Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Apologia Pro Vita Sua
The poet in his lone yet genial hour
Gives to his eyes a magnifying power :
Or rather he emancipates his eyes
From the black shapeless accidents of size--
In unctuous cones of kindling coal,
Or smoke upwreathing from the pipe's trim bole,
His gifted ken can seePhantoms of sublimity.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet, born on
this day, 1772, in Ottery St. Mary, Devonshire
I have read several of Coleridge’s poems. He seems to me, frankly, to be rather a Poet of Gloom! Doesn’t his portrait seem like that too?
But! What a fine poem for understanding Holy Scripture ….. anyone’s Holy Scripture. Such writings are like unctuous cones of kindling coal, or like smoke upwreathing from the pipe’s trim bole. It takes a poetic soul - a gifted ken - (preferably not as lugubrious as Coleridge!) to see phantoms of sublimity. That is, the deep Mystery, the Reality clarified. Sharp-edged pictures, often posing as “history”, are presented, like black shapeless accidents of size. But one must ponder the smoke from fire or pipe. One must, as St. Paul said, look through the darkly glass. It is in the mysterious cloud that the Truth is seen - as Moses saw the presence of God through a shining cloud, and the disciples saw Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
In our search for the Mystery of God, we must be like a poet in his lone genial hour. Here is the contemplative calling. Ponder the smoke of Scripture. There lie the phantoms of sublimity ….. of wonder and of grace and of liberation and of peace.