The other day, I was meditating on a verse found in the book of Ephesians, in the New Testament, where the Apostle Paul calls us God’s workmanship. That word “workmanship,” in the original Greek, was poiema, which means something made. It is also the word from which we get our English word “poem.”
Totally aside from the awesome thought of being someone that God has carefully crafted as a poet would craft a poem – my thought was, “If I were a poem, which poem would I be?” Yeah, as I said in the title, R-A-N-D-O-M. Anyway, I decided if I were a poem, I would either be one of Shakespeare’s sonnets (#29 comes to mind, “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”) or Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” (probably my favorite poem and one of the very few I’ve actually memorized).
Well, of course my thoughts then sped off to figure out what poems other people would be. I asked my husband, who is not a big poetry reader – all he could think of was Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” as in the thought that he has indeed come out of the fray alive, but not without a lot of bruising and loss along the way. (I think I must’ve asked him on one of those days when he was feeling his years more than usual.) I might have also picked for him one of Wordsworth’s lovely pastorales. (Dare I mention…daffodils?)
We have two sons, the younger of whom is still living at home – so I asked him too. No help from him. But he being the quintessential young man, an epic poem would seem to be the best choice. “Beowulf,” perhaps – or to keep with my own Shakespearean theme, maybe the “Once more into the breach” discourse from Act III of Henry V. Or of course, any good poems about Star Wars.
What about my older son? He’s a bit harder for me to figure out. Not too many well-known poems about biochemistry, that I am aware of. But he’s a man of many parts, so perhaps a haiku by Matsuo Basho. His wife – if not another haiku, she would probably be Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” since she has not been afraid to take the harder routes throughout her life, and is a much stronger person for that.
Their son, my grandson? e.e. cummings’s “In Just-” would be appropriate for almost any little boy, with those delightful and evocative words “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful.” Another good possibility would be “Hiding” by Dorothy Keeley Aldis.
I have decided not to pursue this randomness too much further. But I did think about the senior pastor at our church – a man justly proud of his Scottish heritage and probably the biggest fan of the movie Braveheart that I’ve ever met. For him, what better than something by Robert Burns? And Burns just happened to have written a poem about William Wallace – “Scots Wha Hae.” Bingo!
So what do you think? If you could be a poem, which would you be? A limerick? A haiku? Free verse? Pope? Whitman? Basho?