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Sonnet 19
When I Consider How My Light Is Spent


When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask; But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

Still falls the Rain—-
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss—-
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross.

Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammer-beat
In the Potter's Field, and the sound of the impious feet

On the Tomb:
                  Still falls the Rain

In the Field of Blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain.

Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross.
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us—-
On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.

Still falls the Rain—-
Still falls the Blood from the Starved Man's wounded Side:
He bears in His Heart all wounds,—-those of the light that died,
The last faint spark
In the self-murdered heart, the wounds of the sad uncomprehending dark,
The wounds of the baited bear—-
The blind and weeping bear whom the keepers beat
On his helpless flesh… the tears of the hunted hare.

Still falls the Rain—-
Then—- O he leaps up to my God: who pulls me down—-
See, see where Christ's blood streams in the firmament:
It flows from the Brow we nailed upon the tree

Deep to the dying, to the thirsting heart
That holds the fires of the world,—-dark-smirched with pain
As Caesar's laurel crown.

Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among beasts has lain—-
"Still do I love, still shed my innocent light, my Blood, for thee."


 

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

 

I sought Him on the purple seas;
I sought Him on the peaks aflame;
Amid the gloom of giant trees And canyons lone I called His name;
The wasted ways of earth I trod:
In vain! In vain! I found not God.


I sought him in the hives of men,
The cities grand, the hamlets grey,
The temples old beyond my ken,
The tabernacles of to-day;
All life that is, from cloud to clod
I sought ... Alas! I found not God.

 

Then after roaming far and wide,
In streets and seas and deserts wild,
I came to stand at last beside
The death-bed of my little child.
Lo! as I bent beneath the rod
I raised my eyes … and there was God.

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied,
'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention."

Love came down at Christmas,                              
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

 

Eyes open to praise
The play of light
Upon the ceiling--
Whilst still abed raise
The roof this morning
Rejoice as you please
Your Maker who made
This day while you slept,
Who gives grace and ease,
Whose promise is kept.


ST. PATRICK’S LORICA

We rise today through a mighty strength,
The invocation of the Trinity.
Through belief in the threeness and confession
of the oneness toward our Creator,
Christ to protect us today.
Christ to deliver us from all fear today.
Christ with us and Christ in us.
Christ in the hearts of those who think of us,
Christ in the mouths of those who speak of us.
We rise today through a mighty strength,
The invocation of the Trinity.
Thank you, Lord, for your guidance, protection,
and deliverance from all fear.
May Thy salvation ever be with us.

Adapted from copy obtained at Iona Abbey,Scotland

From David Adam's "Border Lands":

There is a story from the island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland,told by the Celtic writer David Adam, about a leper woman who was an outcast from society, banished from her highland home to live on the seashore.:Left alone on the island, she discovered that she was not alone. Nothing could separate her from the immanent God, in whom she lived and moved and had her being.  The Christ had come to Harris in the woman's aloneness.  In some mystical way she discovered God incarnate in His creation and was uplifted.The light shone in her dark days.

In her own self she discovered "the Word made flesh and dwelling among us" and she beheld His glory.This was her song:

                                                  It were easy for Jesu 
                                                  To renew the withered tree
                                                  As to wither the new
                                                  Were it His will so to do.

                                                  There is no plant in the ground
                                                  But  is full of His virtue,
                                                  There is no form in the strand
                                                  But full of His blessing...

                                                  There is no life in the sea,
                                                  There is no creature in the river,
                                                  There is nought in the firmament,
                                                  But proclaims His goodness...

                                                  There is no bird on the wing,
                                                  There is no star in the sky,
                                                  There is nothing beneath the sun,
                                                  But proclaims His goodness.


 

 

 

 

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