Saturday, February 13, 2010

Good news from Emily Dickinson and other poets

Turning away from the Internet, and opening up a book entitled "Christian Verse," edited by Donald Davie, I was pleased to run across this poem by Emily Dickinson:

The only news I know
Is bulletins each day
From immortality;

The only shows I see
Tomorrow and today,
Perchance eternity.

The only one I meet
Is God, the only street
Existence; this traversed,

If other news there be
Or admirable show,
I'll tell it you.

The daily "news" is the "same old, same old"--senseless violence, criminality, and of course war, endless war, with the empty promise of peace...

Ezra Pound once defined "literature" as "news that stays new." Dickinson's poem definitely falls into that category. The good news is "the only one I meet is God," is You, who are reading this and know what I write is a love letter to You, the Divine One within each of us, on this day before Valentine's Day.

Thank you, dear God, for this good news, and for the good news proclaimed in this poem by Charles Wesley:

Love Divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesu, thou are all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.Check Spelling

Today I look forward to going to Walteria United Methodist Church to take part in a hotmeal program to feed the poor and homeless. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than by showing love to God's precious children--including Shaun and Melissa, my adopted homeless family. This hotmeal will be special because I have invited the interfaith community to take part.

Another Christian verse that spoke to me this morning is by Christopher Smart, the 18th century poet who was often confined to a madhouse, but who had the deep wisdom to see that "there's God in every man most sure":

Hymn #9:

Tho I my party long have chose,
And claim Christ Jesus on my side,
Yet will I not my peace oppose,
By pique, by prejudice, or pride.

Blessed be God, that at the font
My sponsors bound me to the call
Of Christ, in England, to confront
The world, the flesh, the fiend and all.

And yet I will my thoughts suppress,
And keep my tongue from censure clear;
The Jew, the Turk, the Heathen bless
And hold the plough and persevere.

There's God in every man most sure,
And every soul's to Christ allied:
If fears deject, if hopes allure,
If Jesus wept, and pray'd and died.

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