Monday, January 9, 2012

No Cover

The announcement in the paper said, “No cover,” for the Live Poets Society meeting. Where does that strange phrase come from? Of course it means no charge to get into the event. Then again, who pays to hear poets read their work, except perhaps other poets?

I have been thinking today about the phrase, “No cover,” in relation to my poetry. I think it might work as the title for the poem I’ve been contemplating about the upcoming medical mission trip to Nicaragua. Poets at their best write with no cover—like those faithful members of the Live Poets Society, who lay their hearts out for all to see at our monthly meetings. I will be going to Nicaragua with no cover, as a poet, to a land which, like Ireland, reveres poets as national treasures.

For the trip to Nicaragua I will leave behind my normal cover and go into a place well beyond my comfort zone—no iPhone; no jewelry, not even my wedding rings and my grandmother’s engagement ring and tiny gold cross; no makeup (not that I wear much these days!); no blue jeans, but scrubs like nurses wear; no familiar food and drink, but gallo pinto (aka rice and red beans) three meals a day; no familiar surroundings and people, only strangers who speak Spanish, which I am expected to help translate.

If I can capture in a poem the sense that I am about to step into another universe, stripped of my usual cover, perhaps I can also capture why I go on these trips that are so far out of my norm. It is because on each prior mission trip, I have met Christ in a different incarnation. Stepping outside my comfort zone with no cover was the basic requirement for those experiences.

Grace and Peace,

Donna Sue

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