Blog Posts on Poems

Our Last Child Leaves Home

John Piper

Our last child — our only daughter, our only adopted one — just graduated from high school. As you may imagine, this is a time for reflection. We have had children in our home — in our marriage — for 42 years. Now, in a matter of weeks, we will not. That is massive.

The last time I lived with my wife without children was in Germany in the middle…

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How to Read a Book

John Piper

It’s that time of year when students and teachers are going “back to school” after the summer vacation. John Piper describes this new poem as “playful, though serious,” and we hope it will both clarify and energize the productive enterprise of reading, whether you’re starting a new semester or reading the daily news. – Editor

On Reading Well
A Meditation on C. S. Lewis’s
Experiment in Criticism, pages 100–101…

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The Gospel of the Wall of Jericho

John Piper

Your wall, O wicked Jericho, your ancient, mighty wall,
         Your shame, where you have made your infants’ blood renowned,
                  Your boast, your monument, your Babel, tall
                           And endless on its side, bent ’round
                                    Into a ring, a thrust,
                                             Betrothing you
                                                      To dust;

         Your wall, your peace, your life you thought would ever thrive,
                  Now hollowed with four centuries of pride
                           Into a labyrinthine hive
                                    Of honeyed lust inside,
                                             With brothels…

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New Poem: ‘The Book of Life’

John Piper

Before the night he was betrayed,     
     The Lord of glory died;
Indeed before the world was made, 
     The Lamb was crucified.

Before the sin, the spear, the lash 
     (Eternal was the flood!)
God put his inkwell at the gash,
     And filled it with his blood;

Then with his crimson ink and quill,
     A holy world compiled,…

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New Poem: ‘Now Is An Age’

John Piper

Now Is An Age
On Reading John Donne’s Death, Be Not Proud

One night, as I sat reading 
    Before the fire, and casting
        Calm shadows on the door behind my chair,
    I saw the everlasting,
And all the world receding
         Here, and lodged this prayer:

“O God, all joy exceeding,
    O Christ, forever living,
 …

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The Jagged Void (A Poem for Grieving Mothers)

John Piper

When the tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, nine children died in the Plaza Towers Elementary School. I’ve been thinking about their parents, especially the mothers who bore them — and trying to imagine the void. And the more I think, the more the whole battery of recent losses crowd in on my mind — Newtown, Boston, Philadelphia, my own church. I wrote this for those mothers — perhaps …

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Grace Forfeited: A New Start for an Old Tradition

David Mathis

It’s a new start for an old tradition in American Journalism, says Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of World Magazine. The news poem. Says Olasky,

Hardly a vile murder or a military victory went by without colonial poets bemoaning or celebrating the occasion in verse, with the work then published on a single page “broadside” and sold for a penny. Happily, my favorite pastor/theologian, John Piper, is also a poet, and below…

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A New Poem: If You’re Alive, It’s Not Too Late

John Piper

Too Late

At concourse G, gate seventeen,
     My sweat and panting pleas
That obstacles were unforeseen 
     May have been fantasies 
For all they cared of where I’d been.
    The door was locked within.
“I waited at another gate,”
     I pled. They said, “Too late.”

I wait, and weary, fall—hurled back
    Through sluggish centuries—
Asleep. The roof of my poor shack
    Unrhythmic’ly taps. These
Drops of rain suddenly…

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Hope for the Hurting This Christmas (Video)

John Piper

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered what became of the innkeeper in Bethlehem who let Mary and Joseph have their baby in his barn?

Did he have little children? When the soldiers came from Herod, did they hunt for the birth place of the dangerous baby and start the slaughter there? What did it cost the innkeeper to house the Messiah in his first hours?

In the poem called The

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Chief of Sinners: 1 Timothy 1:16 and Galatians 1:15

John Piper

I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. . . . He set me apart before I was born, and called me by his grace.

 You were aflame, a Pharisee.
      I  was. Without a flaw.
Then blameless? Perfect purity?
     Yes, in

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