Three Poems

by Carla Funk

Comments for Three Poems

  • Ann Hostetler

    On November 26, 2009 Ann Hostetler wrote:

    Divining rods?

    I love the way that two different kinds of "divine" knowledge are juxtaposed in this poem--the intuitive, bio-kinetic knowledge of the water-diviner, and the divine narrative of the male church authorities in the poem who are opposed to such knowledge. I'm wondering whether the role of the artist in traditional Mennonite culture is a bit like that of the water-diviner and in what ways. What do other readers think about this?

    I'm also very curious about whether readers of this journal have had experience with water diviners in their own family history, and how the Mennonite or Anabaptist community responded to them. For instance, my Old Order Amish uncle was a water diviner. He told us that people who could do this had a special mark on their hand. For a divining tool, he used a forked willow twig. He never seemed to have a problem with the church over this "folk" knowledge. My husband remembers the "Beachy Amish" second wife of his uncle as a "water sniffer." As a child--perhaps 50 years or so ago--he was present as she "sniffed" for water on the family farm. He was allowed to try the divining rod himself--he remembers a metal device--and was shocked to discover how it was powerfully drawn downwards in his hands as he stood over the place where the diviner had discovered water.

    So when and in what churches did water diviners become "suspect?" When did this practice go out of vogue? Are there still people who practice water divining?

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