15 March 2012

Thoughts on Low Light

I have read and contemplated much about the reason for Lent: I think Donne's poem puts it most succinctly. There are periods where we must strip off the wallpaper which garnishes our lives and get down to some serious internal housecleaning. In this poem (which is only partial), Donne reflects on the loss of his land and the gain he anticipates from departing all that ties him--and on what he anticipates to gain by going out of sight.

A Hymne to Christ, at the Authors last going into Germany (partial)

I sacrifice this land unto thee,
And all whom I loved there, and who loved me;
When I have put our seas twixt them and me,
Put thou thy sea betwixt my sins and thee.
As the trees sap doth seek the root below
In winter, in my winter now I go,
Where none but thee, the Eternal root
Of true Love I may know.

Seale then this bill of my Divorce to All,
On whom those fainter beams of love did fall;
Marry those loves, which in youth scattered be
On Fame, Wit, Hopes (false mistresses) to Thee.

Churches are best for Prayer, that have least light:
to see God only, I go out of sight:
And to escape stormy days,
I choose An Everlasting night.

from A Hymne to Christ, at the Authors last going into Germany (partial) by John Donne