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Poetry in motion

by davesandel on April 26th, 2021

Monday, April 26, 2021                     (today’s lectionary)

Poetry in motion

In my trance I had a vision, something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered from the sky by its four corners, and in it I saw the wild beasts, reptiles, birds of the sky. And a voice said, “Come, Peter, kill and eat!”

Poets are in the air today, in my air anyway. Last week was William Shakespeare’s birthday, near as they can tell. Generous to a fault, he contributed 3000 new words and countless idioms to the English language: a fool’s paradise, a sorry sight, dead as a doornail, Greek to me, come what may, eaten out of house and home, love is blind, night owl, wild goose chase … into thin air. Thanks, Mr. Shakespeare, and Mr. Keillor, for your compilation.

And there’s a new poet, at least for me, Robert Bly, farm kid from Minnesota. Like other Minnesotan artists (Bob Dylan, Eugene McCarthy, Jesse Ventura, Garrison Keillor), Mr. Bly sometimes descends into politics. But he comes back up and writes, and I read, poems written while he walks his fields, floats his 1000 lakes and gets caught up in the air, carrying his imagination in a small backpack he never leaves behind. Oh, look! Here’s a poem now, just arriving:

 SEPTEMBER NIGHT WITH AN OLD HORSE

 I.

Tonight I rode through the cornfield in the moonlight!

The dying grass is still, waiting for winter,

And the dark weeds are waiting, as if underwater …

II.

In Arabia, the horses live in the tents,

Near dark gold, and water, and tombs.

III.

How beautiful to walk out at midnight in the moonlight

Dreaming of animals.

Like it? Kinda crazy, I know. The poet Bly insists on not telling the whole story, just enough to get my own imagination up and running.

What God has made clean, you are never to call profane. And I heard this three times.

In my slightly more psychedelic days (when I wrote more poetry than I do now) I imagined the joy of heavenly travel: astral travel powered by the fuel of unconditional love. The speed of light pales in the presence of the speed of unconditional love.

Athirst is my soul for the living God. Send forth your light to lead me on and bring me to your holy mountain, even to your dwelling place, O Lord. Athirst is my soul for the living God.

Today I can’t help but think of Jesus as poet, traveling at the speed of unconditional love from his Father to his disciples to the sick and needy all around him, back to his Father and back to the people again to preach and teach and heal everyone who asked. Like the good farmers listening to his words, Jesus cared for everyone he could. God’s poetry in his life enriches us all.

I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and they know me. And I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will walk right in, and then go out again and find pastures of plenty.

Poets mostly prefer mercy to sacrifice, as does God, of course. Jesus takes us a step beyond mercy, into plenty. Our spoons are too small. He hands us bigger ones. Take and eat, this is the stuff of life.

I came so that you might have life and have it more abundantly.

Roman Catholic William Shakespeare lived his life abundantly, loving the imagined world of his creation but not mistaking it for his home beyond the gate to the mansions of God.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep. (Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1)

(Acts 9, Psalm 116, John 6)

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