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Blog // Thoughts
January 22, 2007

Poetry And Religion

Religions are poems. They concert our daylight and dreaming mind, our emotions, instinct, breath and native gesture into the only whole thinking: poetry. Nothing’s said till it’s dreamed out in words and nothing’s true that figures in words only. A poem, compared with an arayed religion, may be like a soldier’s one short marriage night […]

Religions are poems. They concert
our daylight and dreaming mind, our
emotions, instinct, breath and native gesture

into the only whole thinking: poetry.
Nothing’s said till it’s dreamed out in words
and nothing’s true that figures in words only.

A poem, compared with an arayed religion,
may be like a soldier’s one short marriage night
to die and live by. But that is a small religion.

Full religion is the large poem in loving repetition;
like any poem, it must be inexhaustible and complete
with turn were we ask Now why did the poet do that?

You can’t pray a lie, said Huckleberry Finn;
you can’t poe one either. It is the same mirror;
mobile, glancing, we call it poetry,

fixed centrally we call it religion,
and God is the poetry caught in any religion,
caught, not imprisoned. Caught as in a mirror

that he attracted, being in the world as poetry
is in the poem, a law against its closure.
There’ll always be religion around while there is poetry

or a lack of it. Both are given, and intermittent,
as the action of those birds – crested pidgeon, rosella parrot –
who fly with wings shut, then beating, and again shut.

– Les Murray

[tags] Spirituality, Religion, Poetry [/tags]

Responses
Linz 16 years ago

Great poem! When I handed John Caputo, “On Religion” to my wife Suzie yesterday I said it was “Theology as Poetry”. BTW I’m not ignoring your tag but am caught up in some stuff I have to get done in the nect day or two, then I’ll sit back and consider…

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Look forward to the theology book ideas…

…and yes it is a standout poem. I keep coming back to it at least a couple of times a year.

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