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(Religious content) from "Pihtima Confessions"


dcmarti1
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Yes, Tony, I am fully aware of the title of this collection of Cantos. (For everyone else, pihtima is Estonian for confession.) This poem is a memory of the time I performed an evening prayer service with no one else in attendance.

 

Canto the fifth

 

In this space

I'm not so sure that you would

enter, except to throw

everyone out of,

I'm alone and

I seek you.

 

In this garb

that you never wore, cassock,

surplice, and stole, I feel

compelled to wear them,

and despite this,

I seek you.

 

In these words

from a century that you

had no chance of seeing,

since you were born of

law and woman,

I seek you.

 

In this land

where I wish I was not, I

read and speak of deeds that

I did not see nor

do believe, yet

I seek you.

 

In this time

when I wish I was not, I

long to hear what you said,

not what has been said

you said, and yet

I seek you.

 

In this verse

that surely would have been burned,

that maybe should be burned,

I question all that

I know and still

I seek you.

 

March 2013

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The multiple contrasts against "I seek you" has reinforced the tone and message of the piece, Marti. It's an inner voice well articulated against the more popular (especially in the media) apathy toward spirituality.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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I always find in such expressions of doubt a greater affirmation of faith.

 

thank you for sharing

 

badge

 

You are welcome. And your comment fits well with this, Romans 11:32:

 

for God did shut up together the whole to unbelief, that to the whole He might do kindness.

 

Raised eyebrow, with a Spock voice: "Fascinating!" :)

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The multiple contrasts against "I seek you" has reinforced the tone and message of the piece, Marti. It's an inner voice well articulated against the more popular (especially in the media) apathy toward spirituality.

 

Thanks, Joel. I wanted to start and end each stanza in a similar fashion. Thanks for noticing, and for commenting so positively.

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Hi Marti, I am sure you weren't alone in that evening prayer service. The God I follow would never ignore such humble eloquence.. This is beautiful.

 

~~Tink

 

Thanks, Tink. Oh, and on one of your other comments: Yeah, your guys Vatican III is overdue. :)

 

Peace.

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Just guessing, neighbor: Could "pihtima" translate to "pity me" ?? Humble doubt, yes. That's what I read. It's almost like "forgive me for what I'm about to do. Or not. A contemplative piece indeed. Perhaps you had a shadow of thought of Pope Francis???

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Just guessing, neighbor: Could "pihtima" translate to "pity me" ?? Humble doubt, yes. That's what I read. It's almost like "forgive me for what I'm about to do. Or not. A contemplative piece indeed. Perhaps you had a shadow of thought of Pope Francis???

 

Actually, I was just really looking for a foreign word for confession to put in front of English confession. But your guess is pretty clever. :)

 

I was not even considering Francis. This truly was just a memory of that empty chapel.

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David W. Parsley

dc, I thank you again for bringing your unique voice and sensibility to this site. And in this poem emerges perhaps your most arresting disclosure, most telling wisdom, and most skillful work to date. Indulge me while I celebrate a few of the aspects I most admire.

 

I always find in such expressions of doubt a greater affirmation of faith.

 

thank you for sharing

 

badge

I thought I'd just start by saluting Badger's observation about one of the most compelling aspects of the poem: self-reproaching doubt. Doubt so great, it must be expressed, though the boundaries of that doubt fluctuate. Such doubt practically defines the starting point not just for modern thought exemplified by existential rejection of received systems and studies of the historical Jesus, but of every such spasm in the human collective since the Renaissance (Will Durrant claims that during the Enlightenment, it was even a vogue among ordained priests to claim an atheistic bent). And despite the doubt-boundary-du-jour, there is the one constant: the Seeking. Profound.

 

And then there is the subtle treatment of absence, chronicling an instance of the perplexing phenomenon of sagging church attendance, even as spiritual awareness is resurgent among peoples of the developed world. How to restore relevance? What value is there in reading to those chased from the premises, not by an indignant holy man, but by their own apathy and deliberate choices? In this context must the one persisting servant evaluate his own effectiveness in that service, even his own nadiring doubt quotient. It brings an echo of the Terrible Sonnets of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

 

And then there is the exquisite demonstration of form, noted with fine insight by Joel. What paradox and persistence! How the refraining pang of doubt and futility plays against the insistence of hope, the demand to be heard and ultimately embraced with absolution.

 

I am going to stop there. For now. Forgive me if I come back later and gush some more.

 

Thank You (I think),

- Dave

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Dave: I am stunned into near silence by your kind words. All I can say is thank you. Well, I guess I could also say I am glad you enjoyed it!

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Yes indeed- Echo all the expressed sentiments. This was profoundly moving. I just spent an overnight retreat with the Unitarian Universalist congregation at a local Methodist lodge/camp. Stunningly beautiful retreat center in upstate NY... At any given moment over that 24 hours- I could have read this piece to the gathering with its inherent doubt its great faith and its humble honesty and would have had universal acknowledgement on its beauty.

 

Excellent,

 

Juris

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

Gate(less.png

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I just spent an overnight retreat with the Unitarian Universalist congregation at a local Methodist lodge/camp. Stunningly beautiful retreat center in upstate NY.

 

The church I attend in DC was, in fact, the Universalist "national" cathedral before the merger with the Unitarians in 1961. Our focus is a bit more traditional than your average UUA congregation, but we're still religiously liberal. Thanks for sharing your story and comments!

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Yes, this could go on and on, as a canto must.

Your repetition of form and words works well here, as prayer.

I am a man without prayers, but were I to have any, one of them would be "Question all that you know."

 

 

'Keeper

from the black desert

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