Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Poetry Personified

(With Thanks To Mrs. Elizabeth B. Browning)

When I say Christ is the only hope of humanity,
you say the scriptures are insanity,
of which you know all you need;
I think you know not Christianity,
and have not ears to heed.
Someone told you Christ was grim --
who surely never met him --
did they tell you how he cried?
Somebody decried Jesus as severe --
Somebody lied.
Did they tell you how he neared
to the men in farthest sin?
Did they tell how he was to sinners friend?
Did they tell you how he cried?
Did they tell you how he died?
I know not them --
but I know this: they know not Him.

Christ's religion is essentially poetry
-- poetry glorified: artistry reified.
The Lord Jesus Christ is poetry personified;
His Person and Work unite in rhyme deified.
See him, a Lion? Next glance, a Lamb.
He is the iambic I AM.

All verse tends toward affection,
and the Lord Jesus is affectionate perfection.
His is Love; Love is His.
He is where Love lives.
He is that which Love Is,
and that which Love gives.

We want not more rhyming infatuation;
we want the sense of the saturation
of Christ's blood upon the souls
of our souls. We want his blood our shoal
and his blood our deeps --
with his dying love dyed -- from head to the soles
of our feet -- in this love steeped.
We want poets, and bards,
and prophets, and preachers, and seers
and dreamers -- by believing --
to see blood on the moon and the stars,
and feel Christ's blood weaving
in their veins unto their hearts.
We need poets who have fled wrath,
and found shelter in a blood bath.

We want not flimsy infatuation

made my moments of skinny elation
spread across dim durations --
we want to be saturated
with love persisting, love unabated.
We want to be dyed the color
of Christ's red rose raging righteous blood --
which is to say, in words other:
we want to live in Christ's love.

We want not more cheap love tokens;
We want to be broken 
with searing shards of souls
so that Christ's love might shine pole to pole,
and let hope in;
then, and only then,
shall we make the halved whole.
O, may his love cry through us
in answer to the ceaseless
wail of the sphinx of our humanity.
May it cry, expounding agonizing renovation. 
We want not more self demonstration.
We want poets of Christ's poetry.
We want you. We want me.

Something of this has been perceived in art
when its glory was at the fullest.
Something of a yearning after this type heart
may be seen among ALL poets.
Something we want that hearts touch;
Something which would have been much
with many in this present generation 
if they had more heavenly deliberation,
and a stronger faculty of poetic perception,
combined with sincere human connection.
Of Christ, this generation knows nothing;
thus, we live in such dejection,
and our poetry is rusting.

What was Shakespeare, but Christian mythology?
What Donne? Milton? Even atheist Shelley?
What was Keats, or Byron, or Browning?
What was the trump they were sounding
but love eternal the darkness confounding?
What did they speak of?
They spoke most, and often, of Love.
What is Love but Christ's other name?
And what love is this? The love same
that sent him bleeding for a bride.
For love lived; for love, he died.

Thanks to us, our dreams were dross.
Then, we found, upon a dusty shelf,
a volume of Hamlet marred by moss --
before we read it, we were lost.
Before reading, we were expiring
in blindness; we were dying.
After reading, we were well.
Before reading, we barely felt;
Afterward? We knew health,
and ascended in the sunshine like young doves.
Thanks to us, our dreams sank.
Thanks to Shakespeare, we fell in love --
but who did Shakespeare have to thank? 

He thanked Christ, and so might we.
For Christ is the poet of poets: poetry, essentially.
Long before Shakespeare,
wrote Sonnets, or Hamlet, or of Midsummer Dreamy --
when the world was benighted in misery,
a child was born on a midnight clear,
in a harsh place, to a poor family,
in the dead-end town of Bethlehem:
His tiny heart beat poetic rhythm
as the stars blinked above in blank verse.
Some distance, a band of ragged shepherds
were keeping flock on rugged plains
when angels accosted them with news
too good for heaven to contain.
The angels lifted their voice in a couplet then:
"Peace on earth has come again;
for God has goodwill toward men."

The child kept time in oh so human tears,
as his mother drew him near,
and sang to him a sonnet
Moses had written on parchment in Egypt:
Something about a garden defiled;
something about how a child
would be stricken 'til he bled,
but rise to crush a serpent's head;
something about how God's whimsical devotion
rises in waves of a red ocean;
something about a son on a throne seated;
something about guilt by grace defeated.

When I say Christ is the only hope of humanity,
they say the scriptures are insanity --
I know not them --
but I know this: they know not Him.
Christ's religion is essentially poetry
-- poetry glorified: artistry reified.
The Lord Jesus Christ is poetry personified.

No comments:

Post a Comment