Graduation Celebration

An honors program student gave his presentation comparing two theologians’ understanding and explication of LOVE.  The student offered a powerful, moving Prezi that inspired this poem.  I remembered the student as a freshman and now a graduating senior.

In this poems, I continue to chase the brilliance of one of my favorite poets, the late Lucille Clifton.  I think it may be of note that one of the scholar’s books was titled Four Loves.

 

Five Loves

One boy handed Jesus five loaves
. . .he threw in the fish for good measure
Jesus regifted the entire offering

Today you stand with Soren in one hand
C.S. in the other and break their bread
all while keeping God in the center

Your flock sits in groups of fives and tens
but I notice a shepherd, feeding his tender ones
encouraging and strengthening love

This feast lasts forty minutes
six sheep are full, one needs a break, but
the rest are filling to satisfaction

As we stand to leave, shake your hand
offer congratulations, I trust for
baskets that never quite empty

— Todd Sukany 4 Dec 2012

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One Response to Graduation Celebration

  1. editor says:

    Pat…I am having difficulty finding your post on this poem. I have reconstructed my response though. Hopefully, I will find your post and repost it. Thanks again…Todd

    ‘Hey Pat…I did have a GREAT time in LR. Lauren is UBER-talented. Her pieces are up in the gallery on campus until the 19th of this month, through graduation. We are indeed going to be a full house for the holidays. It will be warm and wonderful.

    Five Loves
    (I was hoping to match five loves with(in) five stanzas. I was adding my love for my student to the Four Loves of C.S. Lewis’ book, bringing the total to five. The student’s Honors Capstone project was to read Kierkegaard and Lewis and discuss their treatment of love.)

    One boy handed Jesus five loaves
    . . .he threw in the fish for good measure
    Jesus regifted the entire offering

    (I wanted to use the backdrop of scripture to be the concrete experience for the abstract experience I had watching the presentation. I think it is fun that Jesus was given an item and then turned around to give that away…multiplied, of course. I was also playing with the sounds of loaves and loves as I did in the title.)

    Today you stand with Soren in one hand
    C.S. in the other and break their bread
    all while keeping God in the center

    (Since the student had become a master of K and L, he was able to “break their bread,” share their love insights, as gifts to us. I think there is an allusion to communion as a love feast here and Jesus certainly shared bread (and fish) as a picture of a communion to come at the Last Supper. One of the tenets the student shared was how the authors suggest that God is in the center of all real and healthy relationships. He described it as man–God–man. As man relates to God, he relates to others. I wanted to picture how the student was able to hold a book of brilliance (L and K) in his hands as he summarized hours of study and integration of faith and discipline. I was impressed by the student’s ability to present the gospel in a very matter of fact way and not be preachy. I was moved by the transparency of his gospel message.)

    Your flock sits in groups of fives and tens
    but I notice a shepherd, feeding his tender ones
    encouraging and strengthening love

    (This is where I begin to blur lines between the student and Jesus, going back to stanza one. Jesus specifically had the people sit in numbered groups. I make allusion to that. There were maybe fifty (I am not good with numbers or guessing crowd size) in attendance for the student’s presentation. Those people gathered themselves into smaller groups, but very few sat alone as individuals. I saw, in the student, a pastor shepherding his little flock. He loved each one and cared deeply for them (the student said please after every invitation to move to the next Prezi slide of his talk). I wanted the reader to sense ambiguity, Who is the shepherd…Jesus or the student? Since the L and K books were about love, I get dual references as the student shares their views of love and the student was encouraging all of us to apply that same love to those around us in our sphere of influence.)

    This feast lasts forty minutes
    six sheep are full, one needs a break, but
    the rest are filling to satisfaction

    (The student’s presentation lasted nearly an hour, including question-and-answer. I am making observations of his flock in this stanza. I am trying to add the specific details that support the realia of my experience. I am also alluding back to the scripture since all the people ate until they had had enough. I had fun in this stanza)

    As we stand to leave, shake your hand
    offer congratulations, I trust for
    baskets that never quite empty

    (I blur the lines again as I return to the disciples and the scripture. Jesus had his disciples collect twelve baskets full of the remnants of the feast. I wanted to leave the student with a blessing, as he has been to me. I wanted to believe that his love experience would never end, his baskets would always be filled, and others would always be able to feast on that fresh bread.)

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