The Improbability of Poetry as Religion by Scott Owens

Poetry will never be a religion,
though its adherents are zealots
and believe it can lead to epiphany,
salvation, the thing with wings,
though its mythology is complete
and just as sordid as any
faith worth its salt,
full of desire and incest,
fallacy and betrayal,
though it engenders spirituality,
morality, sanctimony,
though it places the word first.

Still, none have gone to war for poetry,
or hell for not believing in pantoums.
None have been denied matrimony,
public office or citizenship
for practicing metaphor, assonance,
the shameless pursuit of meter.

No, poetry will never be a religion,
for it knows no heresy or sacrilege,
asks no one to die for it,
and offers no unassailable answers.

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8 Responses to “The Improbability of Poetry as Religion by Scott Owens”

  1. priscampbell Says:

    I like this very much! The approach is unique and written with Scott’s usual grace.

  2. I suppose Scott’s poem is as close as I’ll get to church today, zealot that I am.

    An excellent poem, Scott!

  3. All I know, Scott, is that I was an poetry agnostic as you are. And then I wrote a poem that brought my wife back to me. Yes, I went to war for her, and that is all the war and all the God and all the splendor I ask of a poem! If I lived my life for that one verse, so be it, and that is why I continue to write, because I know it is magic and it can make things happen! I BELIEVE! 🙂 All that aside … great poem, Scott, as always.

  4. Eesh, I started to write “an agnostic” and then put “poetry” before it … now I look like “a illiterate.” Sorry …

  5. This is one of the most insightful things I have ever read. Thank you.

  6. wildgoosepoetryreview Says:

    Thanks to you all, and Harry, don’t worry about it. I have trouble with that stuff too until I’ve had an drink or two.

  7. Roxie Powell Says:

    Scott Owens poem above eloquently renders some of the paradoxes of conventional religion allowing their inherent absurdity to stand in stark contrast to something as multiplexed as poetry. Poetry wins every time. And one is allowed an “Ah ha” relaxed breath.

  8. tamdehart Says:

    Reblogged this on Tam DeHart.

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