A Poet’s Epiphany

By Donna Ward

A poem is an epiphany in words, a journal note in the soul’s high adventure, a gem cut brillante so all life’s glory gleams through. In days filled with lists, and jobs, and deadlines we forget we are part of something intriguing and mysterious. Epiphanies remind us.

Epiphanies occur when we are not really doing anything, or thinking anything in particular—moments when the mind is quiet, free of lists and jobs and deadlines, though those lists and jobs and deadlines remain. They come when we’re driving to pick up the children after school, when we’re hanging out the washing, or polishing the car. And they almost always come when we are in our own little bubble, though the world might be surging on around us. An epiphany always happens when we are alone, when our god has the chance to appear. An epiphany is a showing of the divine.

And when epiphanies come, they wrap themselves around us and we are opened to something we never knew before. When they go the mundane world closes over as if nothing every happened, as if we were not privy to the workings of the universe, as if we never witnessed the divine. But we never forget what happened, it is held in the cells of our memory and told around mahogany tables sipping wine in firelight, or twenty-first birthday parties to the rapture of streamers and whistles, or at christenings and naming ceremonies and wakes. Epiphanies gift us our own unique wisdom, wisdom we share with those we love.

I must admit that since I’ve been hanging around poets I’ve discovered they have more epiphanies than most, and when a poet has an epiphany very soon after they have to stop everything and write a poem. As one who is merely witness to such creative events, it seems to me the epiphany has lodged within them like a grain of sand and irritates until it is pearlescent with image and must out.

One such epiphany occurred to Australian Love Poet, Gregory Day when he went to a wedding in a town on the coast of southern Victoria. Perhaps it was the weather, or the love between the bride and groom, or the love the poet had for the betrothed that parted the veil for Gregory that day. Whatever it was, he stood, just for a moment, in the fullness of life, death and everything and on the way to the reception Gregory’s pearl was ready. He had to stop the car by the edge of that great road, with the wet mountain rock on one side and the great blue ocean on the other and write that poem before going to the celebration where he read it. The poem,


‘Epithalamion’ (a lyric or ode in honour of a bride and bridegroom) now appears within the pages of Australian Love Poems 2013, edited by Mark Tredinnick.

Stay tuned to the blog to hear more about poetry from Mark Tredinnick in the lead up to his special workshop, Throwing Soft Bombs.
Donna Ward is a publisher with Inkerman & Blunt who have just published Australian Love Poems 2013, edited by Mark Tredinnick, which will be launched at SAWC next week.

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