|George Herbert, who left us gold...|
"To be a window, through thy grace."
St. Andrew's, Bemerton, Wiltshire.
Flakes of snow falling out of the ash-light.
As I am dust, and to dust I will return, I started off the day properly with tea (needed to moisturize that dust in the meantime!) and a rich, metaphysical poem from the marvelous Anglican poet-saint, George Herbert (1593-1633), writing of "a crumb of dust." Some poems are touchstones that tell the gold a poem can be--how large and bold and beautiful. This is one.
The Temper (I)
How should I praise thee, Lord! How should my rhymes
Gladly engrave thy love in steel,
If what my soul doth feel sometimes,
My soul might ever feel!
Although there were some forty heav'ns, or more,
Sometimes I peer above them all;
Sometimes I hardly reach a score;
Sometimes to hell I fall.
O rack me not to such a vast extent;
Those distances belong to thee:
The world's too little for thy tent,
A grave too big for me.
Wilt thou meet arms with man, that thou dost stretch
A crumb of dust from heav'n to hell?
Will great God measure with a wretch?
Shall he thy stature spell?
O let me, when thy roof my soul hath hid,
O let me roost and nestle there:
Then of a sinner thou art rid,
And I of hope and fear.
Yet take thy way; for sure thy way is best:
Stretch or contract me thy poor debtor:
This is but tuning of my breast,
To make the music better.
Whether I fly with angels, fall with dust,
Thy hands made both, and I am there;
Thy power and love, my love and trust,
Make one place ev'rywhere.