Does the Left Even Do Poetry?

This post was inspired by InsanityByte’s* blog yet again. She inspires sometimes. She at least never leaves me feeling neutral on topics of interest. I wasn’t exactly sure how poetry was related to the Religious Right (see title) after having read it, but there seems to be a sense that western Christianity is like a shiny bauble, all outward show, with no art and no depth enough to keep its members, let alone to write poetry.

As I mentioned in her comments, there really is no collective western Christianity. A Southern Baptist does not speak for a Quaker, nor does a Quaker really know what’s up with those Seventh Day Adventists. Some of these churches barely eek out enough to pay rent on a strip mall hole in the wall: there is really no show to be had. If we want to talk Catholicism, poor diocese end up sharing priests, forcing one overworked man to give Mass at multiple churches, multiple times a week. Meanwhile, megachurches boast thousands of members and worship leaders who wear $1000 sneakers (someone did an exposé on this; it’s a real phenomenon for worship leaders).

But if there’s one thing all human institutions share around the world, it’s the inclination towards corruption and exploitation of people and funds. It’s found in churches, schools, government offices — wherever people with authority are found. Sometimes, the more petty the authority, the more corrupt. That’s why we’re admonished by Jesus not to follow hirelings but to follow Him instead, as he is the Good Shepherd who will never abandon his sheep, not even those in western Christianity who chase after baubles.

While I sympathize with people who abandon churches because they find them corrupt and shallow, I already know that for every one person who has left over unaddressed trauma, there are several more who left because living by God’s standards is too difficult. They want to shack up with their gay or straight partners. They want to murder their babies. They want to eat steak while collecting welfare (envy is rife in our society). They want to live how they want, and far from just accepting illicit lifestyles, many church congregations still say, no, absolutely not; you can’t be a member in good standing and live that way. And so they leave the “hatefulness” of Christianity behind.

This is related to poetry, and I’m about to show you how. You see, there were evil forces at work in this country all throughout the 20th century. Forces that worked to destroy the family unit through feminism, homosexuality, no-fault divorce, and abortion rights. This is real and documented: these were the avenues communist chapters sought to destroy our society. And yes, they really did get together in chapters to plan how they would accomplish this. These people infiltrated schools from elementary through post grad, tearing down beautiful traditions and replacing them with garbage. This applies to the arts and languages, though it is much harder to do in the sciences and math. No, it was much easier to bring in mass secularism so that God could no longer be the bedrock, the cornerstone, or the inspiration of scientific exploration, with annoying and disingenuous appeals to we study science, not religion.

Now, there are people who snidely claim the religious right doesn’t do poetry. No, of course, they don’t because it was coopted by the left, who queered every historic work of literature after dismantling it through a Marxist and Freudian lens. Then they determined that rules pertaining to language and grammar were snooty, not for true Bohemian artist types, who ought to have no restrictions placed on them. Stream of consciousness puked on the page and then workshopped in poetry classes in universities everywhere became the true meaning of poetry, along with subjective advice akin to “I’m just not feeling that third word from the right. Maybe give it a unique spelling?” As an aside, when I brought home a stack of poems from my first Freshman poetry class, my dad snarkily remarked, “I guess there are no virgins in that class,” as — if you could discern their meaning at all — sex was a popular subject.

It’s no wonder the religious right doesn’t write poetry! This is, of course, not correct. The religious right writes praise songs, which are sadly infected with the same destruction of the arts: stream of consciousness, tiny vocabulary, no punctuation, no meter, no rhyming. These songs are impossible to sing. They can hardly be called poetry, but neither can anything the left writes. There’s a reason society has all but abandoned poetry, except the kind in popular songs, where cheap rhymes and universal feelings about love still occur with regularity. Mediocre as pop songs may be, they provide a framework that the rest of the arts and literature dropped like hot coal.

Given all of this cultural destruction, the fact that western Christianity is still standing at all is a miracle that only God could be responsible for. The walls are still there. Biblical morality is still preached in pockets. In very traditional churches, they might even sing vestiges of Amazing Grace, a hymn written long before the destruction of poetry, a hymn inspired by an extremely religious-right movement to end chattel slavery. In fact, you’ll find much of the best historical English poetry was written by the religious “right”, despite the corruption of the Catholic or Anglican churches in England or, later, of the Puritan or Separatist churches in the US. Sure, the right can write poetry. Some still do. I do. Phil Wickham does (he’s a good modern songwriter). You’ll find them if your goal is to search through the post-postmodern ashes for signs that God, his church, and beauty still exist.

*Just to be clear, this is a response inspired by Insanity’s post, not an attack on hers because I get everything she’s saying and have had similar thoughts myself.

15 thoughts on “Does the Left Even Do Poetry?”

  1. This is hilariously well-said.
    I really like what I have found here so far. (I arrived via Insanity Bytes.)

    “Stream of consciousness puked on the page and then workshopped in poetry classes in universities everywhere became the true meaning of poetry, along with subjective advice akin to “I’m just not feeling that third word from the right. Maybe give it a unique spelling?”

    This is the most poetic sanity I have found in one sentence since Sylvia What’s-her-face stuck her head in that oven. PREACH it, baby.

    BTW I spent a glorious Xmas house-sitting for a friend in Albuquerque back in the late 90s. I love the SW, lived in AZ and CO for many years, hitch-hiked all through those states…

    I will follow your blog. I struck gold here today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is what happens when I try to write too quickly! I don’t quite say what I mean to say. The powers that be were trying to destruct our traditions and institutions. One of the bulwarks of our Christian culture was the scientific process. You can dumb down language, you can tear down old forms of literature, you can splatter paint on a canvas and claim it’s as good as Leonardo DaVinci, but you don’t have science if you destruct the scientific process. So they came at it from another angle and went to a secular model that removes God from the equation. It’s quite true evolution corrupted our education a long time ago. It was, in fact, used as an excuse to propagate a eugenicist philosophy that is still uneasily present to this day.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I too like hymns. But I’d also take any number of praise songs written 30 or 40 years ago, when they were still singable. The Catholic church isn’t big on music, but they do have a combination of hymns and the occasional old-fashioned praise songs scattered throughout Mass. When I was Lutheran, it was all heavy German hymns, which are equally difficult to sing if you’re used to the Anglo/Irish style a la Fanny Crosby.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. My church continues to sing Hillsong music in spite of the scandals and wacky teaching from that particular congregation, sigh . . .
      Give me Isaac Watts and the Wesley bros any day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Leftoids aren’t exactly rolling out the red carpet for Christian in poetry. I don’t think they (poet-types) would really want conservative Christians writing poetry. They get triggered by nativity scenes, how are they gonna cope with a Christian writing honestly in “their” niche?

    I’m exaggerating with a lot of this. But for all the blather of inclusivity, that magically doesn’t seem to apply in this case, does it?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Have you seen the Apologia anti abortion videos on YouTube? Not slam poetry, but they will picket abortion clinics. Some of the reactions of counter protestors are downright demonic. It reminds me we really are fighting a spiritual battle. There’s a reason people lose their minds over that subject.

        Like

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