Poetry

9 Aug

As I was studying and meditating over the weekend, I delved into some old files and found these poems, two well-crafted by C.S. Lewis and one of my own ragged meter. They gave me some food for thought and repentance. Perhaps they will encourage you as well to some deeper reflection.

PRAYER

By C.S. Lewis

Master, they say that when I seem

To be in speech with you,

Since you make no replies, it’s all a dream

–One talker aping two.

They are half right, but not as they

Imagine; rather, I

Seek in myself the things I meant to say,

And lo! the wells are dry.

Then seeing me empty, you forsake

The Listener’s rôle, and through

My dead lips breathe and into utterance wake

The thoughts I never knew.

And thus you neither need reply

Nor can; thus, while we seem

Two talking, thou art One forever, and I

No dreamer, but the dream.

FOOTNOTE TO ALL PRAYERS

By C.S. Lewis

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow

When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,

And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart

Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.

Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme

Worshipping with frail images a folk-lore dream,

And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address

The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless

Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert

Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond the desert;

And all men are idolators, crying unheard

To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.

Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense. Lord in Thy great,

Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

Christ, my Beloved

I am Yours—You have made me so.

Once a slave, now Your Bride

Yet do I serve You more?

My God I love so poorly,

So I serve unfaithfully,

But clasp me to Yourself, if You dare

And cover my rags of foolishness.

I tremble in my frail humanity,

A ragged Bride for my King,

But clothe me in Your love, my LORD

And I will be made whole.

Written sometime the Fall of 2002. ~ Updated thoughts, Fall of 2013: The theological foundation from which I wrote this poem was much shakier and questionable than the one I stand on now, 11 years hence. I was also, at the time, greatly influenced by Theresa of Avila and other Christian mystics and their writings. While I still hold a deep appreciation for many of those works and writers, and I am not going so far as to call them unregenerate or unbelievers, after much time and study over the last 11 years, I part ways with many of them on many points of theology, particularly in the area of using “romance” and “marriage” and “lover” pictures to describe the individual believer’s relationship to Christ. As far as I have been able to dig around and study, there is no Biblical precedent for this. While the Bible (both in the Old and New Testaments) certainly does use the pictures and terms of marriage to describe God’s relationship to His people and vice versa, it is ALWAYS in the context of His people collectively, not individually. To take this allegory of marriage and use it otherwise is to teeter dangerously on the precipice of heresy and idolatry. It is most Biblically accurate to use the concept of parenthood and friendship to describe the individual believer’s relationship to the Lord and vice versa. This is how Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father”, and He told the disciples, “I have called you friends”. The bulk of scriptural imagery of our individual relation to God is that of children to a Father, and friends to a Friend and vice versa. There are of course other descriptions such as “Savior, Redeemer, High Priest, King”, etc. for both individual and corporate relationships to the Godhead. The text of the Bible also contains references of the collective people of God imaged as His children, and He their Father. But nowhere in Scripture are we taught to make use of the picture of marriage to understand or depict our personal, individual relationship to God (or any persons of the Trinity).

©2010 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Poetry”

  1. drew October 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Thanks for posting the C.S. Lewis poems – I have never read these ones before.
    Have you read “A Hymn to Evolution”, also by him?

    I posted on it at my blog: http://connecthook.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/militant-evolution/

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