NaPoWriMo Day #26: Translations

Today’s challenge is a “call and response” poetry style in which you write a call of sorts, and then a response. This immediately made me think of a song my priest would sing every now and then after Mass was over when I was in Catholic school. It went like this:

Little children, do you love Jesus?
Oh yes we love Jesus.

Do you really love Jesus?
Yes we really love Jesus.

Tell me why you love Jesus
This is why we love Jesus: because He first loved me.

And then we’d sing: Oh how I love Jesus (x3), because He first loved me. 🙂

Just made me think of that childhood memory. I won’t be answering this prompt today, but I wanted to share that with you guys haha.

So this came from a sermon in my parish two Sundays ago. It really really struck a chord with me, and I tried to express the main concept being discussed throughout the homily in this poem. I think it’s important we read original translations of text, because sometimes the meaning gets lost more definitely. I’d like feedback on this, if you wouldn’t mind giving it! Had a little trouble constructing the poem, so. 🙂


The English word “love”
looks like one thing.
We often based its meaning
on the words surrounding it.

But sometimes the magnitude
of its message
gets lost in translation.

In the Bible there was Peter
and Jesus questioned him
on whether he loved him
and Peter, confused,
said yes.

But that wasn’t what Jesus
was asking him, contrary
to our eyes as we read.

Agape,
the word from his mouth
agape,
unconditional love.
Agape? He said.

And Peter,
confused,

And Peter,
preturbed,

And Peter,
distressed,

replied
phileo.

Agape,
Jesus pressed.

Phileo,
Peter returned.

And to us,
we only see the word.
A word to encompass all things.
A word ranging from mild to inflammatory,
confined and ever expanding.

Our English text can hide something more important.

Love is 1,000 things and one thing all at once.

And Jesus knows this.

And Jesus asked agape,
and Peter said phileo.

1. “Peter,
do you love me unconditionally?”

“Why, yes Jesus,
I love you as a good friend.”

2. “But Peter,
do you love me unconditionally?”

“Yes, Jesus. You know I love you as a good friend.”

And finally, for the third time,
Jesus asked: “Peter.
Do you love me as a good friend?”

“Yes, Jesus.
I love you as a good friend.”

And the tables turn,
and the telescope
with which you were reading through
becomes so much wider and fuller
and real.

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2 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo Day #26: Translations

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