I am so grateful to share this poem which, to my great honor, Mark Saline wrote to respond to my Sunday post, “This is the way I play with the Bible.” Mark writes this to me: “I intended to show you what YOUR poetry evokes … I read poetry daily and dabble in writing only occasionally. Poetry and song are the only Old Speech languages which allow the angels and animals in us to commune in holy howl.”
Hugging It Out with My Bible
Here’s the playground on which my bible rubs against others
learning to get along and being healed of our bullying ways…
It sits on a book shelf squeezed between Dr. King, Jung, Rumi,
Etty Hillesum, Wiesel and other books where it learns humility
which ropes in My Stupid if I Cowboy Preach by Man’ splainin’.
As in a circle dance I docey-doe its shelf position as a partner
to other wisdom: Maya Angelou, Annie Dillard, Wendell Berry,
Joe Campbell, James Baldwin and books on fauna and flora.
I walk my bible to school every day and sit it in a desk between
The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Black Elk Speaks ,Tao Te Ching,
or the Irish Book of Kells. No grades in this peer led classroom.
Sometimes my bible has a hard time in school not bullying others
in talking with my books on science, biology, physics, or evolution.
Mystics soothe and talk my bible down from its lonely lofty perch.
For playmates I befriend my bible with poetry and song books,
science fiction, and Gary Larson or “Far Side” cartoon books
stirring its soul to joy or imagination. Ever heard a bible laugh?
My bible shuns people’s Bible Ego if used as a prop to perform.
My bible is happiest when it is received as a balm of grace, or as
prophetic hope. It laments loneliness as justice calls go unheard.
In its most intimate and vulnerable moments my bible confesses
it longs to be held by human hands, read by eyes, quoted by lips,
or pondered by hearts rather than gathering dust in dark corners.
Once it spoke to me with salty tears running down its cover:
“How happy if I were a word made flesh as Jesus and you.”
Its cover is cracked, crevassed, and bent like an old saint.
I no longer study my bible but we hug it out as on the nights
I hugged it in bed when my mother died, or when my Ex left,
when my dog ran away, and when I got text fired from a job.
Yes! Baked and squeezed in the library of loaf and cup, instead of cocked and loaded in the up-armored Humvee of hate. May I bring my bible to hang out with yours?
May the words of our mouths match the meditations of God’s heart!
Love these images!
Rev. Caroline V. Dennis, pastor
Beautiful poem. These personifications indeed make it possible to view the Bible as a friend. Love this line:
Once with tears running down its cover
it told me: “I wish I were a word made flesh like Jesus and you.”
Yes! Exactly that line!
My favorite line as well, though the last stanza is amazing.