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Lent Poetry Podcast: Mark Oakley on ‘Don’t give me the whole truth’ by Olav H. Hauge

02 March 2023

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In the second episode of the Church Times Poetry Podcast for Lent, Mark Oakley reflects on  “Don’t give me the whole truth” by Olav H. Hauge (1908–1994). The poem is published in Hauge’s 1996 collection of the same name, published by Anvil Press Poetry, an imprint of Carcanet Press.

“Here in this poem, Hauge prays that he will only be given enough in life to keep him going,” Mark says. “He doesn’t want all that there is. Like birds who only carry off a few drops of water from the stream, or wind that only takes a grain of salt from the ocean, he doesn’t want to possess everything or understand it completely.

“Instead, he asks for glints, epiphanies, droplet recognitions that feed us enough to keep us exploring but not enough to make us feel we have arrived. It is the prayer of a pilgrim.”

The material in this podcast is taken from Mark Oakley’s book The Splash of Words (Canterbury Press), winner of the 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing.

Canon Mark Oakley is the Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge.

Listen to Episode 1 here

Artwork by Emily Noyce

Click the play button above to listen to this podcast. You can also listen to the Church Times Podcast on the Church Times app for iPhone and iPad, SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and most other podcast platforms. 



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