The Splendid and Solemn Magnificence


The Splendid and Solemn Magnificence of the Holy Father's Poetry

You can read excerpts from The Roman Triptych here. As with all of his writing, the Holy Father blesses us with his poetry. What is particularly moving and noticeable about this work is that it was originally written in Polish, and yet the translation seems so utterly free of the usual infelicities that accompany a translation.

What response is there to such beauty as is so expressly evident in lines like these:

How remarkable is Your silence

in everything, in all that on every side
unveils the created world around us ...
all that, like the undulating wood,
runs down every slope ...
all that is carried away by the stream's
silvery cascade,
rhythmically falling from the mountain,
carried by its own currentócarried where?

The wooded slope and the stream make a reappearance throughout this section of the triptych--perhaps through the whole thing, I've not yet had the opportunity to buy the whole work. That same magnificent, solemn echo occurs in other passages

The running stream cannot marvel, and silently the woods slope down, following the rhythm of the streamó but man can marvel! The threshold which the world crosses in him is the threshold of wonderment. (Once, this very wonder was called "Adam").

He was alone in his wonder,
among creatures incapable of wonderó
for them it is enough to exist and go their way.
Man went his way with them,
filled with wonder!
But being amazed, he always emerged
from the tide that carried him,

I have not been an ardent fan of the Holy Father's poetry. I've liked it on and off. But there is something in the words here, some spirit captured that in the very reading ennobles the reader. It presents us with things always seen and never really grasped, with realities that we choose not to embrace because we choose not to look. All of nature crosses a threshold in man. If that is not an astonishing thought then poetry is wasted. And perhaps many of us have lost that sense of wonder, that sense of the presence of God just beneath the surface of all. Each day we walk in God and through God and with God. Like sunshine, He is all about us and ignored, through His power we see--in Him we live and move and have our being. Those words might become hollow if we don't pause to hear them and make them real. Do we acknowledge every day that we move in Him, and by Him we are moved? Do we really live in Him? Is there any live outside of Him? And what does it mean to have our being?

Poetry leaves some scratching their heads--the words seem to force a disconnect--but what is probably more proper is that they force the proper connect. Without poetry, the Divine remains hidden--ever present, but unattainable because only metaphor and simile can begin to touch the Face of Being.

If you get a chance to do so, read the Holy Father's book of poetry. I've a sneaking suspicion that it will be a rich source of reflection, affirmation, and support. It convinces me more than any other work, that the Holy Father has a deep, abiding, and thorough-going connection to God. He has for some time. And this poetry seems to suggest that he is experiencing his own dark night. Remember every day to send him your love in prayer. Send a heart with wings unto the throne of God so that He might shower it back down upon His precious, wonderful, obedient, faithful servant.

Shalom to all. He is Risen indeed! We do not need to touch the wounds to feel the beating of His heart in our lives.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 27, 2003 12:49 PM.

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