Saturday, 14 July 2007

Taste the Rainbow

As I believe I said before somewhere, I feel that, in modern Christianity, poetry and the poets have been rather eclipsed by the music and musicians, particularly what my friend Corny describes as "middle of the road rock music." One thing I really admire about Druidic Paganism is the bardic tradition, of which poetry was a vital part. We have the Psalms, of course, but nothing more recent than that is used in services, while new hymns or "worship songs" are popping up all the time. I think that's a good thing - the Church needs to move and change with the times and with its members, but where's the new poetry? Not only is there no poetry used in worship, but there seem to be precious few decent Christian poets around at the moment. The last I can think of is Gerald Manley Hopkins. Sure, there's trite, twee little rhyming ditties about, the kind that make me inclined to murder (not Christian), but where's "the world is charged with the grandeur of God?" Like music, poetry is a wonderful way to reach people, and I feel that's being wasted at the moment.

I had a brief discussion over at PFFA with Little Skittle on the subject. Skittle said some very worthwhile stuff:

"I certainly draw my conclusions or ponderings from my understanding of biblical revelation. Poetry was a means of prophecy - it was a means of praise. Though many seem to imagine praise as simply singing - praise involves far more than that. Praise greatly involves the fulfillment of relationship with God. One can note this often within the Psalms as they often speak of seeking God's presence or experiencing God's presence. I see language as a means of communication with God, especially considering we often think in language. That's why prayer becomes so meaningful, especially meditative and repetitious, simple phrases."

"I would agree - music has taken a certain monopoly in worship. I am a Lutheran, and though the music does comprise much of the service, the liturgy is essentially important as well, and I find a good balance between the two at times, especially during Holy Week. Every Sunday service we recite a psalm, either through contemporary re-wordings of translations, direct translations focused on the parallel forms of Hebrew poetry, or as hymns. Christianity, of course, focuses greatly on scripture.That, of course, is not the same as Paganistic bardic traditions. Those Scots just amaze me sometimes (the Irish only occasionally). I certainly should be interested to see some of their techniques adapted or incorporated into a Christian service."

"Poetry, for me, furthers this relationship but also shares this relationship with others. Through the expression of this relationship with God, we share the experience with each other and contribute to the 'relationship triangle' between the neighbour, God, and us."

"Sir Phillip Sydney, in his "Defence of Poesy", certainly speaks to poetry as a prophetic art, and the classic roles of poets as prophets, intellectuals, etc. in communities. Scops, acting as the community library for small groups in the middle ages, certainly acted as the wise counsel for the community."

Clever Skittle. :o)

1 comment:

astairesteps said...

It's too late here, and my mind too foggy, to reply in full. But in regard to your question about lacking Christian poets/singers, I've a few I like to listen to--especially when I'm in need of a good strong lyric to fill my soul.

Mark Heard
David Wilcox
Keith Green
Don Francisco

I also like old Margaret Becker--maybe it's her Irish heritage or her hunger for God, but throughout my teen years I connected with her music as if she was singing my life.