What if it’s all Rhythm?

Open score.

J.S. Bach, Mass in B Minor, vocal score (Photo: Claire Stewart)

I saw poet Phil Long perform at the Faith and Culture Writers Conference last April, and amidst the torrents of words and images that flowed from his heart and through his lips surfaced a question about life that became the focus of his poetic whirlpool.

“What if it’s all poetry?”

I thought about that question tonight as I finally sat down after a long day to clear my thoughts and tackle this week’s Five Minute Friday. And soon, another question arose in my mind.

“What if it’s all rhythm?”

Rhythm, along with language, is the essence of poetry. Rhythm is what gives poetry its structure, its drive, its emotion and often even some if its imagery.

That’s why a line like “Seagulls swooped overhead, periodically pausing to punch holes in the surf” creates an visual image beyond the meaning of the words. Alliteration, onomatopoeia,  and the length and pacing of words gives the sentence a rhythm that matches the movement within the scene.

Rhythm is also the essence of life. We exist in time. Our hearts beat at a regular tempo. Day and night cycle regularly and our biology cycles with it.

Us and all living things.

So maybe the question is this. What if we—and just we—are both rhythm and language, the essential elements of poetry? And what if we—and just we—are both because we alone are made in the Image of God? What if the whole universe is a symphony composed and conducted by God, and through us what was once the inexpressible beauty of the divine has become known as God set words to the music?

What if the universe, the whole of creation, is rhythm and melody and harmony, and it is we who are the poetry?

And what if that is what makes us uniquely in the Image of God?

Five Minute Friday

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4 thoughts on “What if it’s all Rhythm?

  1. David – thanks for sharing this. The impact of Phil Long at our Faith & Culture Writers Conference lives on. I love your musings: “What if we—and just we—are both rhythm and language, the essential elements of poetry? And what if we—and just we—are both because we alone are made in the Image of God? What if the whole universe is a symphony composed and conducted by God.” – So true-

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  2. Michael P.Havens says:

    I think about this, in a sense, from the negative, though my end point is not negatively derived. Sin, while having no essence, wrecks the rhythm, poetry, and “music”, that sets us apart in the universe. What I’m trying to say is that it is easy to see what we are genuinely when we see what the opposite does, or wrecks, and see the imbalance it “creates”. There is a way that we are designed by God that makes a consistent, and dare I say it “harmonic” sense, while we are being genuine in return, to God’s design. God’s Ikons (Us), are true works or art, because we point back to our Creator, who in turn, points His genuine love back to us. We as Creation long to return to the potter Who made us. The Dance of Eternity.
    Thank you for your thoughtful post, David.

    Like

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