Isn’t it weird to find something, tucked in the recesses of your computer, that you wrote ages ago? It’s strange to be transported back to what you were thinking at the time. I just found a poem I wrote a few years ago, while I was still single, still living in Minnesota, and still attending Bethlehem Baptist. I find it, while to the best of my knowledge theologically correct, cumbersome. It’s not a pretty poem, but it is interesting to see my thoughts from back then. Very Piper-influenced, I’d say.
Can we understand love without
First truly knowing God’s devout
Love for Himself? Knowledge that He
Foremost considers His glory—
While offensive to some (for they
Would prefer to regard God’s way
As making much of themselves), is
Sweet truth to sages and pure bliss
To embrace. For otherwise idolatry
It would be for God to esteem
Another lovelier than He.
This truth, this reality be
To us but an invitation—
That we too may value the One
To whom all praise is due. In this
We find our commandments exist:
Love God with all our heart, soul, mind,
And to love our neighbor in kind.
What does love look like? In reading
Philippians 2, it’s being
Of the same mind as Christ. We must
Empty ourselves and become dust,
And in so doing, consider
Others around us as better
Than ourselves. We—so far below
Christ, who, in form of God and though
Exalted high, came not for fame,
The very form of a servant—
Thus, we must be of same intent.
His own deity He did not
Grasp, but came to give us blood-bought
Purity before the Judge. How
Can we, in self-importance, bow
Not our hearts in meek submission,
Finding our Holy Ambition?
Might this edict cause us to hear
And pray salvation-working fear
In us. And may God be gracious
To work, by His efficacious
Power, to will and to labor
To the end of His good pleasure.
I believe the beginning of my career in poetry ended just as it began. However, I would like to recommend one of my favorite poems, written in this narrative style by a far better poet than myself. It’s John Piper’s three-part Pilate’s Wife. [[dramatic sigh to emphasize just how good this poem is]] Of this narration, I could (and do!) listen to the third part time and again.
The women used to say, “is there
In living with this man? We dare
You, Claudia, though he be rich
And powerful, there is no hitch
Unbreakable, and this one has
Been broken just as surely as
The man has failed in ev’ry vow
He made. You are not bound to plow
For this man like a heifer now,
Nor lie beneath him like a sow
To satisfy the lust of swine.
No Roman law has this design,
Nor any Jewish ordinance,
That you should keep your vow. So whence
This foolish faithfulness that keeps
You in the bed where Pilate sleeps?”
My own insertion here: The next verse is powerful. I turn up the volume at this part on the recording. And with this, I conclude my Poetry Post.
And Claudia would answer them,
“O women of Jerusalem,
You speak as if there were no God.
As if there were no tender rod
To comfort me and lead me through
The darkest valley of my few
And painful years, as if there’s not
Nor should be higher aims than what
You’ve dreamed for man and wife, as if
The path were safe nor any cliff
Be close or any bitter wind
Be in my face, nor I be sinned
Against, or feel this constant grief
So long, my death would be relief.
How many women do you give
Such shallow counsel? As I live,
O, women of Jerusalem
Who counsel thus, I pity them.
As for myself, there is one love,
One covenant, one vow above
All married bliss or pain, and I
Once held the bloody price on my
Own lap, and heard him, dying, say
To me enough to show the way
A covenant is kept. Now go,
And learn what God designs to show
When Pilate crucifies his wife
And she is faithful all her life.”