translation of a poem by Andreas Gryphius
From here I ne’er will part! May all the sabers ring!
Grab pike and sword and lance! Use weapon’s every might
and flame, and all that this dark world would deem as fright.
Not death nor Devil tears me from this cross whereon I cling.
‘Tis here, when I am torn by woe and suffering,
when earth and sea rift, and even thunder’s might
roars ’round my head with blades of jagged blood-red light,
’tis here when heavens fall that I remain to proudly sing.
And in face of Satan’s dragons is no trembling in my heart,
for I know throughout all ages will my Savior never part.
And here, if be your will,
shall I meet death’s blow
But You, my humbled Lord,
upraised upon the wood,
bow down your bruised head,
so stained with streams of blood,
and through your gruesome death
shall I eternal slay the foe!
the poem in the original German
An den gekreuzigten Jesum
Hier will ich ganz nicht weg! Lass alle Schwerter klingen!
Greif Spieß und Säbel an! Brauch aller Waffen Macht
Und Flamm’, und was die Welt für unerträglich acht!
Mich soll von diesem Kreuz kein Tod, kein Teufel dringen.
Hier will ich, wenn mich Ach und Angst und Leid umbringen,
Wenn erd’ und meer aufreißt, ja wenn der Donner Macht
Mit dunkelrotem Blitz auf meinem Kopfe kracht,
Ja, wenn der Himmel fällt, hier will ich frölich singen.
Weil mir die Brust noch klopft, auch weder dort noch hier,
Und nun und ewig soll mich reißen nichts von dir.
Hier will ich, wenn ich soll, den matten Geist aufgeben.
Du aber, der du hoch am Holz stehst aufgericht;
Herr Jesu! neig herab dein blutig Angesicht,
Und heiß durch deinen Tod im Tod mich ewig leben!
April is National Poetry Writing Month, affectionately known as NaPoWriMo. It’s a time when people of poetic persuasion are encouraged to write “30 poems in 30 days.”
You may recall that in November I celebrated my own version of [No] NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). And that was good for me.
This month, rather than writing 30 new poems in 30 days, I am going to recycle some (not 30) poems I have already written. This will be National Poetry Recycling Month for me—NaPoReMo, if you will.
I do like poetry. I like the economy of words, and the strong images, and the rhythms and rhymes and alliterations.
But, truth be told, it’s hard to know what to do with a poem after you’ve written it. It’s a language that not many people speak anymore.
That’s the beauty of having a blog—if I want to post my poetry, I can! I can launch it into the world and see if it flies. If it does, wonderful! If it doesn’t, it can simply land back here in the nest, unharmed.
So I’ll start my NaPoReMo with a “cheater’s poem.” (It feels like cheating because it’s a poem based on another poem, commonly known as Psalm 124.) It’s not my favorite poem, but I wrote it as an exercise during a study of the Psalms, and I found that the act of writing poetry helped me identify with the original poet as well as learn some truth about God in my own life.
My Psalm 124
If God had not been on my side—sing it with me!—
If God had not been on my side when people lied about me,
I could have lost my job, (or my mind)
I could have been swallowed up by my own anger,
I might have become consumed with the idea of getting revenge.
And what kind of life would that have been?
Thank you, God, for blessing me
and kindnesses when I need them.
I owe my life (and all my living) to You.