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Contents

  1. For Derrick
  2. Nav view search
  3. Asphodel Press: Devotionals
  4. A Conversation with Eugene Peterson about Poetry
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For Derrick

Mirabeau Bridge Under Mirabeau Bridge the river slips away And lovers Must I be reminded Joy came always after pain The night is a clock chiming The days go by not I We're face to face and hand in hand While under the bridges Of embrace expire Eternal tired tidal eyes The night is a clock chiming The days go by not I Love elapses like the river Love goes by Poor life is indolent And expectation always violent The night is a clock chiming The days go by not I The days and equally the weeks elapse The past remains the past Love remains lost Under Mirabeau Bridge the river slips away The night is a clock chiming The days go by not I.

Guillaume Apollinaire Academy of American Poets Educator Newsletter. Teach This Poem. Follow Us. Find Poets. Read Stanza. Jobs for Poets. How was I to know he thought this provided an experience parallel to reading poetry? He focused on the transition we had made from asphalt to forest. We were just there, experiencing it.


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Once you provided that perception, though, I saw it all over. You really have to intervene with yourself. So my expectations need to shift. I always look for meaning. I want new information, new analysis, new procedures. But Peterson tells me a poet offers a new way of living, a new experience, a different set of receptors. Poets use words to drag us into the depth of reality itself. They do it not by reporting on how life is, but by pushing-pulling us into the middle of it. Poetry grabs for the jugular. Far from being cosmetic language, it is intestinal.

It is root language. I need to create a space. I need to get rid of my operative expectations. I need to be conscious of transitioning. This sounds a lot like my efforts at daily prayer. In fact, Peterson links poetry and prayer, but I think he got that idea from God. Rather they provide a response language—a collection of prayers for personal and corporate use that take us by the hand and lead us into this holy, relational language. We need allies in this call to prayer. You need to shift out of your normal asphalt-driving-to-work-being-productive mentality.

You have to read the poem three times before you start getting the hang of it. We want to tell God what is going on and what we want to happen. We are production-oriented and goal-oriented. In America we have this inordinate emphasis on answered prayer. Strange, really. This is not a biblical emphasis. There is little in the Bible about answered prayer.

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There is no preoccupation with keeping track, with working on a production schedule. The final product of prayer is not a product, it is belief. The poet trains us in that shift of perception so we are no longer as interested in production. There is a wholly different way of dealing with language and with your life. This difference in language styles—prose and poetry—is beginning to shape not only my prayers but also my Bible study.

Asphodel Press: Devotionals

However, I will attend to the transition required by the literature. I hope to enter the liturgical awe of Genesis one, the communal celebration of Leviticus twenty-five, the visceral proclamations of the prophets and the new kingdom rhythms of the beatitudes. In Reversed Thunder Peterson introduces us to St.

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It makes an image of reality in such a way as to invite our participation in it. We know of salvation and the call to discipleship. So, Peterson writes,. But there is danger that through familiarity and fatigue we will not pay attention to the splendors that surround us. I too often act as though a little more theological clarity, a few more facts about the world, and a more pointed word of motivation will provide what my students and congregation need.

Maybe, rather, I can have my imagination rekindled. Then, perhaps, my word-crafting will assist us all in being drawn together and to God. I understand how words are used to destroy. Words have many roles in a society.

A Conversation with Eugene Peterson about Poetry

As a professor and pastor, I am dependent on words. If we were to read poems as regularly as we read advertisements and memos and newspapers, perhaps our language would be more redeemed, more useful. This is work that Peterson ascribes to poets,. Words not only mean something, they are something, each with a sound and rhythm all its own.

Poets are not primarily trying to tell us, or get us, to do something. By attending to words with playful discipline, they draw us into deeper respect both for words and for the reality they set before us. Peterson explains three stages in human language development. This is primary experience.

Language I reappears in the meandering words of lovers. In its maturity, Language I is the sphere of the poet. Language II concerns the naming of things, the making of connections, and the exchange of information. Schools major in language II. Language III is for motivation. We move others with words, whether persuasion, sales, manipulation or coercion. Words have power.