August 21, 2012

Probably My Favourite Poem So Far

George Herbert,  1593-1633

Most people today have never heard of George Herbert, a 17th century English Priest and prolific metaphysical poet. His most famous collection of poems, The Temple, was published posthumously.

The Metaphysical poets ''developed a poetic style in which philosophical and spiritual subjects were approached with reason and often concluded in paradox.'' (Academy of American Poets)

Herbert's The Collar has been one of my favourite poems for a long time. I appreciate how genuine and honest it is about spirituality. 

The Collar is the story of a man who has been faithful to God throughout his life but now doubts. He is counting the cost and is questioning whether he should persevere. Progressively, he starts trying to convince himself to let go of everything he has always believed in. For a moment, he is tired to seek God's face, to seek moral righteousness and justice.

        I Struck the board, and cry’d, No more.
                                             I will abroad.
        What? shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the rode,
        Loose as the winde, as large as store.
                     Shall I be still in suit?
        Have I no harvest but a thorn
        To let me bloud, and not restore
What I have lost with cordiall fruit?
                                             Sure there was wine
            Before my sighs did drie it: there was corn
              Before my tears did drown it.
        Is the yeare onely lost to me?
                     Have I no bayes to crown it?
No flowers, no garlands gay? all blasted?
                                             All wasted?
        Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,
                                             And thou hast hands.
                     Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit, and not. Forsake thy cage,
                                             Thy rope of sands,
Which pettie thoughts have made, and made to thee
        Good cable, to enforce and draw,
                                             And be thy law,
        While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
                                           Away; take heed:
                                           I will abroad.
Call in thy deaths head there: tie up thy fears.
                                           He that forbears
                    To suit and serve his need,
                                           Deserves his load.
But as I rav’d and grew more fierce and wilde
                                           At every word,
        Me thoughts I heard one calling, Childe:
                    And I reply’d, My Lord.
The last two lines get me every time. As the author grows fierce and wild, God whispers and reveals himself to the author again. He has been there all along! 
Doubt gives way to certitude, and the relationship is restored.

1 comment:

  1. I like it! I am always looking for inspirational literature no matter what the subject. Nice Post! If you want to learn how to make Nutella Surprise head on over to my blog! Hope all is well with you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...