10/14/12

I Corinthians 13 as a "Found Poem"


A "found poem" is what happens when someone recognizes the lyrical qualities of a pre-existing prose text and releases the underlying poetry, the way Michelangelo talked about "freeing" the figures (statues) "imprisoned" within the marble.

(See Wikipedia for a longer and more precise discussion.)

If I speak in the tongues
of men and of angels,
but have no love,
I am like a booming gong
or a clanging cymbal.
If I am gifted with prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and I possess a faith
that can move mountains,
but have no love,
I am nothing.
If I give all I have to the poor
and deliver my body to be burned,
but have no love,
it gains me nothing.

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never ends;
but where there are prophecies,
they will cease;
where there are tongues,
they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge,
it will pass away.

For we know in part
and we prophesy in part,
but when completion arrives,
what is partial will come to an end.

When I was a child,
I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child –
but when I became a man,
I put childish ways behind me.
For now we see but a dim reflection,
but then we shall see face to face;
now I know partially,
but then I shall know fully,
just as I am fully known.

So faith and hope and love abide,
these three –
but the greatest of these
is love.

2 comments:

  1. I really like this post. Good food for thought. Just happened to hit at a time when it was exactly what I needed to read. Thanks as always for your insights.

    ReplyDelete

Leave a comment. It's not like I'm asking you to write on a stone tablet or anything.