Friday, July 13, 2012

The Night Poem by Vaughan


This is one of Fr. Paul Murray's favorite poems; I was blessed to hear him read and reflect on it several times in our God and the Poets course at the Angelicum in spring 2011.

The Night
by Henry Vaughan
http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/V/VaughanHenry/Night.htm

Through that pure Virgin-shrine,
That sacred veil drawn o'er thy glorious noon
That men might look and live as glow-worms shine,
               And face the moon:
     Wise Nicodemus saw such light
     As made him know his God by night.

          Most blest believer he!
Who in that land of darkness and blind eyes
Thy long expected healing wings could see,
               When thou didst rise,
     And what can never more be done,
     Did at mid-night speak with the Sun!

          O who will tell me, where
He found thee at that dead and silent hour!
What hallowed solitary ground did bear
               So rare a flower,
     Within whose sacred leaves did lie
     The fullness of the Deity.

          No mercy-seat of gold,
No dead and dusty Cherub, nor carved stone,
But his own living works did my Lord hold
               And lodge alone;
     Where trees and herbs did watch and peep
     And wonder, while the Jews did sleep.

          Dear night! this world's defeat;
The stop to busy fools; care's check and curb;
The day of Spirits; my soul's calm retreat
               Which none disturb!
     Christ's progress, and his prayer time;
     The hours to which high Heaven doth chime.

          God's silent, searching flight:
When my Lord's head is filled with dew, and all
His locks are wet with the clear drops of night;
               His still, soft call;
     His knocking time; the soul's dumb watch,
     When Spirits their fair kindred catch.

          Were all my loud, evil days
Calm and unhaunted as is thy dark Tent,
Whose peace but by some Angel's wing or voice
               Is seldom rent;
     Then I in Heaven all the long year
     Would keep, and never wander here.

          But living where the sun
Doth all things wake, and where all mix and tire
Themselves and others, I consent and run
               To every mire,
     And by this world's ill-guiding light,
     Err more than I can do by night.

          There is in God (some say)
A deep, but dazzling darkness; as men here
Say it is late and dusky, because they
               See not all clear;
     O for that night! where I in him
     Might live invisible and dim.