Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – 9th 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 13:31-33, 44-52

 
 

CLASSIC POEM:

The Pearl
George Herbert

I know the ways of learning; both the head
And pipes that feed the press, and make it run;
What reason hath from nature borrowed,
Or of itself, like a good huswife, spun
In laws and policy; what the stars conspire,
What willing nature speaks, what forc’d by fire;
Both th’old discoveries and the new-found seas,
The stock and surplus, cause and history;
All these stand open, or I have the keys:
Yet I love thee.

I know the ways of honour; what maintains
The quick returns of courtesy and wit;
In vies of favours whether party gains
When glory swells the heart and moldeth it
To all expressions both of hand and eye,
Which on the world a true-love-knot may tie,
And bear the bundle wheresoe’er it goes;
How many drams of spirit there must be
To sell my life unto my friends or foes:
Yet I love thee.

I know the ways of pleasure; the sweet strains
The lullings and the relishes of it;
The propositions of hot blood and brains;
What mirth and music mean; what love and wit
Have done these twenty hundred years and more;
I know the projects of unbridled store;
My stuff is flesh, not brass; my senses live,
And grumble oft that they have more in me
Than he that curbs them, being but one to five:
Yet I love thee.

I know all these and have them in my hand;
Therefore not seeled but with open eyes
I fly to thee, and fully understand
Both the main sale and the commodities;
And at what rate and price I have thy love,
With all the circumstances that may move.
Yet through the labyrinths, not my grovelling wit,
But thy silk twist let down from heav’n to me
Did both conduct and teach me how by it
To climb to thee.

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

 
 

CONTEMPORARY POEM:

On the Parables of the Mustard Seed
Denise Levertov

SNIPPET:

Who ever saw the mustard-plant,
wayside weed or tended crop,
grow tall as a shrub, let alone a tree, a treeful
of shade and nests and songs?

[ 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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