THE POET

THANKSGIVING SUNDAY in Bramhall today, so opportunity to take stock of some of the elements in life I have to be thankful for. And my broad headings are: i) people, ii) food, drink and shelter, and iii) my sense of having been given a Divine invitation to explore.

From boyhood upwards I’ve had a sense of sacred Scripture as epic tales of human discovery, a being called not so much out of exodus but more a being called whilst in exodus. External and inner transition. Growth. Poetic adventure of exploration.

The purpose of poetry is to explore rather than to explain, not so much to interpret as to intensify. A poet may not be able to save the world, but he can help to make it worth saving.

Louis Untermeyer

It seems to me that the teaching of Jesus was and is poetic teaching. There’s loads of licence, room for manoeuvre, for seeing things in a new light, for continuing development, for trial and error.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5.3-12

It’s up to us to continue the exploration and to ask the questions. How are the poor in spirit to enter “the kingdom of heaven”? What is “the kingdom of heaven”? How will those who hunger and thirst for justice be satisfied? Why would peacemakers be called “sons of God”?

Poets speak porously. They use the kind of language that is not exhausted at first hearing. They leave many things open, ambiguous, still to be discerned after more reflection. They do not pretend to know the future, but offer the present as a shockingly open and ambiguous matter out of which various futures may yet emerge.

Walter Brueggemann

If poets speak porously I hope that the Church might speak – and offer her thanksgiving – both porously and faithfully.