Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

The poems collected in The Creation can be read as an extended prayer, a plea for healing. Creation results in a wound, and physical existence itself is equated with suffering. God, as Father, is addressed directly throughout the volume, most notably in the first poem, “The Creation of Eve.” However, the relationship between God and the speaker of these poems is one of great distance. This is a transcendent God. God and poet communicate only through dreams. Although we know that the poet dreams of interacting with God, poems such as “Utter” and “Zeta Hercules” leave us to wonder if God ever hears the poet at such a distance. Ironically, love, rather than healing us, only serves to wound us more deeply, according to Beasley. Love serves to attach us to the earth and worldly things; hence, it diminishes us spiritually. This particular vision of love seems more Buddhist than Christian.

The physical and spiritual landscape of Beasley’s poems is cold and harsh. Things often appear “lopsided,” while God (in reference to Saint Augustine) is compared to a circle. The colors red and black dominate the imagery, though occasionally, a hint of heavenly blue or pink tints the landscape with hope. Although a dove appears once, in remembrance of a childhood lesson about Noah, blackbirds occur more often. In “Sleeping in Santo Spirito,” even the wings of an angel are black, and accusatory religious authority greets the poet harshly.

From Beasley’s bleak poetic landscape, we hear a voice crying for immanence and the ability to experience God through the senses. So, in addition to a prayer for healing, these poems might be read as a call for scientific evidence of the spiritual, a return to the historical perspective of Paley. Furthermore, they can be read as a plea for direct communion with God rather than a relationship though memory or dream. The experience itself would provide healing, Beasley suggests. Reminiscent of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beasley perceives language as defective, and Beasley prays for the ability to use language more purely, possibly to serve God, the Father, more worthily.