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Jan Wood

First Prize 2007 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $1050
Including Founder's Prize of $50

A morning meditation and an interest in photography were the catalysts for this poem response to the wonder of Jesus' prayer in John: 17. I have seen a divine beauty in people's faces from time to time and when I came across a photo that softened my hard edges I hoped it was proof of God's grace, not the talented work of a photographer manipulating light. It continues to amaze me that God would seek a relationship with me and delight in it.

Among her many other achievements, Jan Wood was Utmost's International Christian Poet Laureate for 2008 and 2009.

just as you are in me and i am in you

f-stop and shutter speed set I capture
the front of my car, my house, the i in i
a filtered lens softens a composite
in the summer and fall of seasons beyond myself
and the essence of You in You hangs poster-sized
in images of waterfall, storm and sky

I want an action shot of You in me,
the spring water, its keen edge cutting rock
into wide-open groans bursting winter’s coma
of highlight and shadow
I miss it
instead I enlarge the footprints
in snow where You pushed and i pulled
and we dragged a filtered sun and
flung it into the zenith of June

I want a color proof of the i in You,
unpredictable blue guilty of every green thing
and an irrational lens no lag time
clicking blossom and birdsong catching the light
of You in me the vibrant yellow and the red throb
of frost-scorched veins
there is no picture

You fall into me darkroom silent with evidence until
i am exposed, vulnerable to a pinprick of stars
their mystery and wisdom a stop bath
I keep the You in me too fixed, too defined
in a strip of negatives

Under a thin wash of red a new roll prints
they’ll disappoint me again
thirty-six  4 x 5’s of the i in i,
and You in You over exposed
everything out of focus
but there is one image in which I am
radiant all soft edges, a beautiful grace
does your camera expose me this way
or is this a photo of us?

Copyright ©2007 by Jan Wood