Sunday, December 31, 2006


I was in the process of reworking some of my incomplete poems from 2006 and then I read somebody else's poem this morning and I was deeply moved. The poem is taken from the book "NEW AND SELECTED POEMS: 2006" by Stanley Moss. I don't know if you enjoy poetry like I do and, if you don't, may I suggest you read through the poem below several times and let it sink in. However, there's a quote I wanted to share with you first.

"The poetry of the ages is an argument with God, so it is said; but not many poets attempt it today. Stanley Moss does." --Hayden Carruth

Of course, that is a "blurb" that is meant to sell poetry books, but I love the description of poetry as an "argument with God." I think having an argument with God is a worthwhile endeavor and I highly recommend letting all your truth fly when you're talking with God. Of course, God's going to win the argument, but he is first and foremost a compassionate God and he's going hear you out and change you in the process. I think that's what I love about poetry, the act of reading or writing it changes me in some way.

If you're reading this blog post right now I truly wish you a meaningful year ahead in 2007 and I am thankful to count you as a friend. Anyway, here's the poem that affected me this morning, the poem I want to share with you on this, the last day of 2006 . . . .


I salute a word, I stand up and give it my chair,
because this one Zulu word, ubuntu,
holds what English takes seven to say:
"the essential dignity of every human being."
I give my hand to ubuntu --
the simple, everyday South African word
for the English mouthful.
I do not know the black Jerusalems of Africa,
or how to dance its sacred dances,
I cannot play Christ's two commandments on the drums:
"Love God" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
I do not believe the spirts of the dead
are closer to God than the living,
nor do I take to my heart
the Christlike word ubuntu
that teaches reconciliation
of murderers, torturers, accomplices,
with victims still living.
It is not blood but ubuntu
that is the manure of freedom.

--Stanley Moss

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Blogger Jon Hall said...

What a powerful poem. This impacts me in so many ways. As you recommend, I will sit with this a spell, and let it steep.

Thanks for championing poetry in the way that you do for the rest of us, Doah. Really. It's this kind of stuff that gets beneath the veneer of the urgent everyday things that so often dominate my landscape, and helps reveal that abundant life Jesus called for on our behalf.

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