World Poetry Day: Meet poet Glynda Winterson

World Poetry Day: Meet poet Glynda Winterson

Right at the centre of every issue of Bible Reflections for Older People, there is a poem. Today, on World Poetry Day, we’re introducing the poet featured in the current issue of the Bible Reading notes: Glynda Winterson. Her poem ‘The woman who wasn’t healed’ is an original, moving and thought-provoking reflection on a well-known incident from the gospels.

Below, Glynda shares her feelings on faith, writing and ‘The woman who wasn’t healed’.

I accompanied my husband through 28 years of a paralysing progressive illness. Together we experienced a very close relationship with each other and with Christ throughout this time. My husband’s faith never wavered. Then suddenly, towards the end of those years, mine did. In fact, it seemed to have vanished. Did God even exist?

I did not connect this loss of faith with the ongoing grief and debilitating stress of the circumstances that I was experiencing. I was surprised when the woman in this poem made her appearance and seemed to attribute her problem with faith to having experienced a grief that had bled it dry.

When a poem arrives in my mind, it always seems to write itself. I ‘hear’ a phrase or a sentence apparently from nowhere and know I must note it down. Then amazingly more words and images follow it as if from nowhere, and I find that I have the first draft for a new piece of work. It seems to have a life of its own, independent of me.

So I cannot explain this poem. However, one of the things it is telling me is that we must not be discouraged if other believers seem to us to be striding on ahead with our Lord, so strong in faith compared to ourselves. What I am hearing here in this poem is the precious fact that Christ understands us even in our times of doubt and unbelief. It may seem that he has left us but through that ‘dark night of the soul’ he is holding on to us, even when we think that we have let go of him.

Copies of Glynda’s collection Making Light can be bought from the poet for £7.00 including postage. Please contact enquiries@brf.org.uk or call 01865 319700 and your request will be passed on.

 

The woman who wasn’t healed
I tunnelled towards him through the crowd.
Touched the edge
of a cloak as frayed as my life.

I gripped the dusty hem
between my thumb and forefinger.
That’s how close I came.

He looked down
and he understood and this
was the miracle I needed most.

I couldn’t hold on to him.
There was an issue of grief bleeding
belief dry. He knew

I couldn’t follow
as they all moved on
and he disappeared with his disciples.

But a knot of faith
came away in my hand.
I knelt by the road all night
unpicking the implications.

I’ve wound this one thin strand
around my finger like a ring:
My treasure, all that’s left of him.

I shall wear it to heaven.
He will remember me
When I come into his kingdom.

Glynda Winterson, used with kind permission

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