15 January 2009

Sharable sharings

For my ice-bound friend, something to read. :) I liked the Writer's Almanac this morning, mostly due to the poem:

Having Confessed, by Patrick Kavanagh

Having confessed he feels
That he should go down on his knees and pray
For forgiveness for his pride, for having
Dared to view his soul from the outside.
Lie at the heart of the emotion, time
Has its own work to do. We must not anticipate
Or awaken for a moment. God cannot catch us
Unless we stay in the unconscious room
Of our hearts. We must be nothing,
Nothing that God may make us something.
We must not touch the immortal material
We must not daydream to-morrow's judgment—
God must be allowed to surprise us.
We have sinned, sinned like Lucifer
By this anticipation. Let us lie down again
Deep in anonymous humility and God
May find us worthy material for His hand.

There's much to say about this, but the babies are all screaming at the moment so I'll just let you draw your own conclusions.

In the meantime, a reminder:

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind? --Percy Bysshe Shelley ;)


Sir Cuthbert said...

Showing how small is my knowledge of poetry:

1. I don't get it. At least I don't think I do. If I do, it seems to imply that we should not pray, since prayer is not possible without faith, and faith involves anticipation.
2. What makes it poetry? It has no meter and does not rhyme or alliterate.
3. Assuming this is blank or free verse, what makes those poetry? What makes them different from pretentious prose?
4. Sydney's definition of poetry doesn't help.

Reb. Mary said...

Hey, thanks, friend Gauntlets. Being perhaps more simple-minded than Sir Cuthbert, I really enjoyed it :) My favorite line: "God must be allowed to surprise us." There was somewhat to that effect in our wedding sermon, of which this served as a timely reminder. I'll be thinking on it all day.

And O! The Romantics! Which got me to thinking that an Aeolian harp hereabouts would be shredded in the gusts and windchill :P But another very timely poem, 'tis. :)

Gauntlets said...

RM: :D

SC: Wow. I'm not firing all my pistons just yet, but I'll offer this by way of explanation:

1. a. Don't let it get you down.
1. b. The poem deals specifically with the experience of Confession. I've felt something akin to the thoughts expressed by Kavanagh after having confessed myself--Confession is something I all too often approach wrongly. In my pride, I plan out my words and offer my scandal and expect God to be so proud of my bravery. It never turns out the way I expect, for when we meet God where He reveals Himself we find the cross, and with it a call to die ourselves so that Christ might make us alive. We typically respond badly, cowering away, covering up and hiding behind worldly reason, while God patiently calls us again and again. Yet, His call isn't, as Bonhoeffer wrote, a mere career. We can't plan out what or how or when. Try as we might to make faith into something we can control, grace calls us to the cross and, when we are obedient, places upon us a cross of our own. We take what joy and what suffering we are given, allowing Christ to come between us and everything, allowing ourselves to die, so that God might make us alive--and that we might be worthy material for His hand.

Anyway, that's a start. :)

2. - 4. It would take a barge of paper to talk about this properly, and I've got to get breakfast. Let's just put it this way: You can't compare Bono to Beethoven, but neither can you deny the artistry of Bono. Both are musicians--one a genius with lasting universal appeal, one a servant of the zeitgeist who speaks with a plebeian voice. Come to think of it, depending on your tastes I suppose those definitions could wrap around either Bono or Beethoven . . . though I'll not extend any such fraternity to like likes of P Diddy. ;)

Pr. H. R. said...

His middle name is Bysshe? No wonder he stuck with Percy.


Rebekah said...

I think metaphor has something to do with poetry, too . . . although poetry and I have never been too comfortable around each other.

This is also strangely evocative of my own experiences in the confessional--the pride of making what one thinks to be a good confession, and being quite surprised and humbled by what God gives his mouthpiece to say about it.

RM, you listened to your wedding sermon? :D (No hard feelings to our preacher, of whom I'm rather fond.)

Sarah D said...

I enjoyed the poem. I am a poem-geek though and love when people share something that hits a chord with them.

Oh and P Diddy has nothing on Kanye West.

Reb. Mary said...

Rebekah, I remember that the sermon 1) had something to do with God and surprises, and 2)that he walked around holding a potted plant while preaching. Trying to reconstruct the sermon based on that provides ample fodder for meditation ;)

Hey, what's that great hymn...Jesus our blessing, our constant surprise...

Rebekah said...

RM, how Ionesco! :D