Poet’s Confession

Commentary

I recently began listening to the Audible recording of Augustine’s “Confessions.” Last night, before falling to sleep, I was watching a lecture by James K.A. Smith on “Augustine Our Contemporary.” Just as I got too sleepy to watch anymore, he was talking about authenticity, and how that resonates with modern thinkers.

So, when I woke up this morning, my mind went immediately into writing this poetic response. The subject occupies a large part of my thinking. What is real in my everyday behavior, and what is fakery? By God’s grace, I believe there HAS been progress in becoming sincere, authentic, genuine. But the cost of that transformation is a clearer view of what remains untransformed.

Side Note on Pain and Pleasure in Writing Poetry

Writing poetry is a strange activity for me. My recall of language is spotty. In fact, it would be rare for me to be able to quote even one of my own poems. I look back on them and wonder, “How did that come out of my feeble mind? I can’t put the words together now; how did I do it then?” Words are often just beyond reach. Simple words. It’s a little painful. Just now, I needed to look up the video I reference above, and for a few seconds, I could not think of the word “YouTube.” If this had not been a weakness of mine since youth, I’d be worried.

So, you may be able to understand why writing poetry is a special pleasure for me. It is a small triumph, a pleasure to balance the pain of a language deficit. It is very much like the pleasure I experience in reading Scripture for a worship service, or even in recording my poems. There was a period in my life (Junior High through High School) when I had a speech impediment that interfered with smooth reading and speech. To be able to pull off a reading or recitation now without major hickups is a small triumph. It’s pleasure to balance pain.

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