Editor's note:

Holy Week reminds us, in case we're in danger of forgetting, that Christianity is a historical faith, its claims embedded in the messy particulars of time and place even as it transcends them. To celebrate that "curious contingency"—and to mark the beginning of National Poetry Month—here is a poem by T. M. Moore:

A Curious Contingency

Confessions of a Wordsmith

The modern order is largely
   a product of contingency.
- Stephen Jay Gould

The fruits of my vocation blossom from
a kind of cosmic soup of latent power:
books, note cards, memos, shreds and shards of some
fresh-excavated pile or file; an hour
on this, an hour on that—the only plan
a loose and highly opportunistic scheme,
a kind of curious contingency more than
a plan: so my haphazard style must seem
to some—things finished, in the works, or just
not ever put away, the sediment
of labors past now buried beneath the dust
of new endeavors. An unlikely bent
   for one whose work insists on forms, designs,
   and arguments tight as a sonnet's lines.

T. M. Moore is the author of many books, includingEcclesiastes: Ancient Wisdom When All Else Fails—A New Translation and Interpretive Paraphrase (InterVarsity).

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Books & Culture Corner appears every Monday. Earlier editions of Books & Culture Corner and Book of the Week include:

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How Do You Live with a Torturer? | A novel of Haiti by the brilliant young writer, Edwidge Danticat. (March 08, 2004)
God Is in the Details | A scientist affirms his faith. (Feb. 23, 2004)
History Repeats Itself, Sort of | How the fate ...
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