Bring a poem to your place of worship

Year

2004
Bring a poem to your place of worship

Whether your spirituality leads you to a temple, church, sacred site, or theater, poetry and metaphysics often make a synergistic coupling. If you believe, as Wallace Stevens said, that "we define poetry as the unofficial view of being," bringing the art of language in contact with your spiritual practices can deepen both.

Many of our most beloved poets wrote with deeply spiritual convictions. Religious texts and chants are themselves often filled with exquisite verse, and a bit of research can reveal the rich tradition of poetry in each religion. Many of our poetic methods and inspirations have descended directly from these collections.

Additionally, reading a wide variety of spiritual poets can strengthen the argument for what Bhagavan Das called "the essential unity of all religions." Try bringing Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit priest, to your zendo. Try bringing Wang Wei, a Ch’an monk, to your synagogue. Try bringing Yehuda Halevi, a medieval, Spanish Rabbi, to your place of quiet contemplation.

Regardless of your beliefs, places of worship are among the few places in the world where the hope that words can transcend perception is most extant.