Archive for ‘Religious’

Sunday, 4 August 2019

A Death-Bed by James Aldrich

Her suff’ring ended with the day,
Yet lived she at its close,
And breathed the long, long night away,
In statue-like repose.

But when the sun, in all his state,
Illum’d the eastern skies,
She passed through Glory’s Morning-gate,
And walked in Paradise!


Date: 1841

By: James Aldrich (1810-1856)

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Parting and Meeting by Phoebe Cary

On the casement, closed and lonesome,
Is falling the autumn rain,
And my heart to-night is heavy
With a sense of unquiet pain.

Not that the leaves are dying
In the kiss of the traitor frost,
And not that the summer flowers
On the bitter winds are tossed.

And not that the reaper’s singing
The time no longer cheers,
Bringing home through the mellow starlight
The sheaves and the yellow ears.

No, not from these am I sighing,
As the hours pass slow and dull,
For God in his own time maketh
All seasons beautiful.

But one of our household number
Sits not by the hearth-fire’s light,
And right on her pathway beating
Is the rain of this autumn night.

And therefore my heart is heavy
With a sense of unquiet pain,
For, but Heaven can tell if the parted
Shall meet in the earth again.

But knowing God’s love extendeth
Wherever his children are,
And tenderly round about them
Are the arms of his watchful care;

With him be the time and the season
Of our meeting again with thee,
Whether here on these earthly borders,
Or the shore of the world to be.

From: Cary, Alice and Cary, Phoebe, The Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary, 1850, Moss & Brother, Philadelphia, pp. 239-240.

Date: 1849

By: Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)

Thursday, 25 July 2019

O God! These People! by Mohammad Hanif Hairan

O God! Change these people so that
Nobody will die by another’s hand.
End cruelty so that
An ant won’t die by someone’s hand.
O God, for any thing to which you have given a soul
These things should never die by someone else’s hand.
Reserve everyone’s cruelty to their eyes
So no living thing will die by someone else’s hand,
No traveller will be bitten by someone else’s dog,
And nobody’s dog will be killed by someone else’s hand.

From: van Linschoten, Alex Strick and Kuehn, Felix (eds.), Poetry of the Taliban: Translated by Mirwais Rahmany and Hamid Stanikzai, 2012, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 194.

Date: 2008

By: Mohammad Hanif Hairan (19??- )

Translated by: Mirwais Rahmany (1983- ) and Hamid Stanikzai (19??- )

Friday, 19 July 2019

Prayer and Song Concerning Death and Eternal Life by Anna Trapnel

O That they may say unto Death,
O Death, where is thy sting,
O Grave, where is thy victory?
over them thine shall sing.

When they doe thorow death up mount
unto eternall life,
O then their hearts and speeches too
shal run to thee most rise.

O till they see grim Death before,
and its most gastly looks,
They would not mount up unto thee,
to see thy pleasant lookes.

Till they doe feele his biting teeth,
their tongues will not sing to thee,
O therefore let them it behold,
Pale-faced death let them see.

They wil then pray to thy rich grace,
thereto they then wil fly,
They wil to the most high then mount,
and that with open eye.

They shal look on the Sun so bright,
and on its beames of grace,
Which doth appeare, and cometh forth,
and on them casts its rayes.

From: Freeman, Curtis W., A Company of Woman Preachers. Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England: A Reader, 2011, Baylor University Press: Waco, Texas, p. 421.

Date: 1654

By: Anna Trapnel (fl. 1642-1660)

Thursday, 11 July 2019

The Wondrous Working of the Love of God by Thomas à Kempis (von Kempen/Hemerken/Hammerlein)

Father of heaven, I bless Thee,
Father of Jesus Christ, my Lord,
That Thou hast deigned to think of me in poverty.
Father of mercies, God of consolation,
Thanks be to Thee,
Who, now and then, with Thy consoling words
Refreshest me, unworthy of all comfort.
I bless Thee always, and I give Thee glory
With Thine own Son, the One-begotten,
And with the Holy Ghost the Comforter,
World without end.
Ah, my Lord God, my holy Lover,
When Thou comest to my heart
All my inward life is glad.
Thou art my glory,
Thou art He that maketh glad my soul,
My help, my haven.
When I am in trouble.

But since I am so weak in love, and of imperfect character,
I need to be consoled and spoken kindly to by Thee.
Therefore come often to me,
Instruct me in Thy holy rules,
Free me from evil passions,
Make my heart clean from all ill-ordered loves,
That I be in health within and throughly purged,
Fit to be a lover,
Brave to be a sufferer,
Firm to go onwards to the end.

Love is a great thing,
A blessing very good,
The only thing that makes all burdens light,
Bearing evenly what is uneven,
Carrying a weight, not feeling it,
Turning all bitterness to a sweet savour.
The noble love of Jesus drives men on to do great deeds,
And always rouses them to long for what is better.
Love would be lifted up,
Not held by any thing of earth.
It would be free,
A stranger to the affection of the world,
That its view within may not be blurred,
For fear it get into the nets of temporal happiness
Or for some unhappiness lie down and die.

Nothing is sweeter, stronger, broader, higher,
Fuller, better, or more pleasant in the heaven or earth.
It is the child of God,
Nor can it rest except in Him
Above the world created.
The lover runs and flies and is alive with joy,
Free, unrestrained,
Gives all for all,
Has all in all,
In one alone he rests, all else neglected,
From whom all comes and flows;
Looks not to gifts,
But turns unto the giver above all.

It often knows no limit,
It boils above all measure,
Its fervour knows no stop.
It feels no weight,
Makes light of toil,
Would do more than it can,
Pleads no impossibility,
Because it thinks it can and may do all.
So it is strong for anything,
Is everywhere,
Gives men a title to do work,
Where he that loves not faints and fails.
In its vigils it may sleep, but yet it dozes not;
Wearied, it is not worn;
Bound, it is not confined;
Frightened, it is not dismayed;
But like a living flame, a burning torch,
It bursts on high, and safely goes through all.
If any loves,
He knows what these words mean.
It is a great shout in the ears of God,
That fierce heart’s love, that says,
“My Lord, my God,
Thou art all mine; I, Thine.”

Enlarge me in Thy love,
That my heart’s lips may learn to taste how sweet it is,
To melt and swim in it.
May I be holden by it,
Going above myself for very fervour and for wonder.
Let me sing a song of love,
Let me follow my Beloved to the deep,
Let my soul faint in praise of Thee,
Crying for love.
Let me love Thee
More than I love myself;
Let me not love myself
Except for Thee.
Let me love all in Thee —
I, who truly love Thee
As love’s law bids me,
That takes its light from Thee.
Love is swift, sincere.
Pious, pleasant, and delightsome,
Brave, patient, faithful,
Careful, long-suffering, manly,
Never seeking its own good;
For where a man looks for himself,
He falls away from love.

Careful, humble, right,
Not weak, not light, aiming not at empty things,
Sober and chaste, firm and quiet,
With all the senses guarded well,
It is subject and obedient to superiors,
Lowly and scorned by its own eyes,
Pious and pleasing unto God,
Trusting and hoping ever in Him,
Even when He is not nigh;
For without grief, one cannot live in love.
The man that is not ready to suffer all,
And stand to do the loved One’s will,
Is not worthy to be called a lover.
A lover should embrace all that is hard and bitter
For the sake of Him he loves,
And not be turned away from love
For any crosses that may come.

From: Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ. Now for the first time set forth in rhythmic sentences According to the original Intention of  the Author, 1895, A. D. F. Randolph Company: New York, pp. 170-174.

Date: c1418-1427 (original in Latin); 1889 (translation in English)

By: Thomas à Kempis (von Kempen/Hemerken/Hammerlein) (c1380-1471)

Translated by: Henry Parry Liddon (1829-1890)

Friday, 28 June 2019

Moon Sitting by Hui Yung

High mountain cascades froth.
This wild temple owns few lamps.
Sit facing the glitter
of the moon: out of season
heart of ice.

From: Seaton, Jerome P. and Maloney, Dennis (eds.), A Drifting Poet: An Anthology of Chinese Zen Poetry, 1994, White Pine Press: Fredonia, New York, p. 19.

Date: 4th century (original); 1994 (translation)

By: Hui Yung (332-414)

Translated by: Jerome P. Seaton (1941- )

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Winter Solstice by Janlori Goldman

for Jean Valentine

O odd light
bring me the old season
that winter familiar
a slow sheathing of moon in shadow
as if sky were a gill
through which all things
flow in                 filter out
bring me a home with no right angles
a space of curling in
not too bright or sharp
and bring me the time before that
with the garden dark with broken-down
coffee grounds                 rows of flowering mustard greens
the smell of ripped roots fresh
from the pull
and then before that
to my round house a friend will come
or maybe the friend’s mother
I’ll say stay for dinner
she’ll say let me sew that button.


Date: 2012

By: Janlori Goldman (19??- )

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Prudence: An Acrostic by Elizabeth Gread Braund

Prudent be in all thy dealings;
Regulate aright thy feelings;
Undertake no work in haste;
Deal with friend and foe in grace;
Envy none their high estate;
Nought but craft and meanness hate;
Catch the moments as they fly —
Excelsior thy motto high!

From: Braund, Elizabeth, Fugitive Pieces: Historical, Fragmentary, and Sacred, 1868, Charles Griffin & Co: London, p. 53.

Date: 1868

By: Elizabeth Gread Braund (fl. 1864-1868)

Friday, 3 May 2019

Quatrain by Najmuddīn-e Kubrā

What never existed
leaves nothing in the hand
but wind
while “reality”
offers nothing but imperfection
and failure;
that being the case
one can only dream
of what never was
and as for what “really is,”
it doesn’t exist.

From: Wilson, Peter Lamborn and Pourjvady, Nasrollah, The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, 1987, Phanes Press: Grand Rapids, USA, p. 20.

Date: 13th century (original in Persian); 1987 (translation in English)

By: Najmuddīn-e Kubrā (1145-1221)

Translated by: Peter Lamborn Wilson (1945- ) and Nasrollah Pourjvady (1943- )

Sunday, 21 April 2019

The Discipline of Craft, Easter Morning by Judith Harris

for John Easterly

No use going hunting for angels,
for a Christ in the tree-tops,
a Moses winding his way up the mount,
into the fire of God’s fresh stubble.

There is just a serious rain,
a steady crutch for the air,
colder than any April should be.

I am up to my neck in chores:
the cat needs more food,
my daughter’s clutter piles up like anthills.
I fold her little sleeves, ghost by ghost.
What melody springs from the heart so well?

These lone trees can’t be dazzled by sun today;
they have tremors like the pope’s.
Lost loons pitched into sky folds,
their crusty buds just blinking
as if to test how fierce the light is.

They sag and meander from their stems;
they bleed from transparency.
Needless or hopeless as overused fountains,
they are my metrics, my fortitude,
plants with lemony grass spigots
that will never go dry.


Date: 2006

By: Judith Harris (19??- )