By g emil reutter
It had been over four decades since I last saw Frank Champine, he an excellent teacher and I a fairly bad student. So it was with great surprise that we met once again at an arts festival as much to him as to me. He was selling his artwork and asked what I was doing there and I told him I was a poet to his stunned look and response, he too was a poet. As different as we were all those years ago, we still remained different in our art of poetry: he a spiritual, mystic poet while I am rooted in stark realism coupled with rough surrealism. We exchanged poetry books and he was gracious enough to listen to my reading. That was two years ago and I have been delinquent in not having reviewed his book.
A Path to Grace is a vast array of Chinese meditative brush paintings coupled with Champine’s powerful, prayerful poems that bring the reader to a place of peace, of wonder and of joy. There is a serenity that takes hold as each page is turned.
From page 51:
Look beyond the mountains
thrust in your path
Insurmountable though they appear
rainbows may be found where we expect
hardness and pain
He is with on the journey
He makes the pathway straight.
He designs the rainbows.
Champine often mediates on the great sufferings of life as well as the great joy. All of this rooted in his faith and an eternal optimism.
A Night Prayer
Let me empty myself into your heart,
And then pour everything You are into me.
Let me feel Your bleeding hands
As you wash me clean.
Your blood, Your Sweat, Your tears.
Fall as water over the rocks
of my hardened heart and
Soften my rough edges in Your cataract of love.
Free me from all fear.
Heal me of my uncertainties
Love me, have mercy on me,
Be my compassion
Champine, the true believer awaits springtime, renewal.
The Good Fight
So delicate, yet resilient,
the plum blossom appears
at winter’s end. It holds a
special place for it represents
perseverance and rejuvenation
It does not give up, it fights that
good fight. It battles the gloom
of winter and calls all to the
springtime of life.