Sunday Night Journal, September 30, 2018
Sunday Night Journal, October 7, 2018

52 Poems, Week 40: The Windows (George Herbert)

(Note: the reference is to church windows; this poem is part of Herbert's long sequence The Church, which in turn is part of The Temple, which contains most of his English poetry.)

THE WINDOWS

LORD, how can man preach thy eternall word ? 
        He is a brittle crazie glasse : 
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford 
        This glorious and transcendent place, 
        To be a window, through thy grace. 

But when thou dost anneal in glasse thy storie, 
        Making thy life to shine within 
The holy Preachers, then the light and glorie 
        More rev'rend grows, and more doth win; 
        Which else shows watrish, bleak, and thin. 

Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one 
        When they combine and mingle, bring 
A strong regard and aw:  but speech alone 
        Doth vanish like a flaring thing, 
        And in the eare, not conscience ring. 

*

This poem seems relevant to much that is happening in the Church today. I got the text from the excellent Luminarium, which is a repository of a huge amount of English literature. The link is to the editor's account of how and why she began and continues the site.

Herbert's parish church:

St._Andrew's_Church _Bemerton _July_2012(By Busterweb at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52490091)

Interior views of the church, and a good deal of information about Herbert, here.

 

Comments

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This reminds me so much of a night many years ago when I was praying with a few women, and one of them said that she "saw" the Blessed Mother sweeping up many shards of broken glass, and then she took them and made a beautiful vase out of them, and when my friend asked what the broken thing was, Mary said, "Something you thought was important."

I really like this poem. It's so true--both about men and about windows.

Our youngest granddaughter was baptized at St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, KY. It has more stained glass than any church I have ever been in. This was our view. It's the largest stained glass window in the world.

It's very frustrating that all the windows that were there when Herbert was alive have been replaced. I would love to see what he saw.

AMDG

Wow, that basilica window is really something.

Enlarge it and look at the stations under the window. They are mosaic, and right at eye level--very beautiful.

AMDG

I can't enlarge it enough to see them very clearly. But the window is more spectacular at the larger size.

I like this. I've read a little Herbert here and there but need to read more.

I had been slowly working my way through The Temple a year or so ago, a poem every couple of days or so, and then put it aside for a while. There are, naturally, pieces I particularly liked, but I had trouble finding them when I started to do this post. Shoulda marked them.

Most of what I've read has been from 'The Country Parson' I think.

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