Spiritual Poetry?

Sometime in the 7th century BCE, these words were penned;

The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
There is no way to describe it;
all we can describe is their appearance.

Much the same can be said by way of describing spiritual poetry as spiritual masters. All we at Soul-Lit may attempt is to offer examples of the profound, subtle, and unfathomable experience that for us is spiritual poetry:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.

Mary Oliver

Two lovers talking to each other in Jerusalem
with the excitement of tour guides, pointing,
touching, explaining: These are my father’s eyes you see
in my face, these are the sleek thighs I inherited from a distant mother
in the Middle Ages, this is my voice which traveled
all the way here from three thousand years ago,
this is the color of my eyes, the mosaic of my spirit,
the archaeological layers of my soul. We are holy places.

Yehuda Amichai

They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
“I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.

Wendell Berry

Why Brownlee left, and where he went,
Is a mystery even now.
For if a man should have been content
It was him; two acres of barley,
One of potatoes, four bullocks,
A milker, a slated farmhouse.
He was last seen going out to plough
On a March morning, bright and early.

Paul Muldoon

For years he was cross-eyed, the right turning in
Shyly, and he, shyly ducking his head
To hide the in turning, failed to notice the eyes
Of all others, also in hiding from
The eyes of others, as in a painting of
The subway by Charles Harbutt. Self-denying
Can get you something if behind the blank,
Unwindowed wall, you don’t become a blank,
Unfurnished person.

L.E. Sissman

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all

Emily Dickinson

Surprise me on some ordinary day
with a blessing gratuitous. Even I’ve done good
beyond their expectations. What count we then
upon your bounty?

Interminable: an old theologian
Asserts that even to say You exist is misleading.
Uh-huh. I buy that Second-century fellow.
I press his withered, glorifying hand.

John Berryman