Song…Much of It Borrowed
How beautifully it sings.
How beautifully Sitwell sang it.
How beautifully Donne began it:
‘that God is an angel in an angel
and a stone in a stone
and a straw in a straw’.
I knew it all before
but The Canticle of the Rose
a long time on my shelf
and hidden by some flaw —
a kind of shelf in myself —
was suddenly visible
And that golden rain of poems
that glorious storm of poems
sang until they were heard:
that God is a poet in a poet
a poem in a poem
and a word in a word.
~ P. K. Page (1916-2010)
How Many Heavens…
The emeralds are singing on the grasses,
and in the trees the bells of the long cold are ringing —
My blood seems changed to emeralds like the spears
Of grass beneath the earth pulsing and singing.
The flame of the first blade
Is an angel piercing through the earth to sing
‘God is everything!’
The grass within the grass, the angel in the angel, flame
Within the flame. And He is the green shade that came
To be the heart of shade.’
The gray-beard angel of the stone,
Who has grown wise with age, cried ‘Not alone
Am I within my silence—God is the stone in
the still stone, the silence laid
In the heart of silence’ . . . then, above the glade
The yellow straws of light
Whereof the sun has built his nest, cry ‘Bright
Is the world, the yellow straw
My brother—God is the straw within the straw:—All things
He is the sea of ripeness and the sweet apple’s emerald lore.
So you, my flame of grass, my root of the world from which all
Spring shall grow,
O you, my hawthorn bough of the stars, now leaning low
Through the day, for your flowers to kiss my lips, shall know
He is the core of the heart of love, and He, beyond laboring
seas, our ultimate shore.
~ Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)
“God is so omnipresent, as that the Ubiquitary will needs have the body of God everywhere, so omnipresent, as that the Stancarest will needs have God not only to be in everything, but to be everything—that God is an angel in an angel and a stone in a stone, and a straw in a straw.”
~ John Donne (1573-1631), Sermon VII