Not everyone appreciates poems. But I believe each one of us has experienced poetic moments--those instances when we've reacted to a particular sight or sound with a rapturous intake of breath. Sunsets, snow scenes and the sea provoke this feeling in most people, yet there's so much more. I've been moved by such peculiar sights as abandoned railroad tracks and rusted smokestacks (especially at dusk). I'm a sucker for the solitary. I find the iconoclastic images of man-made things succumbing to the forces of nature hauntingly beautiful. I'm not a lesbian or anything, but I've seen a pretty Bahamian girl flirt with a guy and considered her coy, graceful movements to be poetry. I think about the earthquake victims in China, who'd been buried under rubble then rescued after many days. Unexpected beauty there. Those cries of life from the trapped survivors had to be the most exquisite poetry their rescuers would ever hear.
I got inspired to write this post after I read an article on Yahoo News entitled: From bad to verse: Vandals get classroom penance. The article reported that teens convicted of trashing the former home of poet Robert Frost were required to take a class in his poetry as part of their punishment.
I thought this form of retribution a good idea. I just hope the offenders don't attend the class, perceiving it as torture. I hope they do learn to appreciate Robert Frost and poetry in general. Most of all, I hope they gain a greater respect for both the poetry in the world around them and the One who created it. Only then can poetry truly have redeeming value.
What kind of things awaken the poet in you?
The following is a poem of David--the shepherd boy made King:
1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
13Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Photo by Armond Trecroce