At The River Clarion
I don’t know who God is exactly.
But I’ll tell you this.
I was sitting in the river named Clarion, on a
water splashed stone
and all afternoon I listened to the voices
of the river talking….
And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me
what they were saying.
Said the river I am part of holiness.
And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered
the moss beneath the water.
I’d been to the river before, a few times.
Don’t blame the river that nothing happened quickly.
You don’t hear such voices in an hour or a day.
You don’t hear them at all if selfhood has stuffed your ears.
And it’s difficult to hear anything anyway, through
all the traffic, the ambition.
If God exists he isn’t just butter and good luck.
He’s also the tick that killed my wonderful dog Luke…
If God exists he isn’t just churches and mathematics.
He’s the forest, He’s the desert.
He’s the ice caps, that are dying.
He’s the ghetto and the Museum of Fine Arts.
He’s van Gogh and Allen Ginsberg and Robert Motherwell.
He’s the many desperate hands, cleaning and preparing their weapons.
He’s every one of us, potentially.
The leaf of grass, the genius, the politician, the poet.
And if this is true, isn’t it something very important?
Yes, it could be that I am a tiny piece of God, and
each of you too, or at least
of his intention and his hope….
Of course for each of us, there is the daily life.
Let us live it, gesture by gesture.
When we cut the ripe melon, should we not give it thanks?
And should we not thank the knife also?
We do not live in a simple world.
There was someone I loved who grew old and ill
One by one I watched the fires go out.
There was nothing I could do
except to remember
that we receive
then we give back…
I pray for the desperate earth.
I pray for the desperate world.
I do the little each person can do, it isn’t much.
Sometimes the river murmurs, sometimes it raves….
And trees, and birds that have wings to uphold them,
for heaven’s sakes-
the lucky ones: they have such deep natures,
they are so happily obedient.
While I sit here in a house filled with books,
ideas, doubts, hesitations.
And still, pressed deep into my mind, the river
keeps coming, touching me, passing by on its
long journey, its pale, infallible voice
A Prayer for the Healing of the Wounds of Christ
Are open; still Earth’s pain stands deified,
With arms spread wide:
And still, like falling stars,
Its blood-drops strike the doorposts, where abide
The watchers with the bride,
To wait the final coming of their kin,
And hear the sound of kingdoms gathering in.
While Earth wears wounds, still must Christ’s wounds remain,
Whom love made life, and of whom life made pain,
And of whom pain made death.
Without Him, sorrow draws; no feet
Wax weary, and no hands hard labour bear,
But He doth wear
The travail and the heat:
Also, for all things perishing, He saith,
“My grief, My pain, My death.”
O kindred constellation of bright stars,
Ye shall not last for aye!
Far off there dawns a comfortable day
Of healing for those scars:
When, faint in glory, shall be wiped away
Each planetary fire,
Now, all the aching way the balm of Earth’s desire!
For from the healed nations there shall come
The healing touch: the blind, the lame, the dumb,
With sight, and speed, and speech,
And ardent reach
Of yearning hands shall cover up from sight
Those imprints of a night
Forever past. And all the Morians’ lands
Shall stretch out hands of healing to His hands.
While to His feet
The timid, sweet
Four-footed ones of earth shall come and lay,
Forever by, the sadness of their day:
And, they being healed, healing spring from them.
So for the stem
And rod of Jesse, roots and trees and flowers,
Shall cause the thorny crown
To blossom down
Laurel and bay.
So lastly to His side,
Stricken when, from the body that had died,
Going down He saw sad souls being purified,
Shall rise, out of the deeps no man
Can sound or scan,
The morning star of Heaven that once fell
And fashioned Hell
Now, star to star
Mingling to melt where shadeless glories are.
O Earth, seek deep, and gather up thy soul,
And come from high and low, and near and far,
And make Christ whole!
~ Laurence Housman