Two Poems - Two Poets

 Proper 10A’20

12 July 2020

Is.55.10-13; Mt. 13.1-23

St. Luke’s on Facebook Live

North Little Rock, Arkansas

The Rev. Carey Stone


“[The] word that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Amen. - From Isaiah 55

In place of my homily this morning I have brought a couple of poems to share with you, and I would like to tell you what they mean to me. Poet, David Whyte says:  “Poetry is language against which you have no defenses.” The way I like to think of it: “Poetry gets to our hearts before our minds can construct an argument.” They tell us the truth in ways that

The first poem is by the 14th century Persian poet, Hafiz. His poems point to a God who speaks a beautiful language of love that weaves together, religion, humor, and spirituality into an infectious whole.

 

Cast All Your Votes for Dancing 

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.
 

 

[ Depression is condition that can be immobilizing, its invitations are all the more compelling during a pandemic.]

 

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.
 

 

[We are all susceptible to certain vices, that don’t give up and die hard.]

 

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

[Trials, and temptations like nothing else can draw us closer to God – the God whom Hafiz calls a “the Friend.”]

You can stay that way
And even bloom!
 

[When we abide with God, we can thrive and bloom even conditions are scary and harsh.]

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions’ beautiful laughter.

[I Love the imagery of “squeezing drops form the Sun” finding ways to bring in the light. Prayer, work, music, fellowship, and laughter are pretty good ‘Sun drops.’]

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

[Our God is an incarnated God – a God who comes to us in the flesh and blood of humanity. Our God still comes to us in the persons of our brothers and sisters, and in unexpected people and placesand in our bodies that are temples of the Holy Spirit.]

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

[What an arresting image of being drug behind a farting camel, not really a place I care to be. The devil may come wearing a blue dress but an image of a farting camel tells us the real truth! That can be a great image when faced with temptation – see yourself behind that camel.]

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And Love.

Whenever you say God’s name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions’ beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,
Be wise.
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

~ Hafiz ~ 13th century Persian Poet

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – II Timothy 1.7

 

[We are biased against the darkness and favor light. It may be counterintuitive to think of God inhabiting dark places, and God still being present when we find ourselves enveloped in darkness.]

The Psalmist wrote: “Clouds and darkness are round about him, righteousness and justice are the foundation of is throne.” Psalm 97.1

And Again:

“If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night,” Darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike.” – Psalm 139.10-11

[Into just such a time as this comes a ray of darkness that can be frightening, we can’t see what’s ahead, or what dangers lurk. But this is not the whole story there are positive elements to the darkness and David Whyte captures the up side to moving through a period of darkness.]

 

“Sweet Darkness”

by David Whyte

 

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your home
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you

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