Skip to main content

Who Am I?

A poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written whilst imprisoned by the NAZIs during World War II. Bonhoeffer was eventually executed by the NAZIs. This poem was use to great effect in a scene in the film Agent of Grace. If you haven't you should watch it. Let me know what you think :-)

---

Who am I? They often tell me I stepped from my cell's confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly, like a squire form his country house.
Who am I? They often tell me I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly, as though it was mine to command.
Who am I? They tell me I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly, like one accustomed to win.

Am I really then that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath,

As though hands were compressing my throat, yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds
Thirsting for kindness, for neighbourliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,

powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, a thinking, at making,
Faint and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another? Am I both at once?
A hypocrite before others and before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Though knowest, O God, I am thine!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

That one time Jesus got the Bible wrong

It's so typical isn't it? You are preaching all day long, training your disciples, sparring with the Pharisees, encouraging the poor and down trodden, healing the sick and casting out demons, all day, day after day, and even when you go up a mountain to get a rest the crowds hunt you down and follow you up, and then the one time you get a bit muddled up with some of the details of a biblical text . . . that is the one they write down in the first gospel - verbatim. At least Matthew and Luke had the good sense to do some editing. But Mark, he always had his eye on giving the public the "historical Jesus" whoever that is supposed to be . . . warts and all. Thanks a lot Mark!

Some think I made the mistake on purpose, just to show the Pharisees up.

For some there is no mistake worth mentioning, only a slightly ambiguous turn of phrase.

Others think I am doing something tricky with Abiathar's name, getting him to figuratively stand in for the priesthood.

It really has…

Thor Ragnarok and Parihaka: Postcolonial Apocalypse

Thor: Ragnarok is a riot of colour, sound, violence, humour, sci-fi and fantasy. As a piece of entertainment it is the best Marvel has produced so far. As in many of Taika Waititi's films the plot often seems secondary to the humour and a number of quirky moments seemed only to serve for a quick giggle. I left the theatre overwhelmed by the sensory experience, but ultimately unimpressed by any deeper meaning.

It wasn't until the second morning after my trip to the movies that I woke to the realisation that the movie could function as a profound postcolonial metaphor (I do some of my best thinking while alseep, also it can take me a while for the penny to drop). Unfortunately a quick google showed me that I was neither the first, nor the second to have this thought.

[Spoiler Alert!]

It's easy to miss with all the other stuff going on but Thor undergoes a postcolonial awakening during the film as he slowly realises that his beloved Asgard and its dominion of the nine realms …

Dale Martin does Mark

Dale Martin is an important and frequently controversial NT scholar. Those of us who can't make it to Yale to hear him teach can access some of his lectures, in fact his entire introduction to the NT course, through the magic of the internet.

Here he is holding forth on Mark . . .