I’ve written poetry since I was a boy and returned to it in earnest when I was becoming a deacon. Since then I’ve published three books of poems.
For me “poetry comes in the form of a blessing,” as Stanley Kunitz says. “It is a form of spiritual testimony.”
You Never Know (Stephen F. Austin State University: 2018)
You Never Know is an elegant testimony of the joy of making sense of everyday moments. With wonder, admiration, curiosity, and awe, he mixes the divine with the beloved. To read these poems is to become alert to the wounds and the healing of being alive, and to see new patterns of understanding that only Chris Anderson can offer. –David Biespiel
The Next Thing Always Belongs (Airlie Press: 2011)
These poems are parables, told in the impossible logic of dreams. The result is a collection that circles the incomprehensible, and manages a grasp both fleeting and everlasting—a collection that demands to be read and reread over the course of a lifetime. –Tim Green
My Problem with the Truth (Cloudbank Books: 2003)
Chris Anderson’s poems reveal the fruit of long meditation on the things of this world, but a world rinsed, cleansed of the scrim of ego, made luminous. There’s humor here, and a voice to be trusted. –Paul Mariani
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Three poems from The Next Thing Always Belongs
The Rosary Confuses My Dogs
All those countless centuries
before I was born it wasn’t so bad.
I didn’t feel a thing.
When, walking in the woods,
I pull out my long black rosary,
the beads loop down and jingle
a little like the leash when I pull it out
to put the dogs back on.
And the dogs, when they hear it,
come running up,
heads cocked, tongues lolling.
No, I say. It’s OK.
And they bound away again.
The Other Side
The falling of a leaf onto a pond is one movement
in a process composed of many movements.
It floats for a while, crisply. Then softens and sinks.
It’s funny what comes to mind. All day I think
about a woman I haven’t seen in many years.
Her soft, brown hair. The way the corners of her eyes
pulled down. It’s not that I am filled with longing
or regret. But I am filled with something.
In a dream I climb a hill on the other side of town.
It is an arduous climb. At the end I am afraid
of falling. But then I look down and realize
all the houses are exactly like the house I live in.
In the distance, the same kind of highway.
Everything is the same. It’s just on the other side.
The Old Woman and the Stars
In Sublimity her husband got so drunk
she had to drag him to bed by his boots.
But it wasn’t his face she saw.
It was the face of Jesus.
“How deep is your love?” he asked her.
Another night she saw the veil
that covers the world
hanging over their bed like a net.
She reached up and pulled it down
and rubbed it on her hands and arms.
It was soft as cheesecloth.
Water flows over stones.
A breeze blows from the mountains.
The desert isn’t such a bad place,
especially in the morning and the evening
when the air is cool and the stars are out.
Did you know this?
There are nine galaxies
for every person alive on earth.
Three poems from You Never Know