Let us not mock God with metaphor

“Seven Stanzas at Easter” by John Updike (from Telephone Poles and Other Poems): Make no mistake: if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall. It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent; itContinue reading “Let us not mock God with metaphor”

reverence for existence

The great Swiss author Ramuz, writing some years ago, spoke of a certain sense of holiness “which is the most precious thing the West has known, a certain attitude of reverence for existence–by which we must understand everything which exists, oneself and the world outside oneself, the mysteries which surround us, the mystery of death,Continue reading “reverence for existence”

the thing to remember

Imperative The thing to remember is how tentative all of this really is. You could wake up dead. Or the woman you love could decide you’re ugly. Maybe she’ll finally give up trying to ignore the way you floss your teeth as you watch television. All I’m saying is that there are no sure thingsContinue reading “the thing to remember”

fills the young person’s head with the sound of voices

The poet, Plato writes in Phaedra, “clothes all the great deeds accomplished by the men of old with glory, and thus educates those who come after.” The poet’s myth teaches the Ideal Type by example, not by precept, and allows the student through his imagination to participate in the past, partaking of the Ideal. OftenContinue reading “fills the young person’s head with the sound of voices”

brief elaboration of a tube

I’ve been enjoying Leonard Cohen’s recent album, Old Ideas. Here are the lyrics from one song, first published as a poem in The New Yorker (January 23, 2012). Although the title and refrain are in Cohen’s voice, I hear all the rest of this as a wry commentary by Cohen’s Creator (who uses him asContinue reading “brief elaboration of a tube”

promises to keep

Two masterpieces, with Auden echoing Frost: Their Lonely Betters W.H. Auden (1950) As I listened from a beach-chair in the shade To all the noises that my garden made, It seemed to me only proper that words Should be withheld from vegetables and birds. A robin with no Christian name ran through The Robin-Anthem whichContinue reading “promises to keep”

coming beneath the light of that star

This first item is an unpublished prayer by Christine Perrin, responding to “Journey of the Magi” by T.S. Eliot (for a 9th grade history class event in 2012). Eliot’s poem is below. Epiphany Lord, you know we are walking this road toward your star; we left, or tried to leave, our palaces, our sherbets; leavingContinue reading “coming beneath the light of that star”

a person who cares about words and is honest with them

It is easy to say what either flatters or manipulates and so acquire power over others. In subtle ways, being a pastor subjects our words to corruption. That is why it is important to frequent the company of a poet friend – Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Herbert, Emily Dickinson, Luci Shaw are some of mineContinue reading “a person who cares about words and is honest with them”