Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – 14th Sunday After Pentecost (Year A)


Each week we carefully curate a collection of  poems that resonate with the lectionary readings for that week (Narrative Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary).
 
 

*** Revised Common Lectionary ***

Lectionary Reading: Matthew 16:21-28

 
 

CLASSIC POEM:

Ascent of Mt. Carmel
(Excerpt)
St. John of the Cross

In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything,
Desire to have pleasure in nothing.
In order to arrive at possessing everything,
Desire to possess nothing.
In order to arrive at being everything,
Desire to be nothing.
In order to arrive at knowing everything,
Desire to know nothing.
In order to arrive at that wherein thou hast no pleasure,
Thou must go by a way wherein thou hast no pleasure.
In order to arrive at that which thou knowest not,
Thou must go by a way that thou knowest not.
In order to arrive at that which thou possessest not,
Thou must go by a way that thou possessest not.
In order to arrive at that which thou art not,
Thou must go through that which thou art not.

When thy mind dwells upon anything,
Thou art ceasing to cast thyself upon the All.
For, in order to pass from the all to the All,
Thou hast to deny thyself wholly in all.
And, when thou comest to possess it wholly,
Thou must possess it without desiring anything.
For, if thou wilt have anything in having all,
Thou hast not thy treasure purely in God.

*** This poem is in the public domain,
and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.

 
 

CONTEMPORARY POEM:

East Coker
(Excerpt)
T.S. Eliot

SNIPPET:

In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

[ READ THE FULL POEM ]

 
 

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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