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A Poet God

I love words and rhythm and the pictures they can paint. Recently I read this poem by Billy Collins and it sounded a gong which rang so true.

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide


or press an ear against its hive

I say drop a mouse into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,


or walk inside the poem’s room

and feel the walls for a light switch.


I want them to waterski

across the surface of a poem

waving at the author’s name on

the shore.


But all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope

and torture a confession out of it.


They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it really means


I think that too often we treat the Scripture in much the same way. The poem repeats “it was good, it was good” and concludes “very good” and we have tied it to a chair with ropes and with hoses beat a confession from it. We grab or write commentaries to shine a bright light into the eyes of the poem until perversely we are blinded to its meaning. We take the mysteries and allusions and poetry itself and reduce them to groupings of the 26 letters, by finding the meaning it loses its true meaning or meanings. Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are the branches, and that we are to abide in him. We rush out to become skilled in the science of horticultural rather than developing the art of abiding. Hermeneutics without the Spirit leaves us pursuing the word and missing the mysterious Messiah, the Word made flesh. I believe God loves poetry more than I do!


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