God made us to enjoy beauty and to imitate his wondrous creativity as an expression of worship (cf. Exodus 31:1-11). Unfortunately, the church today too often neglects the arts as a serious Christian pursuit. To address this deficiency, I will post some poetry occasionally as a reminder and challenge to all of us (myself included) to embrace the artistic as a means of embracing the Artist.
This is a poem I wrote in 2001 as a prayer of confession. It is my own personal Psalm 51, so to speak. The almost violent imagery is a tribute to John Donne’s masterful work “Batter My Heart.” I hope it will be an encouragement to others—perhaps even as a model prayer—in the same way that Donne’s poem has always been an encouragement to me.
Paroxysmal pleasure, meet sudden pain,
As white blood spills red blood of th’ unbent reed;
Transient, fleeting, the former can’t feed
Lust’s unassuageable maw. Now are twain
Body, spirit, insatiate each: the one
For surfeit, the better for want of bread.
Raw meat arousèd hot, leftover feed
Cannot fill what can bread of God alone.
O Jesus! penetrate my maidenheart,
In doing so, unspoiling spoiled flesh.
Return to my lover me—virgin, fresh—
That I may lie from him no more apart.
Enter me that I may be satisfied,
Chastity to live now that death has died.