Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

On Poetry

“The time has come…the walrus said to speak of many things, of ships, and shoes, and ceiling wax and whether pigs have wings.” I have no mustache, so I cannot be a walrus. Pretty good reasoning, eh? Also my knowledge is limited to a limited number of ships. I had better start over.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khana stately pleasure dome decree” pretty, but nonsense. “There are strange things done in the midnight sun…” there are strange things done everywhere. “I met a traveler from an antique land by the men who moil for gold.” I meet one at least once a week.

I have always loved poetry from Ogden Nash to Tennyson, even when the poetry doesn’t say anything of substance. Here is a stanza from the “Love of God” by Frederick Lehman. It was sung at our wedding fifty-five years ago.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

And one of 17 stanzas from “The Sands of Time are Sinking,” from Samuel Rutherford’s letters put into verse by Anne Cousin,

The bride eyes not her garment
But her dear bridegroom’s face
I will not gaze at glory
But on my king of grace
Not on the crown He giveth
But on his pierced hand
The lamb is all the glory
In Emmanuel’s land

And from Charles Wesley’s “And Can it Be,”

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast-bound in sin and nature’s might;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray.
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Then there is the great Christmas-Easter hymn in Philippians 2:5-11,

Your attitude should be the same as that
of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature
God, did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped, but made
himself nothing, taking the very nature of
a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled himself and became obedient
To death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest
Place and gave him the name that is above
Every name, that at the name of Jesus
Every knee should bow, in heaven and on
Earth and under the earth, and every
Tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
To the glory of God the Father.

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