For the May 23rd, 2015 UTS Graduation weekend, a group of alumni gathered to hear Lloyd Howell’s poetry reading and tribute to True Father from his newly published book of poems, Remembering Father. Creating a special atmosphere, Lloyd delivered his reading in Father’s Dining room, a place where the UTS founder ate his meals during his frequent visits to Barrytown in the early days.
A 1978 UTS alumnus, Lloyd recalls his soul searching and sensitive youth days growing up in Manhattan. Then, by discovering True Parents’ church, his life course shifted and found a new destiny. In the poem, “Moon over Manhattan” he marks this poignant moment meeting Father. “The moon over Manhattan/was just a light/was just another light/like on every other night/until I met you/face to face/whereupon, in your eyes,/I saw a reflection of my soul/--wounded, wooden, stained,parched--/rise in your grace/and as your mystical light,/subtle as gossamer,/drenched me,/I bathed in it/healing my brokenness/and cried to feel its inexplicable exquisiteness….” The poet’s honesty and willingness to face his feelings can help readers to remember again their own unique and historic experiences.
Highlighting his marriage in this tribute, Lloyd captures his memories from wedding his wife, Donna, in his newly found destiny. In his poem “Matrimoonie” he contrasts past realities with the mystery and magic of love. “Remember…the oven/how we sat baking/and the balcony where we said “I do” not even knowing who!/remember the lines, the lines/to get out, to go up/…remember how it all seemed like Hell/but when we looked in each other’s eyes, well/well, we forgot to eat/forgot to sleep/forgot to complain/and forgot the pain/and saw reason to laugh and laugh/again and again.” [Even during the alumni weekend, some of us heard this bubbly laughter of Donna Howell echoing through the corridor of the main building on Barrytown campus.]
For those of us in Father’s dining room for his reading, Lloyd shared how he learned that writing poems, like prayer, gave him a way to find mind/body unity and to be in touch with his feelings. His new collection of poems records how, after the Howell’s many missions, in America and overseas, and leading lives rich with the leadership of True Parents, Lloyd crafted his many memories into unique poems and found his voice as a poet. In his poem, “Goodbye,” he articulates what some of us may have felt, but may not have expressed as consciously and artfully as Lloyd did. Just before the passing of Rev. Moon, he wrote:
Self-effacing and deferring to the giant steps of his mentor, Rev.Moon, Lloyd Howell has stepped into the realm of creative self-expression and mirrored an essence of original human nature noted in Moon’s Unification Thought: “Each person has an original human nature that consists of heart, logos and creativity.” Perhaps it is through poetry that we all can experience these glimmers of our divinity mixed with our humanity. Thank you, Lloyd, for a special tribute to Father Moon.
Lloyd Howell’s books are available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Check out Lloyd Howell's "Sleepless in Jerusalem and other Poems" in Volume XI of the Journal of Unification Studies.