October 31, 2011

Over Donne

Posted in Obedience, Sanctification, Spiritual Warfare, The Christian Life at 8:01 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for You
As yet but dip, coat, dredge, and fricassee.
That I may Your table grace, boil or broil me—
Nay, deep-fry me in hot oil and make me new.
I, but a fast food meal, or week-old bread,
Have hungered a grand feast to be, but how?
My larder’s empty, save for food expiréd now,
Naught but victuals moldy, rancid, and long dead.
Yet dearly do I love You and would be loved entire
But am at best a badly catered bowl
Of swill stewed by the chef You fired.
Sift and sieve me, dice me that I may be whole.
Except You should prepare me, I will ne’er rejoice.
Nor ever prime, unless I be Your choice.

Copyright © 2011 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


Well, here it is then. I have a great deal of serious-sounding poetry, and then there are these pieces that have a satirical edge in an attempt to tell a larger truth. A terrible play on the word “batter” started me down this path of misappropriating John Donne’s lovely sonnet. Since many people (including me and Eve, apparently) have trouble with an over-love of food, I played on this analogy to illustrate the sanctification process. There is little direct reference to the Scriptures, but biblical concepts are just below the surface. I suppose the Scripture that it most reflects is Romans 7, especially verses 14-25:

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ  our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

And in case you were wondering “the chef You fired” is a reference to Satan.


The first version of this poem was completed May 24, 2002, and I revised it on July 7, 2007. When posting it tonight, I rearranged two words and agonized over two other words, then left them alone. One other thing I did was to capitalize the pronouns referring to God, well, most of them anyway. Then I had to come back and find the rest. You would think that if I were going to be a perfectionist I’d be better at it.

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