There is not, throughout the whole book called the Bible, any word that describes to us what we call a poet, nor any word that describes what we call poetry. The case is, that the word prophet, to which latter times have affixed a new idea, was the Bible word for poet, and the word prophesying meant the art of making poetry. It also meant the art of playing poetry to a tune upon any instrument of music.
This poem or “prophecy,” appears in the book Jeremiah, with the last two lines written by Thomas Paine in 1794;
“O! that mine head were waters and mine eyes”
Were fountains flowing like the liquid skies;
Then would I give the mighty flood release,
And weep a deluge for the human race.
So, in this sense, poets and song writers are modern day prophets. They don’t “predict,” as the modern day use of the term “prophesy” means today. Poetry and songwriting can be “prophetic,” or “prescient,” in many cases. Some truths never change. Some art is timeless, like this poem by Ralph W. Emerson;
A moody child and wildly wise
Pursued the game with joyful eyes,
Which chose, like meteors, their way,
And rived the dark with private ray:
They overleapt the horizon’s edge,
Searched with Apollo’s privilege;
Through man, and woman, and sea, and star,
Saw the dance of Nature forward far;
Through worlds, and races, and terms, and times
Saw musical order, and pairing rhymes.
Walt Whitman is said to have been the first to publish free verse and escape the chains of rhyme. Here is one of my favorite examples;
I Hear It Was Charged Against Me
I hear it was charged against me that I sought to destroy institutions,
But really I am neither for nor against institutions,
(What indeed have I in common with them? or what with the destruction
Only I will establish in the Mannahatta and in every city of these
States, inland and seaboard,
And in the fields and woods, and above every keel little or large that
dents the water,
Without edifices or rules or trustees or any argument,
The institution of the dear love of comrades.
I am no Emerson or Whitman, but I’ll add two of my own;
Hope For Man
Ah! That eternal carrot dangling from its
Stick, forever before the eyes of man.
The unreachable promise forever in our future,
And our songs of harmony in a darkened past
Groped for that dangling prize
Just out of reach:
A promise moving away from the promised;
A ghostly seeking for that shiny shore.
Now is our blood coursing through our veins,
With each drawn breath of the present,
A place not clouded by (then and yet),
Nor is life unfettered to (I did) and (I will do):
The eye and ear decipher truth in light
And never in the deep dark pitch of night.–Killgore Trout
Oh Sweet You
Oh! Sweet you
In your wonderful so-ever innocence;
You sparked my primordial heart.
This charge of renewal traversed
Your eyeless fingers,
To kiss my fingerless eyes.
Truth really is beauty
And ugliness scorns unlike.–Killgore Trout
In the time it takes
To read a poem,
A bird stills it’s song
And at the end resumes;
As if to know
A poet’s love.–Killgore Trout
I hoped you enjoyed this piece and I welcome any feedback and hope to see some of your originals, or just some of your favorites by other poets. 😉