Poetry

Anyone can write poetry.  (Note, I did not say that anyone can write great poetry, but that’s OK.)  Poetry is a creative expression of the outer world as viewed from our inner world.  Anyone can do that.  It doesn’t have to rhyme.  It doesn’t have to flow.  It doesn’t even have to make sense to someone else.  Poetry allows words and the images they create to communicate truths and feelings we might not be able to put on paper any other way.  The psalms are all poems, for example.  If you would like to try writing some poetry but you are hesitant about it, you could start by spending some time in the book of Psalms.  Then try writing your own psalm about your own experience of life.

Below you will find one of my favorite poems.


Who Am I?

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
from prison, March 4,1946

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.
Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.
Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!

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