Here's an old article in Theology Today - Poetry and Theology
by Patrick D. Miller ... ... The images of poetry speak to startle and puzzle us, to provoke us and cause us to think. They set the imagination free, opening the reader to theological possibilities that might be less acceptable or even unthinkable in the essay mode. Images, dreams, personal experiences, sensual realities-all these aspects of our life that are often filtered out of theological work are front and center when poetry is the medium of faith's expression ....
Below are three poems, all pretty different, that illustrate this ...
* The Angels
They all have weary mouths
and bright souls without marge.
And a yearning (as for sin)
sometimes haunts their dream.
They all seem so alike;
in God's garden silent they remain,
like many, many intervals
in his power and melody.
Only when their wings spread out,
they are the awakeners of a wind:
as if God with his broad hands
of a sculptor went through the pages
of the beginning's dark book.
- Rainer Maria Rilke
* O Deus Ego Amo Te
O God, I love Thee, I love Thee -
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
in the everlasting burning.
Thou, Thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach Thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And Thou couldst see me sinning;
Then I, why should not I love Thee,
Jesus, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake; not to be
Out of hell by loving Thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that Thou didst me
I do love and I will love Thee:
What must I love Thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.
- Francis Xavier
/ translated by Gerard Manley Hopkins
* O Taste and See
The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see
the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,
grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform
into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being
hungry, and plucking
- Denise Levertov