Thursday’s Poem 4/30/09

I am ending this daily poem marathon with *gasp* song lyrics. I’m not going to try to defend these as valid poetry. However you want to classify this, I think anyone with literary sensibilities can appreciate the merits this has beyond the average modern lyric.

“The Word of God”
sung by Kathy Mar ~ lyrics by Cat Faber

From desert, cliff and mountaintop we trace the wide design
strikeslip fault and overthrust and syn- and anti-cline
We gaze upon creation where erosion makes it known
And count the countless eons in the banding of the stone.

Hard long vanished creatures and their tracks and shells are found
Where Truth has left its sketches on the slate beneath the ground
The patient stone can speak if we can listen when it talks –
Humans wrote the Bible, God wrote the rocks.

There are those who name the stars, who watch the sky by night –
Seeking out the darkest place to better see the light.
Long ago when torture broke the remnant of his will –
Galileo recanted but the earth is moving still.

High above the mountain tops where only distance bars
The Truth has left its footprints in the dust between the stars.
We may watch and study or may shudder and deny –
Humans wrote the Bible, God wrote the sky.

By stem and root and branch we trace, by feather, fang and fur
How the living things that are descend from things that were.
The moss, the kelp, the zebra-fish, the very mites and flies –
Tiny humble wordless things, how shall they tell us lies?

We are kin to beasts, no other answer can we bring.-
The Truth has left its fingerprints on every living thing.
Remember when you have to choose between them in the strife –
Humans wrote the Bible, God wrote life.

And we who listen to the sky or walk the dusty grade
Or break the very atoms down to see how they are made
Or study cells or living things, seek Truth with open hand –
The profoundest act of worship is to try to understand.

Deep in flower and in flesh, in sky and soil and seed
The Truth has left its living word for anyone to read –
So turn and look where ere you think the Truth will be unfurled.
Humans wrote the Bible, God wrote the world.

Commentary
Unlike many song lyrics, this is just as beautiful to read as to hear.

Faber has done an impressive job of approaching scientific endeavor with the aesthetics of a poet and the nature-love of a Pagan. Though I don’t believe in God, the sentiment still rings true: the universe is divine enough on its own without venerating the dogmas and creeds of human beings.

This flows so well; despite the longer lines, the rhythm keeps even and the length doesn’t demand more than a long breath; the rhyming is one of the few examples of modern rhyme that doesn’t sound cliche or forced.

She touches on three main branches of science: geology, astronomy, and biology. While doing so, she entangles the intangible “Truth” with the tangible physical world. I, too, live in a world where Truth sketches on the slate. I, too, look to the darkest places to better see the light. I, too, believe that the profoundest act of worship is to try to understand. (The 3 lines I reference are my favorites; so much said with so few words.) This lyric helps me understand my connection to the rest of the universe better, while at the same time able to appreciate the mystery in it.

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2 Responses to Thursday’s Poem 4/30/09

  1. Angele says:

    A Christian who believes in evolution–hallelujah. It makes me want to break into song myself.

    My favorite lines:

    “There are those who name the stars, who watch the sky by night –
    Seeking out the darkest place to better see the light.
    Long ago when torture broke the remnant of his will –
    Galileo recanted but the earth is moving still.”

    But hey, the Catholic Church apologized to Galileo–five hundred years later. (They had a hard time finding the right card.)

    I think that your favorite Cat Faber line could serve as the epigraph for National Poetry Month, and for the poems you’ve compiled on this blog:

    “The profoundest act of worship is to try to understand.”

    Thanks for the posts, Mr. Sydlik.

  2. Dana says:

    I think some of the best, and most valid, modern poetry is found in music. Thanks for posting this. Sorry to hear you won’t be continuing with your daily critique but i enjoyed it while it lasted and it was quite admirable your were as consistent as you were and for so long!

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