Monthly Archives: May 2009

Refreshment in Frailty

Six weeks left until the big move!  I’ve been feeling the stresses of transition pretty keenly over the last few weeks.

Last fall, when my next door neighbor moved away, she left me a little plant with heart-shaped leaves, which I happily placed on my window sill. I was surprised when a few weeks later, it started putting up buds on stems that bent gracefully like swans, then opened up like silk handkerchiefs.  And it made me think of a poem that brings wisdom and comfort to me these days, when I’m feeling my limitations so deeply!

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The Flower
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…..How fresh, Oh Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! ev’n as the flowers in spring;
…..To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
……….Grief melts away
……….Like snow in May,
…..As if there were no such cold thing.
…..
…..Who would have thought my shrivel’d heart
Could have recover’d greenness? It was gone
…..Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown’;
……….Where they together
……….All the hard weather,
…..Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
…..
…..These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quick’ning, bringing down to hell
…..And up to heaven in an hour;
Making a chiming of a passing bell.
……….We say amiss,
……….This or that is:
…..Thy word is all, if we could spell.
…..
…..Oh that I once past changing were,
Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!
…..Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Off’ring at heav’n, growing and groaning thither:
……….Nor doth any flower
……….Want a spring shower,
…..My sins and I joining together:
…..
…..But while I grow in a straight line,
Still upwards bent, as if heav’n were mine own,
…..Thy anger comes, and I decline:
What frost to that? what pole is not the zone,
……….Where all things burn,
……….When thou dost turn,
…..And the least frown of thine is shown?
…..
…..And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
…..I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing: Oh my only light,
………..It cannot be
……….That I am he
…..On whom thy tempests fell all night.
…..
…..These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
…..Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us, where to bide.
……….Who would be more,
……….Swelling through store,
…..Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.
……………………………………………………………– George Herbert