Were Every Stalk on Earth a Quill…

Were Every Stalk on Earth a Quill…

On this last day of April and of National Poetry Month, and after a stretch of work toward deadlines and a web site that disappeared (yes, my site just vanished!), let’s look at another poem that couldn’t be more fitting for this occasion.

Writing to God may feel intimidating or too big to know where to start. We’re not alone. Where to start, and where to stop! The apostle John at the end of his gospel says this about all the things Jesus did while on earth: “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Or the poetry!

Someone else felt this way about describing the God’s love. Read the lines he wrote:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

My pastor shared these lines in a sermon last week and when I did some research this is what I discovered. The words were found scrawled on the wall of an insane asylum after the patient had died and been carried to his grave. A troubled spirit had moments where he was lucid enough to understand how vast the love of God.

Often poetry, like much of art, spills from those who know anguish and troubled minds, yet who even in all their anguish can see a few things clearly. It’s because poetry finds a way like none else to say what lies deep and seeks expression. And sometimes, especially where God is concerned, it puts words or images to what is beyond expression.

I like this line from a movie: “We all have poetry inside of us. We just need to let it out.”

Thanks for enjoying poetry with me this month. We’ll come back to more, but for now I hope that you’re inspired to create with words, to slow down now and then to express what lies deep inside. God, the Creator, waits to meet with you as you embark on one of his favorite activities.

Continue to share your poetry with me and with others! You can do that here at Living in the Word anytime!

Thank you to Frederick Lehman and his daughter, Claudia Mays, who put the lines above into the hymn “The Love of God,” in 1917.

[Thank you to sure2talk/Flickr for the use of your photo!]





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