27/30 and 30/30 - imperfect perfect and the last

 

The last post of this “notLockDown” Poetry sharing, I realised I have so many more poems and poets on my shelf to share! But all things must end. And since no one poem would be fitting, I share something that is not a poem. It is epistolary but so poetic in its construction, intensity and profundity - and written by a Tax man!

One difference between this past month and “Circuitbreaker” last year was that we all could have 2 visitors a day. There was no question that these 2 girlfriends would be part of my “social bubble”! And last night as we bantered over a low carb zhichar (cos we are that age) about everything and nothing, the conversation turned to relationships and this chapter of the Bible 1 Corinthians 13 - that famous chapter on love written by taxman-turned-evangelist Paul.

The love it speaks of is not that of Eros or Philos or even Caritas, the Greek the word used is Agape - an unconditional, perfectly giving and perfecting love - realised only because God loves. But even though we can never be perfect in how we love, we are drawn to what Paul sets out.

The past month, I am most grateful for the words and acts of kindness and patience and generosity from people. All our imperfect reflections of a perfect love from God help make this notLockDown bearable, even pleasurable for one another.

(The paragraph breaks are original but the line breaks are mine, to highlight how inspired and beautifully constructed his prose is.)

I Corinthians 13 - 
“If I speak in the tongues of men 
or of angels, 
but do not have love, 
I am only a resounding gong 
or a clanging cymbal. 
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, 
but do not have love, 
I am nothing. 
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, 
but do not have love, 
I gain nothing.

Love is patient, 
love is kind.
It does not envy, 
it does not boast, 
it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor others, 
it is not self-seeking, 
it is not easily angered, 
it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil 
but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, 
always trusts, 
always hopes, 
always perseveres.

Love never fails. 
But where there are prophecies, 
they will cease; 
where there are tongues, 
they will be stilled; 
where there is knowledge, 
it will pass away. 
For we know in part 
and we prophesy in part, 
but when completeness comes, 
what is in part 
disappears. 
When I was a child, 
I talked like a child, 
I thought like a child, 
I reasoned like a child. 
When I became a man, 
I put the ways of childhood behind me. 
For now we see only a reflection 
as in a mirror; 
then we shall see 
face to face.
Now I know in part; 
then I shall know fully, 
even as I am fully known. 

And now these three remain: 
faith, hope and love. 
But the greatest of these is love.”

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