Lenten bonus: A Poem and a Psalm/Psong

At a recent pre-concert panel discussion on the controversial topic of translating Bach cantatas into English, PW read this English translation of a poem by German theologian Dorothee Sölle. This is from Sölle’s book Revolutionary Patience (published in English in 1977, with poems written in the original German in the late 1960s and early 1970s). It seems like a good reading for Lent, and my Joybrain found a perfect Psong pairing: “Born to be Loved,” from Lucinda Williams’ new album “Blessed.”

When he came (10)
by Dorothee Sölle

I don’t as they put it believe in god
but to him I cannot say no hard as I try
take a look at him in the garden
when his friends ran out on him
his face wet with fear
and with the spit of his enemies
him I have to believe

Him I can’t bear to abandon
to the great disregard for life
to the monotonous passing of millions of years
to the moronic rhythm of work leisure and work
to the boredom we fail to dispel
in cars in beds in stores

That’s how it is they say what do you want
uncertain and not uncritically
I subscribe to the other hypothesis
which is his story
that’s not how it is he said for god is
and he staked his life on this claim

Thinking about it I find
one can’t let him pay alone
for his hypothesis
so I believe him about
god

The way one believes another’s laughter
his tears
or marriage or no for an answer
that’s how you’ll learn
to believe him about life
promised to all

Lyrics to “Born to be Loved”:

You weren’t born to be abandoned
You weren’t born to be forsaken
You were born to be loved
You were born to be loved

You weren’t born to be mistreated
And you weren’t born to be misguided
You were born to be loved
You were born to be loved

You weren’t born to be a slave
You weren’t born to be disgraced
You were born to be loved
Hmm hmm, you were born to be loved

You weren’t born to be abused
And you weren’t born to lose
You were born to be loved
You were born to be loved

You weren’t born to suffer
And you weren’t born for nothing
You were born to be loved
Hmm hmm, you were born to be loved


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One response to “Lenten bonus: A Poem and a Psalm/Psong

  1. Thanks, dear heart–it’s all you need to know.
    And doesn’t the poem have it right, ‘the way you believe another’s laughter’–mmm hm.

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