Lenten Discipline — April 8

Lenten discipline of the day:

read a poem, out loud, to yourself or
to somebody else.

Many people think they don’t like poetry because somebody, somewhere along the line, taught them that poetry is dull or difficult, or that poems can only be read in a certain way.  That’s nonsense, at least from my perspective.  Poetry is, I believe, the language of the heart.  In fact, much of the language of the Bible is poetry and Jesus himself was one of Israel’s great poets.  Far from being a “waste of time,” poetry may speak truth to us in ways that ordinary language often does not.  

So today, read a poem.  If you don’t know where to start, here’s a website with 10 suggested poems that use ordinary language in really beautiful ways http://flavorwire.com/217118/10-poems-everyone-needs-to-read/.  And if you find a poem that you really love, share it with someone else by reading it to them.  It’s a great gift.

For you today, I offer a snippet of a poem by Wendell Berry entitled “Manifestor: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”:

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute.  Love the Lord.
Love the world.  Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag.  Hope to live in that free
republic for which is stands.
Give your approval for all you cannot
understand.  Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Taylor Mali is a teacher, poet and performer who demonstrates the power of spoken word poetry.  Here’s a video of him reading one of his poems.  He has many other poems on YouTube that are well worth watching:

If you are reading this via email or mobile device, you may need to click on this link to see the videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEBZkWkkdZA

1 thought on “Lenten Discipline — April 8”

  1. when I read poetry I read it how it was written, but apply my own meanings to the words. I am quite sure Mr. Cummings did not have Jesus in mind when he wrote this but I did when reading.

    [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

    By E. E. Cummings

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

    i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

    by only me is your doing,my darling)

    i fear

    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows

    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

    higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

    and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

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