In this episode Mark Oakley shares with us his lifelong relationship with poetry. He believes poetry is the language of the soul, and should therefore be the person of faith’s native language. For Mark poetry has put to words his deepest longing, has sustained him through troubled times, and has transformed the way he’s come to see God, himself and others. And Mark believes that in our ever more chaotic world, now more than ever we need to rediscover the language of poetry. 

After the interview, Nomad hosts David Blower and Jemimah McAlpine reflect on the role poetry has played in their faith and lives.

Interview starts at 8m 45s.

Image used with permission.


The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry

The Collage of God


“Religious language is full of awful, dead metaphors. I do think language is a bit like water – unless it’s moving, it’s stagnant. And I think part of the problem with communicating a religious faith today is that the language that we draw on is rather dead and not resonant.”

“If you’re going to be a person of faith over the next few years, you’re going to need to be poet. By which I mean you’re going to need to take language seriously. Almost sacramentally, actually. But you’re also going to need to be prophetic, which is a slight overused word I think. Just cause you’re angry doesn’t mean you’re a prophet. A prophet is looking at how we’re behaving and reporting back to us as to what’s going to happen if we keep carrying on as if; somebody who wants to interrupt what we’re doing for restorative purposes. So, a good prophet is not condemning, but is trying to put things right and restore wholeness and so on.”


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