This Then Is the Work of the Spirit

I like to consider myself to be a bit of a poet, so when I come across someone who clearly has the skill down to an art form I have to share their words with the world! I’ll start with you. 😉 I hope you enjoy this poem by Louis Alan Swartz. It’s featured in his book of poetry entitled Constructed of Magic and Other Poems on the Immortality of the Human Spirit.


constructed magic
This Then is the Work of the Spirit
(Written for and dedicated to Carla Cohen)
You were sitting across from me,
That was the apparency.
Do you fully realize what you
Enabled me to see?
The depth of the aesthetic
You opened in me?
We stand in awe
As the spirit is freed.
In the little room
Faced to the south
Couldn’t believe the words
That came out of my mouth.
You listened beyond all
Imaginable listening,
Helped me see
A profound aesthetic that had
Always been part of me.
The depth of your listening
Has enabled me to hear
A music that has no sound.
This then, is the voice of the spirit,
It was always right there,
I was always right near it.
But before you listened to me
I just couldn’t hear it.
Bless you and the work you do.
This is the actual holy work.
The work of the heart.
The work of the spirit.
Thank you for listening to me
With such unearthly intensity.
There was truth
Right next to me
That for vast, vast eons
I couldn’t quite see,
An aesthetic that comprises
The very best in me.
You’ve helped me open this
For all of eternity.
For this, I cannot express
The degree to which
I thank thee.

Good poetry leaves much to be interpreted by the reader, and this poem reminded me of what excellent counselors do: provide a safe place for people to open their emotions and their eyes to the endless possibilities life brings. What’s your interpretation of this poem?
If you want to enjoy more poetry by Louis, click here!



4 thoughts on “This Then Is the Work of the Spirit

  1. This poem made me think about two people in love having a conversation. But then again, I think that all poetry is about love. It’s one reason I’ll probably never be a poet (aside from the fact that I suck at writing poetry…).


  2. This part struck me:
    “You listened beyond all
    Imaginable listening,
    Helped me see
    A profound aesthetic that had
    Always been part of me.
    The depth of your listening
    Has enabled me to hear”

    Now, I must say the mere thought of trying to interpret poetry gives me the heebie jeebies…because I don’t think I’m creative enough. But, I want to give this a shot. I think this poem is about someone that lived their entire life in the background and never knew their true value…until someone came along to listen, hear, and validate them. THAT is the work of the spirit.


    • Chile, I can’t tell you’re not good at interpreting poetry because I totally agree with your input. We sometimes never know how much a listening ear will change a person’s life.


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