Connecting with Mark Jarman’s “Articles of Faith”

by Hunter Leiber  ·  April 05, 2018

For me, growing up in Michigan on a lake was ideal.

Small uninhabited islands that disappeared during high tide, kelp forests that we had to avoid to keep from damaging the boat engine, and bonfires on the fourth of July.

I remember winter days where we would wear old-fashioned snowshoes and trek across snow banks, bundled up in as many layers as we could so that we could still move around. No Randy “I can’t put my arms down” from A Christmas Story here. We were pros when it came to winters.

In the North, you knew it was spring when the lakes started to thaw. When the ice was thin enough to break when you jumped, it was time to start preparing for warmer days.

When reading through Volume 13, number 1 of Five Points I came across a short poem called “Articles of Faith” by Mark Jarman that really struck me:

When islands on the blurred horizon loom
Through haze for the first time in stormy weeks,

Although their appearance will not last
And we will not be going to them soon,

We cannot help but feel that there, at last,
Is landfall, confirmation, destined peace,
Regarding us as we watch from our island.

Short poems may be interpreted many ways, and I feel that there are multiple layers to something so seemingly simple.

This poem was a reminder that the islands we used to dream about on our little lake in Michigan were signs that spring was coming. It was a reassurance that life was going to come back to nature and that the ice would . After they had been dead and covered by ice for months on end, the little buds and the sound of the water lapping the shore were enough to get everyone excited. For us, the landfall was the confirmation and the destined peace, and we knew that each time the tide was low, another island would rear its back full of trees, and we’d be reminded that life is everywhere. 

Image courtesy of Creative Commons.