Friday, November 14, 2014

Fearful Reconciliation in Casualine Meyer's "Reflections on Hebrews 10:31"

The opening stanza in this poem caught my attention quickly. I read through the poem and decided I had to go read Hebrews 10:31. It is interesting that this poem made me want to open the bible and read the verse for myself. The verse in Hebrews reads,  
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

My interpretation before reading the verse and after was completely different. After reading the verse, the image in the first line, "Far more fearful to leap from them" was clearer in my mind. At first I asked myself, "Far more fearful to leap from what?" In my mind, the poet took me on a journey of what it feels like to leap from the safety of God's hands in to unknown and possibly sinful paths. I had to read the poem several times; each time receiving new light in to it's meaning. This interestingly has similarities to my personal study of scripture. I have found that many verses or chapters of scripture take on new meaning and feeling after reviewing them again.

Analyzing this poem, I could identify some formal qualities such as repetition, emotion, structure, and allusion. Hands are referred to five times and the emotion of fear is referred to four times.  To me, one of the more palpable images the author creates is at the end. 

       But faith, there is no sting or breaking in hitting the hands
       of the living God, no matter how artless our fall,
       for we always splash down in the center of either hand
       into a small pool, warm as blood.

As I read this, Christ's bloodied palms from the nails in the center of his hands at his crucifixion, painted a graphic and powerful image. In the Latter-day Saint culture, it is common to refer to the suffering (bloodshed) of Jesus, or Atonement, as a means to find comfort or support. I think the line, " matter how artless our fall" appeals to a core LDS doctrine of forgiveness and mercy to those who come to God, even if mistakes are made along the way.

(357 words)

1 comment:

  1. Reading anything more than once definitely helps us build a stronger understanding. Your notes on repetition are great and I think it's interesting about the use of hands and fear. I agree with your observation on the "artless fall" and appreciate the author's way of describing that concept.