Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Life as a Poet

The Perfect
New Perspective Song

Poet and Muse

Several years ago, I started composing poems that can be sung to the tune of Happy Birthday for my family - wife, sons, daughters-in-law, and granchildren - and posted them on Facebook. This has exposed me to snarky remarks, almost all coming from those whose special day I celebrate, especially the wife and sons. Such things as "Keep your day job" and "Not your best effort" and "Pretty lame" have been posted beneath my poems.

But this has not deterred me from continuing to produce my poems. The life of a poet is often a lonely life. We know that the unwashed masses will never appreciate our art and that whatever recognition we may receive will likely come long after we have passed from the scene.

We poets don't write for acclaim. We are the voice of our Muse. We do not have a choice about writing our poems. We write them because we cannot not. Yesterday I had such an experience. 

I was working on a daily project when suddenly there came into my head at the same time the New Perspective on Paul and the Wesley hymn "And Can It Be." Very quickly, unsought by me, a verse came. It was a gift of the Muse. Such a gift is meant to be shared, so I posted it on Facebook and sent it to some friends via email. This subjected me to more snarky responses about my keeping day job (why I don't know, as everbody knows I don't have a day job) from my Bishop and an old friend.

But poets are their own judges about their poetry. I confess that I indulged myself in the conceit that I had written the perfect New Perspective song. But then I had doubts. 

I remembered what David Allan Coe said when Steve Goodman sent him the lyrics to what Goodman claimed was the perfect country and western song. David Allan Coe wasn't buying it. He wrote his friend back and told him that the song did not achieve what he thought, because it didn't say anything about "mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk." Goodman wrote another verse and sent it to Coe. Coe was compelled to acknowledge that Goodman had achieved perfection and so included it on his next album. You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin', Darlin'

This morning I was nagged by the thought that I had not yet written the perfect New Perspective Song, so like Goodman I sat down and wrote another two verses. 

The NPP Song
Te Wrigtum
Sung to the same tune as And Can It Be?

And can it be that Paul did not agree
With Cranmer, Ridley, nor with Latimer
They thought I needed to stand 'fore God
With sins forgiven because Christ died,
And righteousness imputed to me
Because Christ lived obediently,
Received by faith, but they could not foresee
That Wright would find the long lost key.
Long our imprisoned spirits lay
Fastbound in Trent and Luther's thought;
Wright's pen a new perspective brought:
It's not your pers'nal guilt and sin;
It's all about cov'nant membership,
You need not have the bound'ry signs,
But you must stay in by faithfulness,
Or fin'lly not be justified.
No more philosophy shall have its way,
Corrupting all the church's theology;
Now exegesis shall hold the sway,
Along with redemptive history;
No more shall systems still impose;
They dealt with questions that are no more.
Now we are free to follow NT -
only Biblical theology.

Now I am compelled to say that I have written the perfect New Perspective song. If you don't agree, I consider it to your inability (perhaps not your fault, especially if you have an uncultivated appreciation for P&W lyrics) to appreciate good poetry. Like I said, we poets live lonely lives.

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