“And this is your brain/faith on…Poetry”


The best things said about spiritual formation are DEscriptive not PREscriptive.

The first time I read Robert Frost’s biography, The Aim Was Song, it resonated deeply with me for reasons I could not explain. What I know now is that the words were describing a process taking place inside me, not suggesting some outlying path I should take.

Barely 30, in Frost’s story I found something of my own. The author of the famous “Two roads diverged in a narrow woods…” poem, invited me to entertain an invitation to a journey with God I may never have heard, had it come in the same form as the initial, more familiar dualistic language of my even younger self. Such is the work of the poet.

In this great post, Richard Rohr teases apart the tangled threads of frequently misunderstood inner experience to help us understand and value it. Read it here.

And, if you care nothing about that, take a look anyway. It is filled with delicious quotes.

What poems, stories, songs, images, etc. have you encountered that seem to tell your story and set you on a new path?

(Again, here’s the link to Rohr’s post in case this app does something I don’t expect:)


6 thoughts on ““And this is your brain/faith on…Poetry”

    • That intersection holds us in a good deal of tension, yes? Poetry helps us live in it, allowing us to experience moments of beauty inside the dissonance. I look forward to checking these out.

      • Yes, indeed. And the penultimate moment of Mindwalk is a poem by Pablo Neruda, read by John Heard. Stunning. Good look finding it! If you can’t, I’ll loan you my DVD via mail.

        Never Cry Wolf’s narration was written by the director, Carroll Ballard, and the lead actor, Charles Martin Smith, after filming was completed. It’s essentially a tone poem. The background is a scientific study of Arctic wolves and their relation to caribou populations.

        It’s back to Neruda: what good is your science (or your theology, or your politics) if it has no heart, no spirit?

  1. Score. Watched the first 5 of Mindwalk. “What if the facade IS the real guy…?” Fear I’m hooked by the snarky friend and his “innocent” politician. Neruda invites require several listenings. Found Never Cry Wolf. Will be watching that with the Hubs. He appreciates the genre, I’ll appreciate the depth of thought. 🙂 Win-Win. Thanks for the tips.

    • You’re quite welcome! I realized I could list a handful of songs that have affected me similarly, and that I revisit from time to time — but movies have had more profound and lasting effect on me than lyric music or poetry. I think it’s the immersion effect. Two hours with a thought vs. 3 minutes, or maybe 5.

  2. Probably depends on how one is hard-wired. I’ve been kept awake many a night by a riff looping endlessly throughout the grey matter. Have yet to experience quite the same things with a plot or line, though I confess, some have quite the staying power. Perhaps that’s why you chose TV and film and I chose jazz. The primordial rhythmic impulse persists.

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