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A year ago I started posting Friday Favorites. James Kavanaugh was the first poet I highlighted. The bio information on that post tells a lot about the gentle man that Kavanaugh was. This bio info is from jkavanaugh.com. It shows a little different side of him. He, along with John O’Donohue, is still one of my two favorite poets.

James Kavanaugh

Poet James KavanaughWho was James Kavanaugh? James Kavanaugh passed away the 29th of December 2009 after some years of declining health. He was an extraordinary visionary who saw many years ago where our world was headed. He clearly saw how those with “IBM eyes” would steal our very souls – as they have with the false promise that technology will heal our loneliness. Today our world is raked with instability while millions avoid the realities of our world by getting lost in consumerism, affluenza, jobs and relationships that rob their very souls. We increasingly bow down and worship in the temples of the false gods of money and material things. Things, technology, money, jobs and relationships have never been bad when used for the intended purpose. Learning how to balance becoming real and being fully immersed in life is what Jim wrote about.

Jim was ordained and actively ministered for ten years as a Catholic Priest before attending Catholic University in Washington D.C. Working on his second doctoral degree, he wrote an article for the Saturday Evening Post, entitled, “I am a Priest, and I want to marry.” The article questioned the practice of celibacy among priests. The year was 1967, the height of the sexual revolution. Although it was written under a pseudonym and even his closest friends and family were not aware he was the author, it was received with such commotion and outrage that the secret would not be kept for long. Jim then exploded onto the American scene when he wrote under his own name “A Modern Priest Looks At His Outdated Church”. The New York Times called it “a personal cry of anguish that goes to the heart of the troubles plaguing the Catholic Church.” Soon Simon and Schuster came calling with a book deal.

Though a gifted scholar, with degrees in psychology and religious philosophy, James took a leave of absence from the priesthood, packed his VW bug and headed for California to write books. Jim surrendered his priestly collar and doctoral robes to become a gentle revolutionary. Forty years ago in a decrepit New York residence hotel, Kavanaugh rejected lucrative offers to write what publishers wanted. “Feasting”, he laughs, “on bagels, peanut butter, and cheese whiz”, he wrote his first poetry book, “There Are Men Too Gentle To Live Among Wolves”. The book was turned down by a dozen publishers, only to sell over a million copies.

Wayne Dyer captures his power:

James Kavanaugh is America’s poet laureate. His words and ideas touch my soul. I can think of no living person who can put into words what we have all felt so deeply in our inner selves.

A dozen poetry books followed, as well as powerful novels, prose allegory and his best-selling Search, a guide for personal joy and freedom. The rebel priest became the people’s poet, singing songs of human struggle, of hope and laughter, of healing that comes from within. James Kavanaugh possessed a charisma that excited audiences with passion and humor. He loved wandering, tennis and trout fishing, the cities and wilderness, people and solitude.

Today we have forgotten how to wander, how to experience raw beauty in wildernesses, people and solitude. Experience his writing and continue your own search for a balance in life on your own terms. Just as Him explained so well and with such passion.



Will You Be My Friend?

There are so many reasons why you never should:
I’m sometimes sullen, often shy, acutely sensitive,
My fear erupts as anger, I find it hard to give,
I talk about myself when I’m afraid
And often spend the day without anything to say

But I will make you laugh
And love you quite a bit
And hold you when you’re sad.
I cry a little almost every day
Because I’m more caring than the strangers ever know,
And, if at times, I show my tender side
(The soft and warmer part I hide)
I wonder

Will you be my friend?
A friend
Who far beyond the feebleness of any vow or tie
Will touch the secret place where I am really I,
To know the pain of lips that plead and eyes that weep,
Who will not run away when you find me in the street
Alone and lying mangled by my quota of defeats
But will stop and stay – to tell me of another day
When I was beautiful.

Will you be my friend?
There are so many reasons why you never should;
Often I’m too serious, seldom predictable the same,
Sometimes cold and distant, probably I’ll always change.
I bluster and brag, seek attention like a child.
I broud and pout, my anger can be wild,
But I will make you laugh
And love you quite a bit
And be near when you’re afraid.
I shake a little almost every day
Because I’m more frightened than the strangers ever know

And if at times I show my trembling side
(The anxious, fearful part I hide)
I wonder,
Will you be my friend?
A friend
Who, when I fear your closeness, feels me push away
And stubbornly will stay to share what’s left on such a day
Who, when no one knows my name or calls me on the phone,
When there’s no concern for me – what I have or haven’t done –
And those I’ve helped and counted on have,
oh so deftly, run.
Who, when there’s nothing left but me,
Stripped of charm and subtlety,
Will nonetheless remain.

Will you be my friend?
For no reason that I know
Except I want you so.


Picture Credit: www.goodreads.com