Marvin K. White (far right) with his fellow #BlackLivesMatter immersion participants
In honor of National Poetry Month, we invite you to read “God Writes the First Line of Poetry Genesis 1:1-6,” by MDiv student Marvin K. White. Marvin is serving as a pastoral intern at Glide Memorial Church.
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
“And” is a conjunction.
So then God is “The” conjunctive.
God is the “AND”.
God serves to join us.
God requires connectivity.
God takes us jointly or God does not take us at all.
I know you so well I can finish your sentences.
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
God is about fluidity.
3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
God is the first light bulb going off and the first inspiration.
God is the first line of poetry.
4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
God is the first line break. God breaks God’s lines so God can take a breath.
5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
God is the first stanza.
Creation then is about God making sense of it all.
The only response to formlessness can be poetry.
God hovered until God needed a break.
And then God began editing.
So much of creation was God journaling.
So much of creation was God freewriting.
So much of creation was God spitting bars.
So much of creation was God’s stream of consciousness.
God the open mic.
God the spoken word artist.
God the itinerant artist.
God the vernacular artist.
God the visionary artist.
God the folk artist.
God just willy-nilly filling all of space
Like that blank piece of paper we so often face.
Poetry is our God response to hopelessness.
Poetry is our God response to state violence.
Poetry is our God response to inequalities and inequities.
Poetry is our God response to poverty, homelessness,
The inadequacies of healthcare and glass ceilings for women
And people of color.
So when we say poetry is revolutionary at Glide, we mean it.
When we say poetry saves lives at Glide, we mean it.
Because our poetry,
And our stories
And our “re-mything”
Is the appropriate response to “Why are they still killing us?”
Because our poems and our writing is the only way to answer our children, “Will they mistake my skittles for a weapon?”
Because our participation in creation, is the only way to break down metaphorically,
And to transform their hate of us into energy,
“Why are they kicking us out of our home?”
“Why is there no medicine for my condition?
“Why is there no food on my table?”
“Why can’t I work if I want to work?”
6. And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
God, The Water Cycle,
God, The Continuous Movement
On, Above and Below
The Surface Of The Earth.
God, in the major dips of our lives,
God The Thin Ice, The Tall Glass, and The Epson Salted Soak,
God, who when think, we are drowning, preserving us.
When I go through my phases, God the liquid, the solid and the gas.
Reshaping the geologies of the Earth, God.
Poetry, then like The Water Cycle, and the firmament, is essential for life.
We are made from evocation and to be evocative…
The Poetry in us
Is the God in us
Because we are the making sense and the meaning of it all.
We are the revision.
And the new word count.
We are the spell checked.
And beloved, today we are the freed verse
Because we know that Poetry in the hands of God’s people,
is always about flow.