Saturday, December 10, 2005


Thoughts in Church

Thomas Hardy, The Impercipient (At a Cathedral Service):

That from this bright believing band
    An outcast I should be,
That faiths by which my comrades stand
    Seem fantasies to me,
And mirage-mists their Shining Land,
    Is a drear destiny.

Why thus my soul should be consigned
    To infelicity,
Why always I must feel as blind
    To sights my brethren see,
Why joys they've found I cannot find,
    Abides a mystery.

Since heart of mine knows not that ease
    Which they know; since it be
That He who breathes All's Well to these
    Breathes no All's-Well to me,
My lack might move their sympathies
    And Christian charity!

I am like a gazer who should mark
    An inland company
Standing upfingered, with, "Hark! hark!
    The glorious distant sea!"
And feel, "Alas, 'tis but yon dark
    And wind-swept pine to me!"

Yet I would bear my shortcomings
    With meet tranquillity,
But for the charge that blessed things
    I'd liefer have unbe.
O, doth a bird deprived of wings
    Go earth-bound wilfully!
            * * *
Enough. As yet disquiet clings
    About us. Rest shall we.

William (Johnson) Cory, Mimnermus in Church:

You promise heavens free from strife,
    Pure truth, and perfect change of will;
But sweet, sweet is this human life,
    So sweet, I fain would breathe it still;
Your chilly stars I can forgo,
This warm kind world is all I know.

You say there is no substance here,
    One great reality above:
Back from that void I shrink in fear,
    And child-like hide myself in love:
Show me what angels feel. Till then
I cling, a mere weak man, to men.

You bid me lift my mean desires
    From faltering lips and fitful veins
To sexless souls, ideal quires,
    Unwearied voices, wordless strains:
My mind with fonder welcome owns
One dear dead friend's remember'd tones.

Forsooth the present we must give
    To that which cannot pass away;
All beauteous things for which we live
    By laws of time and space decay.
But O, the very reason why
I clasp them, is because they die.

Mark 9.24:

Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Update: Roger Kuin suggests a poem by Emily Dickinson as an alternative to Hardy's poem.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?