It is difficult to predict how people will react
to the material in any class dealing with ideas. This poem was written as
a homework exercise in a church class based on Richard H. Schmidt’s book
Companions. The book contains biographies and excerpts from the
writings of notable Anglicans, beginning with the author of the Book of
Common Prayer, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The class discussion of each
famous Anglican took surprising turns, based on the interests and concerns
of class members.
The class facilitator—the Rev. Mary
Weatherwax did not claim the mantle of “teacher”—asked the question:
“Where is God in our class?” She invited people to write “a couple
of words, a couple of sentences, a couple of paragraphs, a poem, a prayer,
or a short essay” addressing her question.
Two of my poems had been read in the class, so
I felt some obligation to write a poem for the assignment. I put off
thinking about the assignment until Saturday night. It was perhaps natural
to think of the turns our discussions had taken and to liken the
phenomenon to the unpredictable path of Hurricane Charley, which had just
struck the state of Florida. I went to bed, however, with nothing more
that a line and a few random words, all of which had little to do with the
I woke up before my alarm went off Sunday
morning, August 15, 2004, with a clear idea for a poem, and I wrote and
printed a copy of “Glorious Companions Plus One” before leaving for
church and class.
I’m not sure this poem is well-titled, as I
have several times had to explain the meaning of “Plus One.” The
glorious companions of the book title are the famous Anglicans of whom
Schmidt writes, of course, and the “Plus One” of my title
refers to God.
— LED, 8/20/2004