However familiar we are with the lyrics of Carrie Newcomer’s songs, a poet is a poet is a poet, and her written verse stands admirably well all by itself, unaccompanied by a single note. Carrie has proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt in her latest collection of poetry, Until Now: New Poems. Ever earthy and grounded in the marrow of life, this sheaf of poems leads us toward an understated faith, traveling among unknown places, unresolved questions, and insistent pathways of love and justice.
Though not explicitly liminal by name, the themes in this slender collection nevertheless tread liminal spaces. One poem named for what it describes, “Liminality,” nudges the reader toward the margins, the edges, and necessary passages, even those barely detected in the peripheral vision. It will soon make yet another appearance in the Foreword of the forthcoming anthology, The Liminal Loop: Astonishing Stories of Discovery and Hope (The Lutterworth Press, 2021):
So much of what we know
Lives just below the surface.
Half of a tree
Spreads out beneath our feet.
Living simultaneously in two worlds,
Each half informing and nurturing
A tree is either and neither
But mostly both.
I am drawn to liminal spaces,
The half-tamed and unruly patch
Where the forest gives way
And my little garden begins.
Where water, air, and light overlap
Becoming mist on the morning pond.
I like to sit on my porch steps, barn jacket and boots
In the last long exhale of the day,
When bats and birds loop in and then out,
One rising to work,
One readying for sleep.
And although the full moon calls the currents,
And the dark moon reminds me
That my best language
Has always emerged out of the silence,
It is in the waxing and waning
Where I most often live,
Neither here nor there,
On the way.
There are endings and beginnings
One emerging out of the other.
But most days I travel in an ever present
And curious now.
A betwixt and between,
That is almost,
But not quite,
But not yet.
I’ve been learning to live with what is,
More patient with the process,
To love what is becoming,
And the questions that keep returning.
I am learning to trust
The horizon I walk toward
Is an orientation,
Not a destination.
And that I will keep catching glimpses
Of something great and luminous
From the corner of my eye.
I am learning to live where loss holds fast
And where grief lets loose and unravels.
Where a new kind of knowing can pick up the thread.
Where I can slide palms with a paradox
And nod at the dawn,
As the shadows pull back
And spirit meets bone.