On February 27th the Church of England keeps the feast and celebrates the memory of George Herbert, the gentle poet priest whose book the Temple, published postunously in 1633 by his friend Nicholas Ferrar has done so much to help and inspire Christians ever since. In an earlier blog post I gave a talk on George Herbert and the Insights of Prayer, today I offer this sonnet, part of a new series I am working on called ‘The Household of Faith” which will be a celebration of the saints, intended to complement my sequence Sounding the Seasons. As always you can hear me read the sonnet by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button.
Gentle exemplar, help us in our trials,
With all that passed between you and your Lord,
That intimate exchange of frowns and smiles
Which chronicled your love-match with the Word.
Your manuscript, entrusted to a friend,
Has been entrusted now to every soul,
We make a new beginning in your end
And find your broken heart has made us whole.
Time has transplanted you, and you take root,
Past changing in the paradise of Love,
Help me to trace your temple, tune your lute,
And listen for an echo from above,
Open the window, let me hear you sing,
And see the Word with you in everything.
3 responses to “A Sonnet for George Herbert”
“And find your broken heart has made us whole.
Time has transplanted you, and you take root,”
What a beautiful thing to say to a poet.
Thanks. I just wrote it this morning. The ‘transplanted’ image is also an allusion to his poem ‘the flower’.