Reading Scripture as Poetry

Reading Scripture as Poetry

Grace and peace to you

On Wednesday evenings a group of us gather in the hall for prayer practice. Our practice involves sitting together in silence for 30 minutes. Thereafter we practice stretching our imaginations by reflecting on a poem or two.

Learning to read poetry helps us to read scripture because both fiercely engage our imagination. Poetic imagination and “prophetic imagination” are close cousins. The first helps us practice the second. What the poet does with language under poetic license the prophet does with society under divine calling. Both unpick the locks that hold our sense of the possible captive. Both invite us with all of creation to be born afresh. Poets like prophets know that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” – Albert Einstein.

Last week we reflected on the poetic blessing (above) by John O’Donohue. In each verse this Irish poet gives us a task and a gift. Or more like a task that is a gift and a gift that is a task. Here is another one of his poems to prayerfully ponder. [Note: we don’t have to “get it” all in one go. Nibble on the juicy bits first, trusting that once we get a taste of it the tougher bits may soften].

A Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

John O’Donohue
(From To Bless the Space Between Us)

Grace, Alan

 

 


Comments are closed.