Not Your School’s Reading List 4: The Faith in Verse
At Intellectual Takeout, we strive to offer not only commentary on current events but also tangible advice for engaging with our increasingly chaotic world. That’s why we’re proud to present this ongoing series of literature recommendations.
This week’s entries include poems musing on topics from nature, ordinary life, and war, all within a Christian perspective. These poets show how faithfulness and Christianity intersect with all areas of life, all within the package of thoughtful, eloquent words.
Read the previous list here.
1. John Milton. “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent.” c. 1655.
“God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
2. Anne Bradstreet. “Night when Others Soundly Slept.” c. 1672.
“What to my Saviour shall I give
Who freely hath done this for me?
I’ll serve him here whilst I shall live
And Love him to Eternity.”
3. Phillis Wheatley. “A Hymn to the Evening.” c. 1784.
“So may our breasts with ev’ry virtue glow,
The living temples of our God below!
Fill’d with the praise of him who gives the light,
And draws the sable curtains of the night.”
4. Mary Wortley Montagu. “Constantinople.” 1718.
“Those lofty Structures once the Christian boast
Their Names, their Honnours, & their Beautys lost
Those Altars bright with Gold, with Sculpture grac’d
By barbarous Zeal of savage Foes defac’d.”
5. William Blake. “The Lamb.” 1789.
“He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child.”
6. Lord Byron. “The Destruction of Sennacherib.” 1815.
“The tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal.”
7. G. K. Chesterton. “Lepanto.” 1911.
“In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war.”
8. Edgar Lee Masters. “Emily Sparks.” 1915.
“Work for your soul’s sake,
That all the clay of you, all the dross of you,
May yield to the fire of you,
Till the fire is nothing but light!”
9. John Crowe Ransom. “Sickness.” 1919.
“God be thanked by dying men
Who comrades them in times like these,
Who dreads to see the doom come down
On these black midnight canopies.”
10. Wendell Berry. “Duality.” 1991.
recalls us to Itself. We move
with motion not our own,
light upon light.”
Image credit: RawPixel-Magnus Enckell, CC0 1.0