In honour of National Poetry Month, I will be posting some of my favourite poetry as of late, and possibly some of my own! This poem titled Deniall, I came across this evening, written by George Herbert (1593-1633). I love this poem, because it absolutely speaks to me. As I was reading through, I kept saying inside, “yes, he gets it, ok, he felt that way too? he gets it.” Can we TALK about this poem? After the poem is finished, below I am going to give you some of my favourite lines, because it simply moves me.
In this poem, I hear his struggle. He writes about it. His passion and his longing is moving verse by verse, but not quietly, no, I see him fervently writing with a ink pen, then grabbing the paper, standing on a huge green mountain with a pointy peak and just yelling the entire thing out to the wind, and the wind taking it across the ocean, and the ocean swallowing it all, verse by verse. But then the ocean spits it back up, not able to contain all the yearn and desperation from this man, so the sky absorbs the plea…
When my devotions could not pierce
Thy silent eares;
Then was my heart broken as was my verse;
My breast was full of fears
My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow,
Did flie asunder:
Each took his way; some would to pleasures go,
Some of the warres and thunder
As good go any where, they say,
As to benumme
Both knees and heart, in crying night and day,
Come, come, my God, O come,
But no hearing.
O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue
To crie to thee,
And then not heare it crying! all day long
My heart was in my knee,
But no hearing.
Therefore my soul lay out of sight,
My feeble spirit, unable to look right,
Like a nipt blossome, hung
O cheer and tune my heartlesse breast,
Deferre no time;
That so thy favours granting my request,
They and my minde may chime,
And mend my ryme.
What a marvellous piece of poetry, a piece of loveliness, a true chunk of the heart
“When my devotions could not pierce thy silent eares; Then was my heart broken as was my verse;”
I love this. So real. When my prayers did not reach you because you have been silent, my heart became broken. The poets writes about what it’s like to feel that empty waiting. Picture early mornings, late nights, dark rooms, empty benches, parks, silent walks, mid-day, all different moods, all different seasons, he called and waited, but it felt like whatever was coming from him was only occupying the small area in front of his face, the small area outside the door of his heart, but it would never reach Him, and if it did, He was silent. He writes on,
“Both knees and heart, in crying night and day, Come, come, my God, O come, But no hearing”
I love how he describes his desperation in this line. Not just his heart, or his words, but his knees are desperate, referring to amount of time he has spent on them calling, praying to God to come, “But no hearing“.
“Therefore my soul lay out of sight, Untun’d, unstrung: My feeble spirit, unable to look right, Like a nipt blossome, hung, Discontented.”
This line is wow. What do you do after a long time of calling and waiting… I just want to write how this line completely describes my heart, but he wrote it so perfectly that I do not even see any point in adding any more words. All those times of calling and waiting, it does break the heart… and sometimes that brokenness puts us out, we hide, we stop seeking, we lye down, feeling unanswered, unsatisfied, unwanted. There have been large amounts of time where “…my soul lay out of sight, Untun’d, unstrung…Discontented.”
But, even though his soul is laying out of sight, feeling feeble, and discontented, he ends with a plea to please come, please visit me because it will bring me great cheer and joy, it will bring my heart back to life, please, do not wait long… “O cheer and tune my heartlesse brease, Deferre no time.’
I ask the same thing,
do not be long.