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 posthumously 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, on the eve of his Feast Day, I offer this sonnet, part of a sequence called ‘Clouds of Witness” in my poetry book The Singing Bowl. The sequence is a celebration of the saints, intended to complement my sequence Sounding the Seasons.
You can get this book in the UK by ordering it from your local bookshop, or via Amazon, 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.
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5 responses to “A Sonnet for George Herbert”
The audio link is missing Malcolm!
Oh dear. I’ll try and fix that
I love this! The last line “to see with him the Word in everything.” cause one to go back and beyond. Had to reread it several times to convince myself that it was Herbert himself.
Yes – here’s Guite’s beautiful po
Lovely! So comforting that God sees every broken heart and will mend each in time.