Monday, January 10, 2011

The Wounded Spirit Healed

I was a stricken deer that left the herd
Compendium of English Literature
Publ - E.C. & J Biddles
Long since. With many an arrow deep inflix'd
My panting side was charged, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades,
There I was found by one who had himself
Been hurt by the archers.  In his side he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars,
With gentle force solicting the darts,
He drew them forth, and heal'd, and bade me live.
-William Cowper p.738

William Cowper (1713-1800) is fast becoming one of my favorite poets, his life was tragic in many ways, yet his verse is filled with the grace and light of Christ's salvation. After raving about Cowper, editor of Compendium states "We might thus fill many pages with encomiastic remarks upon the poetry of Cowper, but the reader would rather taste of the original for himself."  Tangent: His letter "An Epistle in Rhyme" is absolutely "roll on the ground" funny. Love that.

As to the difficulties of Mr. Cowper, he remained unmarried.  He also had at least four serious bouts of depression, the first one being marked by an attempt on his life.  He did however have  a few loyal friends that looked after him, although they were not without jealousies which must have caused Cowper some feeling of isolation.

A survey of Cowper's life makes me ponder what has changed so markedly in the human experience in  the last 250 years that the "Church" in general, overall, (I am not sure which word works best for my meaning) has so divorced struggle from christian life.  We no longer embrace struggle as the common experience of life, nor do we see gratitude as compulsory in the most basics of our blessings.  We, I am filled with entitlement and in great need of repentance. 

Mr. Cowper's poetry is powerful.  I really like it.  "Knowledge and Wisdom" hooked me, "The Wounded Spirit" calls me to gratitude, the others, well I could pontificate... or I can "read and taste the original works".

I had written a poem for Christmas Eve, my daughter's sweet critic, truly, it was spoken in gentleness, made me smiled with joy in the hope of covenental succession (progression-something like that). 
Critic, "Mom, it has really great content, and I see your contrasts, but it is chaotic and lacks rhyme and meter."
My response, "Ummmm. Kay."
Seems I have bad Romanticism chaos running around in this brain of mine.  I want to work on that.

Enter project, posting and reading Cowper for the next 30 days, learning about and trying my hand at real poetry.  "Ummmm. Kay."

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