Poet Chauncey Beaty explores the complexity of the Apostle Peter in this beautiful poem responding to 2 Peter 1:3-10.
You can also listen to Chauncey read "The Recipe (or Peter’s Pantoum)" as spoken word.
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2 Peter 1:3–10
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
In preparation for this poem I read a great majority of the New Testament, listened to sermons on the scripture, and dug into the life of Peter.
I resonate deeply with Peter.
I can only imagine what it was like for him to experience first-hand the depth of Christ’s love, mercy, trust, and hope despite the flaws, failures, and shortcomings of his humanity. What kept coming up for me as I was writing is: What would I do if God gave me the keys to heaven, trusted me with the honor of sharing His coming with the world, asked me to be the caretaker of His children, and also told me that I would soon be persecuted and killed? This is what Peter offered to us under those circumstances — a way to never be outside of the presence of God.
Similar to the Lord’s Prayer, where we are given the instructions ”This, then, is how you should pray,” 2 Peter 1:3-10 is an instruction that should be committed to memory. Peter is the man Jesus allowed to walk on water with Him. Peter is also the man who legs sink down into the ocean due to fear and doubt. I would argue that more than any other human on Earth, Peter understands what it takes for a human to “stay above water” in a state of confidence in God no matter the circumstance.
A pantoum offers me as the writer an opportunity to continuously repeat Peter’s instructions and the space for me to explain the gravity of Peter getting this message to us 2000 years later. I wanted to write a poem that would add to the legacy of Peter’s efforts.
Chauncey Beaty: THE HEART WORKER™
Chauncey Beaty is an award-winning poet, TEDx speaker, certified life coach, and master facilitator. She is most known for her ability to do transformational “heart work,” — creating safe space, training, and speaking on topics that are generally difficult to discuss (such as HIV/AIDS, dating violence, mental health and wellness, healing, and difference and diversity). As a speaker and facilitator, she is captivating and easily connects with her audience by using a winning blend of humor, keen insight, and her unbeatable personality.
Chauncey is a two-time international poetry slam finalist, ranking the 3rd best female slam poet in the world in 2010 by Poetry Slam, Inc. She is a proud ambassador for the Greater Than AIDS (GTA) campaign, a movement sponsored by the Kaiser Foundation aimed to elevate the public’s knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS. She has been featured in GTA commercials on NBC, CBS, Fox, Google TV, and its affiliate broadcast stations. As a GTA Ambassador, Chauncey has been a keynote speaker and performer at colleges around the country in partnership with the Black AIDS Institute's HIV testing initiatives. Chauncey’s image is used in print-ads and on billboards across the country with the slogans “My life is worth protecting” and “Speak up for yourself.”
Chauncey was the first poet invited as a guest teacher to R&B singer Usher Raymond’s Camp New Look. She was one of three teaching artist invited to China to teach poetry in the Summer of 2011. Chauncey was a guest on the Michael Eric Dyson Show, interviewed by actress Mo'Nique on Clear Channel Communications, and featured as the centerfold ad in Heart and Soul Magazine for February 2011 edition and in Essence Magazine’s July 2012 edition with Barak Obama on the cover. Also, she was one of the featured artists on season one of the TV One’s hit show, Verses and Flow. Host Hill Harper compared her to poet, scholar, and activist, Nikki Giovanni. She is the founder and facilitator of the annual READY WOMAN RETREAT.
Chauncey earned a Bachelor of Arts from Winthrop University in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Humanities (African American and African Studies) from The Ohio State University. The Life Purpose Institute, in San Diego, California, certified her as a Life, Life Purpose, and Career Coach. She is a TEDx speaker and a graduate of numerous leadership, organizational development, and diversity training programs. Chauncey is member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and a native of Greenville, South Carolina.