Karsten Piper's Poetry

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Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

This morning’s Bible reading put me over the edge. It said,

His sons come to honor, and he does not know it;
they are brought low,and he perceives it not.
He feels only the pain of his own body,
and he mourns only for himself.
(Job 14:21-22)

In other words the day may come when I will feel so much pain that the honors and sorrows of my sons will mean nothing to me. So I think I better act now.

With overflowing admiration for all four of my sons, I want to celebrate the poetry of my eldest, Karsten Luke Piper, who teaches English at Minnesota West Community and Technical College . He will be doing a reading this Sunday evening (November 18, 5 PM) at Magers and Quinn in Minneapolis of his poem, “To the Future Husband of My Wife,” which was one of the winners of the “What Light” poetry contest.

Karsten received the 2007 Vachel Lindsay Poetry Award from Willow Springsjournal for his poem, "Her Blue Robe” (see below). He was the winner of the Virginia Brendemuehl Poetry Contest from Rock and Sling: A Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith, for his poem “Luke 18:25” (forthcoming, Fall, 2007). He has also published poems in The Red Wheelbarrow, The Dark Horse, Whistling Shade, and has edited one collection of poems by eleven poets titled Stolen Weather, containing five of his own poems. The book was published in a limited run by Castle House Books, an imprint of the University of St. Andrews.

So before I become old and pain-filled and oblivious to such things, I want to say publicly, “Well done, Karsten. You have a great gift. I admire you and love you.” Perhaps we will post a few more of Karsten’s poems in the coming months.

Her Blue Robe
By Karsten Piper

She will not throw away her robe
though its nap is flat now,
and it frays at the lapels
she tucked across her breasts
when her son was new, when

she sat tunnel-eyed, clamping
her teeth into her tongue all night, when

she wanted him dead,

and nothing cooled her desire for him to fall
quiet on her shoulder,
cold on her neck,
instead of struggling here,
his tiny nails dug into her blue lapels.