This poem is about following the living spirit and abandoning dead words.
He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
(Ezekiel 37:3 NASB)
…the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3:6 NASB)
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
That can hold no water.
(Jeremiah 2:13 NASB)
When I consider all of the book racks,
And all of the old, dusty paper stacks,
I think about the trees that had to drop,
So we could fill each office and bookshop
With all the thoughts that men have ever had,
Where, side by side, converse the good and the bad;
And all the thoughts that were half-baked and cheap,
Are these the thoughts we need to hold and keep?
Do we believe that inspirations end?
That we should keep every notion penned?
Do we believe that the past must prevail?
Must we preserve the thoughts that are now stale?
Here is the question that we should address:
Can we ever move forward and progress
If we retrace the former steps and road?
Or does that stop the spring where genius flowed?
Can pages live if there’s no spirit there?
With life and genius, what can compare?
Where do our good notions come from now?
Can they ensure our lives will last, and how?
If we can learn from the past, we should learn
That there is wisdom that we can’t hoard or earn;
It comes when we need it, and learn to hear,
For spirit loves to help and to make it clear;
If we have faith in life’s renewal,
We can turn our books into fuel
(For the body and not for the mind),
And when we’ve thrown out the old, we’ll find
That spirit will return and make us new,
And all things will sparkle in our view,
And all of life around us will be
As free from the past as we are free.