Thursday, August 03, 2006

Poem of praise of Prophets...

For some years I have worked at reading The Bible, which means the Old Testament. To aid me in my Bible reading, I've sought out means to hear the Bible read aloud--on tape. Usually, I listen to these tapes in the car. I have a Dove Audio reading of The New Testament (complete), with no music, by Gregory Peck. As you could expect, this is a distinctive recording, and his voice is wonderful (so strong and elegant).

Every word seems understandable. Though this isn't the Bible, per se, I also have a recording, again done by Dove Audio, of Michael York reading the complete text of the Psalms. No music, which is how I like it. This is a more hard to get series of tapes, and searches for another copy have come up unsuccessful. I understand Dove Audio was sold. Too bad.

I started out this exercise of hearing The Bible with a CD set offering excerpts of the Old Testament. The title reads, "Laurence Olivier in a Dramatic Performance Of The Bible, Readings from The Old Testament With Music From The Holy Land. It is enough to take ones breath away. The six disc set comes with a booklet, offering the text to read along when listening. By FCM Productions, London, I haven't the website so can't offer the link here. The recordings were produced by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. It is a thrilling production.

The second set of readings, the complete Bible (New and Old Testament) was the standard and popular Alexander Scourby reading. Done straight; no music. This recording includes the Psalms (of course), and I recommend it highly because it is hard to come by a collection of the books of The Old Testament read aloud in their completeness. I finally did find another offering, and like the others this is also The King James Version. Here are the stars who read: Edward Herrmann, Stephanie Beacham, Juliet Mills, Theodore Bikel, Roger Rees, Roscoe Lee Browne, John Rubinstein, Christopher Cazenove, David Warner, Stephen Collins, Alfre Woodard, Julie Harris, Michael York. This is a more interpretative reading, the in the dramatic sense, than Alexander Scourby's. Remember, straightforward though interpretative, Scourby's reading is less a performance than the one just mentioned, and includes the New Testament. The box says these audio tapes are "unabridged" and I think they are that. The title is "The Bible: Old Testament, King James Version", and it is by Dove Audio consisting of 52 cassettes. New Star Media distributes the set out of Los Angeles, California (USA).

I have been rereading Isaiah with a friend, who is about 85 and in a rest home. This is her first time through Isaiah and I tell you this both as a segue to my poem about reading Isaiah and the Prophets (a praise), and to say I have been influenced in my own readings in Church as a Lector by the recordings that I have heard. This poem was written in 2001, though not as old as the other poems posted so far, I wanted to share it as a statement indicating my love of the text of The Bible, and my efforts to continue to read Isaiah, whom I like so much. I won't say his is my favorite, for I have not settled on a favorite Prophet. The poem:

Prophets, Gospels: comfort, love mysterious ours...(2001)
by Peter Menkin -- Dec 23, 2005

I read
the books of the Prophets,
Isaiah the most recent: searching
with him the presence
and love God
in faithfulness offers generation
by generation.

The reason to know,
He seeks and searchesthe hearts
of men and women, whom
His everlasting
love comes to in self giving;
a grace

unearned changing me and all of us
in a cosmos of ways of calming
love mysterious ours.
you speak to us ever again,
man of God, may I come
to know you and the others who

enrich the Gospels,
lifegiving word
that is the wisdom of time,
and beyond. Be with me transforming
and fertile
manifestation of man and God.
Center, eternal moments
granted the living.

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