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Ode on an Ephesian Urn

During the last month I’ve enjoyed some Keats, and reacquainted myself with his famous Ode that I remember learning at school. What a picture he paints. Those lovers who grace the urn’s side, so close to sealing their affection with a kiss, but caught forever in the ‘potential’ and never in the ‘actual’. Are they happy or not? Keats muses. That is, are they happy to be forever young in the pose of eternal desire, or to be pitied for never tasting real love?

I was inspired to attempt an ode myself, in the same English format, which I thought was rather good, until I showed my wife, who returned it without comment. Ah! Real love! Perhaps it would have been better to have kept the poem in the ‘potential’, like the Grecian lovers, than to have stolen the kiss, only to endure the grief of not being asked for another!

Praise God that he writes better poetry, and I don’t just mean his greatest composition, where his Word-becoming-flesh was anything but static. I mean me. For says the Book, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, that I am one of God’s poems. (‘Workmanship’ my version says, but the Greek word is poiema.) Now there’s a joy and a challenge. To be grateful for the ode that God has written, and especially when his pen is dipped in grace. And to respond to his creative work with energetic service and animated love.

DM 31st August 2020

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