C.S. Lewis on Poetry

The Psalms are poems, and poems intended to be sung: not doctrinal treatises, nor even sermons. Their chief formal characteristic, the most obvious element of pattern, is … the practice of saying the same thing twice in different words. A perfect example is … ‘He shall make thy righteousness as clear as the light; and thy just dealing as the noonday’ (Psalm 37:6). If we have any taste for poetry we will enjoy this feature of the Psalms. Even those Christians who cannot enjoy it will respect it; for Our Lord, soaked in the poetic tradition of His country, delighted to use it. ‘For with whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you again …’ (Matthew 7:2)

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

— Reflections on the Psalms.

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