Evelyn Underhill

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One of the early twentieth century's finest writers on spirituality, I did not realize that she had a poetic oeuvre, from which this is taken.

Corpus Christi
Evelyn Underhill

COME, dear Heart!
The fields are white to harvest: come and see
As in a glass the timeless mystery
Of love, whereby we feed
On God, our bread indeed.
Torn by the sickles, see him share the smart
Of travailing Creation: maimed, despised,
Yet by his lovers the more dearly prized
Because for us he lays his beauty down—
Last toll paid by Perfection for our loss!
Trace on these fields his everlasting Cross,
And o’er the stricken sheaves the Immortal Victim’s crown.

From far horizons came a Voice that said,
‘Lo! from the hand of Death take thou thy daily bread.’
Then I, awakening, saw
A splendour burning in the heart of things:
The flame of living love which lights the law
Of mystic death that works the mystic birth.
I knew the patient passion of the earth,
Maternal, everlasting, whence there springs
The Bread of Angels and the life of man.

Now in each blade
I, blind no longer, see
The glory of God’s growth: know it to be
An earnest of the Immemorial Plan.
Yea, I have understood
How all things are one great oblation made:
He on our altars, we on the world’s rood.
Even as this corn,
We are snatched from the sod;
Reaped, ground to grist,
Crushed and tormented in the Mills of God,
And offered at Life’s hands, a living Eucharist.

What is one to make of that last stanza?

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Just as wheat comes from the earth, so do we. Just as wheat is cut down to make the wafer of the Eucharist, the body of Christ, an offering to God... so are we all cut down by life's suffering on the cross of life in this world and presented to God.

Nice find, Stephen.

It all sounds so joyless. Rather than a piece of corn, I think I'd rather be a clump of graapes and put through the seive to be poured out wine.

(I had to misspell graapes because the correct spelling had questionable content)

Dear Psalm41,

The poem may seem joyless, but your comment was a source of tremendous amusement. I'll have to look into what might be questionable in graapes. Yep, just as I suspected. I daren't name Casandra in the proper spelling do I? Weird, weird protection devices!





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 25, 2005 7:46 AM.

Poetry of Robert Hugh Benson was the previous entry in this blog.

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