Religions are poems. They concert
Our daylight and dreaming mind, our
Emotions, instinct, breath and native gesture
Into the only whole thinking: poetry.
Nothing’s said till it’s dreamed out in words
And nothing’s true that figures in words only.
A poem, compared with an arrayed religion,
May be like a soldier’s one short marriage night
To die and live by. But that is a small religion.
Full religion is the large poem in loving repetition;
Like any poem, it must be inexhaustible and complete
With turns where we ask Now why did the poet do that?
You can’t pray a lie, said Huckleberry Finn;
You can’t poe one either. It is the same mirror:
Mobile, glancing, we call it poetry,
Fixed centrally, we call it a religion,
And God is the poetry caught in any religion,
Caught, not imprisoned. Caught as in a mirror
That he attracted, being in the world as poetry
Is in the poem, a law against its closure.
There’ll always be religion around while there is poetry
Or a lack of it. Both are given, and intermittent,
As the action of those birds – crested pigeon, rosella parrot –
Who fly with wings shut, then beating, and again shut.