Monday, March 17, 2008

Heaven in Ordinary

We read, said C.S. Lewis, to know we are not alone. I have been reading George Herbert lately, 17th century British clergyman and poet. Here is his Prayer (1). It takes some figuring out - it is worth mulling over, ruminating on it.

Prayer the Church’s banquet, Angel’s age,
God’s breath in man returning to his birth
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet
[i] sounding heaven and earth;
[ii] against th’ Almighty, sinner’s tower,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days world transposing
[iii] in an hour,
A kind of tune which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy and love and bliss,
Exalted Manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood,
The land of spices, something understood.

[i] Plummet – a plumb line, taking the measure of both heaven and earth
[ii] Engine: a siege engine, laying siege to God
[iii] As in transposing a tune from one key to another

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