Love Holds You


From the introduction by Christine Valters Paintner

Most of these poems were written during the time of pandemic. The call to compassionate retreating came naturally for my strong hermit side. I found myself, rather then getting bored with home, falling more in love with the mundane aspects of my life. The boxes on our patio growing herbs, the way my favorite chair has shaped itself to my body, my dog’s daily eagerness for walks and cuddles. As I lingered more than usual I found deep appreciation for the radical ordinariness of my days.

In the heart of a season filled with anxieties around personal health and well-being, around economic impact, around tremendous collective grief and loss, I found that there was one thing I wanted to remember daily. My prayers were calling me back to the ground of love that I believe undergirds us all. This isn’t always easy to remember, and sometimes reading the news I question whether it is even true. Writing poems about love became an act of cultivating trust. The moments that trust dissolved, I would pick up my pen and try and remember what I loved or how love had been made visible to me that day.

Most of these poems are not directly about the pandemic per se. They are love poems that arose out of a desire to pay close attention when things seemed to be falling apart and to name what it was that endures. Many of the poems are dreamlike settings, where a new reality erupts into the everyday.

Love doesn’t make our struggles vanish. It doesn’t mean carrying perpetual optimism into our days or even having to believe that everything will be okay. Those things are not seductive for me in a world when so many have so much to grieve. It does mean that I believe Love is the foundation of everything and holds us in our sorrow as well as our delight. This is in large part why I write poems, to hold this tension of living in a world that can be so devastating and also so staggeringly beautiful.

SKU: 9781640607323 Categories: , , Tags: , ,


SKU (ISBN): 9781640607323
ISBN10: 1640607323
Christine Paintner
Binding: Trade Paper
Published: May 2023
Publisher: Paraclete Press