The Religion of Poetry: Writing as Worship

It was in the late decay of August, under the large white VIP tent, backstage at an outdoor music festival that I first saw him in person, a rock idol and poet I had admired for some time.  And as if I knew what I was doing I closed my book and impetuously walked right over and introduced myself.

He invited me to sit with him; we talked about travel, music and poetry.   Self-aware and spontaneous, I was just entering my twenties and barely an adult; he was handsome, worldly and accomplished.

After our conversation and signing my copy of his recent book, in parting he smiled up at me and said,

“There are secrets in words…”

His pale blue eyes threatening my false bravado as he looked at me.  I am a writer as well,” I had offered casually.  I lied.  Or so a little birdy told me as I heard myself chirp, “I write poetry.”

At least, it felt like a lie.  But feelings themselves can be deceiving.

Because, I thought, isn’t it a lie, or sin, or something when you say things that you feel to be untrue, even if it isn’t?  Maybe it wasn’t so much a lie then as it was a disbelief of the truth.

Which I was pretty sure was the very definition of sin itself…

I was going to hell; I felt sure of it.

But if my fate was sealed, it was with an autographed copy of some of my favorite poems clasped closely to my chest as I skipped back to tell my friends of my recent encounter and confess my pride and blasphemy.

I did write (in many small journals, almost daily) and often it poured out through the expression of poetry.  However, since the sky-eyed poet’s words were printed, and illustrated, bound within entire books devoted solely to his words, I felt his words were more valid.  He was a real writer, obviously, so I guessed that meant that I, therefore, was not.  His words mattered to many, while mine only mattered to me (or so I thought).

But his words, though published, did not invite company and I felt almost as if I was intruding by revealing that I had read them.  My words, well, they were still a mystery since no one had read them but me.

Poetry is personal and writing, like a religion that requires faith to be believable.

There is a piety in poetry and the other way around.

So I poured out my prayers on page after page in poetry and prose, and practiced my devotion to writing.

And slowly over the years it grew into worship.


© Una-Melina // Worthy Books & Things, 2014.
One Response to “The Religion of Poetry: Writing as Worship”
  1. diamondhalo says:

    So it wasn’t a lie, you telling him that you write…

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    © Una-Melina // Worthy Books & Things, 2012-2017.

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  • An award-winning poet and freelance writer, Una-Melina is the creator and curator of Worthy Books & Things, an online community interested in Faith, Culture, Creativity & Family where she fearlessly blogs about her life, art, faith, family, and ministry.

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