July 4, 2010

I was just looking at a new Christian poetry journal, and while I like the list of impressive poets, I wonder still. Why do we just assume that the way we see the world is a given: that's the way it is? Clearly, this is not so. How did St. Francis, Brothers Ruffino, Masseo, Bernard, Juniper, and Leo see the world is the better question? Our poetry should reach for that gift. What we've gotten since the Reformation has been a movement toward enlightenment stuff: Shakespeare was right! He WAS brilliant, of course, the best, but was he right? He had a great heart for suffering, humanity, issues, but was he spot on about the human condition? For one, I'd give just about anything to walk two miles with St. Francis, to somehow change my life's vision for the saint's. That's what it's about. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of either hearing slightly bored Christian poets lecture us about the horizontal dimension in their poems when they have so little of the vertical going on, or of them doing the same old metapoetical tapdance, or of them delivering the same Holy Spirit Protestant elevated "saved" stuff (fifteen years on). The first two are beyond mundane. They're boring. And the third, though blessed, ends up being just more of the same old bidness.

Jesus, change us so we see the world as we ought to, if you can change us that much?

The danger here is, of course, sounding falsely pious (or rah, rahing it like Chesterton). How can a poet sound like what he doesn't have access to? Pray, pray, pray. It must be possible. May we all be part of a new poetry.