Etymology

David Harrity

Try to remember what he taught you: to find North in stars,
to drive a nail to wood, to clench a fist to stone,
to follow through against the iron of a cheekbone.
You may have been a boy, but you remember.

That ragged town of coal; a life lived in whistle trills.
And when you hear the word Pennsylvania—all those syllables
throbbing one sound—
your memory claps on and he’s looking at you to decide.

He read aloud to show you words have wombs—
they modulate from names to places, suffixes to identities.
He told the story of the man who walked far enough away
to be free from the burden of himself.

He found a forest. He built a house. All he did he did
for faith and love—embodied hunger, made it live.
You could count calamities: storms, wounds, disbelievers, brutal
banes.
But he fought to make a name. So you say it every time you see
it: Pennsylvania.

Never goes unnoticed. Even now rising up from this page’s print,
glowing open—the heat of wanderlust, some mystic ink.
Lose yourself looking for the answers—all the words writ in
wood and hidden.

This world can open with the steady pulse of faithful wandering.
His home a fire in your ribs, burning down doorframes in your
heart.
Make a fist the way he showed you.
Fight your way to make it through.

David Harrity is Assistant Professor of English at Campbellsville University’s Louisville Center. He is author of the meditative, community-building writing guide “Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand.” As the director of ANTLER (thisisantler.com), he travels the country conducting workshops and lectures on the intersection of faith and imagination. He completed an M.F.A at Spalding University.

×
Chat with us x