The Psalms are Poems

Most emphatically the Psalms must be read as poems; as lyrics, with all the licenses and all the formalities, the hyperboles, the emotional rather than logical connections, which are proper to lyric poetry. They must be read as poems if they are to be understood; no less than French must be read as French or English as English. Otherwise we shall miss what is in them and think we see what is not. (p. 3)

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It seems to me appropriate, almost inevitable, that when that great Imagination which in the beginning, for Its own delight and for the delight of men and angels and (in their proper mode) of beasts, had invented and formed the whole of Nature, submitted to express Itself in human speech, that speech could sometimes be poetry. For poetry too is a little incarnation, giving body to what had been before invisible and inaudible. (p. 5)

Selections from the introductory chapter of C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms.

I just finished the book of Psalms for the first time (that I can remember). It is such a beautiful. Yet, it is so easy to forget that these Psalms “are poems, and poems intended to be sung: not doctrinal treatises, nor even sermons” (p. 2). I am looking to read this book of Lewis’ in order to help me understand what lies behind the Psalms, hopefully to return soon in order to know how better to give glory to God–because if I were to summarize the Psalm in one word, it would be “glory.” Everything is for the Glory of God.

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One thought on “The Psalms are Poems

  1. Jews, Catholics, the Orthodox, and Anglicans keep the doxological setting of the psalms alive. Hearing them sung transports the worshipper into the divine presence.

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