounds my soul with calm, the wafer is cracked.
A sharp cut of sound against a softness of voices.
And as we sing to the Lamb, the altar again bears the weight of outpoured love,
so that each can receive to themselves.
Wonderment surrounds the indwelling of God.
So violently torn asunder,
the broken reaches out and offers restoration
‘Are those wings?’ you ask, looking over my shoulder.
‘What?’ Caught off guard the question surprises me. Someone asked me that once before, a long time ago. ‘I dream of flying sometimes, but I don’t have wings!’ I laugh.
Your smile is quizzical, as if you don’t quite believe me.
Later, I wonder. What is that other people see? I am quite ordinary and unremarkable. Only the gifted people have wings.
I dream it again that night – the gentle whisper of wind, the graceful dancing beneath the stars, the music carrying my bare feet – only, my feet aren’t on the ground.
When I wake I turn in the mirror. Is that a glimpse, a glimmer of something? But it can’t be, I tell myself. It’s not possible.
Time passes by. I see you again, and now, finally, I ask the question.
‘What makes someone gifted?’
This time your smile is kind. ‘They believe’, you reply.
My favourite place in the world is a roof garden by the river, where fairy lights twinkle in the overhead branches. It is quiet, and peaceful. Eventually I am alone in the twilight. The calm serenity falls like a mist around me and all seems content, full of wonder, perfect.
I take a breath and step out into the evening air.
My wings are beautiful.