Author: floweringpoverello

Inspiring Poems: “By a sunbeam I will climb…”

I love the way this poem begins with the way every day of our life begins: with the opening of our eyes…

.

I cannot ope mine eyes,

But thou art ready there to catch

My morning-soul and sacrifice:

Then we must needs for that day make a match.

.

morningsoul MATINS HERBERT

This poem, by George Herbert, one of my many “inspirers”, then moves deeper, and explores the human heart:

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My God, what is a heart?

Silver, or gold, or precious stone,

Or star, or rainbow, or a part

Of all these things, or all of them in one?

.

My God, what is a heart,

That thou shouldst it so eye, and woo,

Pouring upon it all thy art,

As if that thou hadst nothing else to do?

.

whatisaheart MATINS HERBERT

The poem is called “Matins” (an old word meaning morning prayer).  Each morning brings the day, each day brings the sun, and this has got to be the greatest line in the poem… “By a sunbeam I will climb to thee.

Teach me thy love to know;

That this new light, which now I see,

May both the work and workman show:

Then by a sunbeam I will climb to thee.

.

byasunbeam MATINS HERBERT

27th February – Celebrating George Herbert

On 27th February, the poet George Herbert is celebrated and remembered.  You can read about his life here.

“Love bade me welcome

But my soul drew back…”

So begins one of George Herbert’s great poems, called “Love (III)”.

Although Herbert is not well known, he writes with a powerful simplicity.  He understands love, suffering and inner struggles.

Many of his lines have inspired me.  This is how his poem “The Call” begins:

comemyway HERBERT

And these words are from a great poem called “The Flower”, about dealing with storms in life, and then “budding again”:

6. budagain HERBERT

One of my self-published collections is called “The Joy of Creation”,  and I imitated his style in this piece, which called by the same name:

For the Joy of Creation

 

See my first grey hairs have come

but will they also take my brain?

Can I not remain

in writing fine and witty?

Sure, my God would not care so

as long as my verses still contain

You are still my God at heart,

which is the richest part

And while my body wastes away

I am renewed within and constantly

And as I age

that is my brightest day.

So if I keep my lovely lines

or not is not for me to say

All I could ever dare

was You are still my God

If I have written this

which ever way it is

then I have written fair.

agebrightday JOC

This is from an earlier collection, chronologically, again in Herbert’s simple style.

‘I took your book’

I took your book

and read

It said you bled

for me

They cried

who watched you die

But joy now fills my heart

I’ll not part

From your ways

all my days.

joyfillsmyheart FW

If you are interested in reading more, there are many, many thoughtful, wonderful poems by him. “Prayer (I)” is particularly wonderful, packed full of metaphors.  And “Heaven” is another fantastic poem, where each alternate line answers the previous merely by echoing part of the previous rhyming word.

A Month of Inspirers (11) – “Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet”, and the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins

A Month of Inspirers (11) – “Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet”, and the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Hopkins was so sensitive to the beauty of nature, he prized the “wildness” and “wilderness” of life on our earth:

“What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet;

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”

(From ‘Inversnaid’ https://www.bartleby.com/122/33.html)

On another poem he grieves for the cutting down of poplar trees at Binsey near Oxford:

(‘Binsey Poplars’,  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44390/binsey-poplars)

And for me, nothing quite surpasses the simplicity of this line from a beautiful sonnet called Spring  

(‘Spring’ – https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/51002/spring-56d22e75d65bd)

He was fascinated by the philosophy of Duns Scotus, a mediaeval writer, who celebrated the haecceity (this-ness) of things – every living thing is distinctly itself, never again to be repeated – wonderfully captured in his poem with the memorable title of “As kingfishers catch fire”   https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44389/as-kingfishers-catch-fire

In this poem he explores the human implications of haecceity.  Each of us has a unique, individual vocation, to offer what we distinctly are to the world:

“What I do is me

For that I came”

And he celebrates the beauty of humanity:

Another poem you might enjoy is “The Windhover” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44402/the-windhover

And if you want a challenge, perhaps his most powerful work is “The Wreck of the Deutschland”, which is part autobiography, part the re-evoking of an overwhelming storm at sea leading to a wreck, and part a meditation on life, death, faith and God.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44403/the-wreck-of-the-deutschland