Monday, June 2, 2014

Eugene H. Peterson

Eugene H. Peterson is best known for his popular paraphrase of the Bible - The Message. He was a pastor at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Maryland for 29 years, and is Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver.

Eerdmans has recently published his new poetry collection, Holy Luck (2013). In the introduction, he speaks of how he discovered poetry through reading the Psalms at age 13. He says, "Literal wasn't working for me," although that was the way his church community seemed to expect scripture to be read.

---"I plodded on, quite enjoying the rhythms and images,
---but puzzled how to make literal sense of them. And in
---the process of plodding, without really noticing what
---was happening, I quit trying to figure these psalms out
---and found myself drawn into a world of words in which I
---was no longer a questioner but a participant, and
---enjoying the participation."

The following poem is from his new collection.

The Lucky Hungry


"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness"

Unfeathered unbelief would fall
Through the layered fullness of thermal
Updrafts like a rock; this red-tailed
Hawk drifts and slides, unhurried
Though hungry, lazily scornful
Of easy meals off carrion junkfood,
Expertly waiting elusive provisioned
Prey: a visible emptiness
Above an invisible plenitude.
The sun paints the Japanese
Fantail copper, etching
Feathers against the big sky
To my eye's delight, and blesses
The better-sighted bird with a shaft
Of light that targets a rattler
In a Genesis-destined death.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His new poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.