In prayer the lips ne'er act the winning part
Without the sweet concurrence of the heart.
Are these your presences, my clan from Heaven?
Are these your hands upon my wounded soul?
Mine own, mine own, blood of my blood be with me,
Fly by my path till you have made me whole!
There comes an hour when begging stops,
When the long interceding lips
Perceive their prayer is vain.
"Thou shalt not" is a kinder sword
Than from a disappointing God
"Disciple, call again.
Prayer is the little implement
Through which Men reach
Where Presence -- is denied them.
They fling their Speech
By means of it -- in God's Ear --
If then He hear --
This sums the Apparatus
Comprised in Prayer --
My nosegays are for Captives --
Dim -- expectant eyes,
Fingers denied the plucking,
Patient till Paradise.
To such, if they should whisper
Of morning and the moor,
They bear no other errand,
And I, no other prayer.
A feel of warmth in this place.
In winter air, a scent of harvest.
No form of prayer is needed,
When by sudden grace attended.
Naturally, we fall from grace.
Mere humans, we forget what light
Led us, lonely, to this place.
It was too late for Man --
But early, yet, for God --
Creation -- impotent to help --
But Prayer -- remained -- Our Side --
How excellent the Heaven --
When Earth -- cannot be had --
How hospitable -- then -- the face
Of our Old Neighbor -- God --
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
HA, I am the lord of earth! The noble,
Who're in my service, love me.
Ha, I am the lord of earth! The noble,
O'er whom my sway extendeth, love I.
Oh, grant me, God in Heaven, that I may ne'er
Dispense with loftiness and love!
If I were a woman of old,
What prayers I would pray for you, dear;
My pitiful tribute behold--
Not a prayer, but a tear.
The pitiless order of things,
Whose laws we may change not nor break,
Alone I could face it--it wrings
My heart for your sake.
BODY of Jesus taken down from the cross
Carved in ivory by a lover of Christ,
It is a child’s handful you are here,
The breadth of a man’s finger,
And this ivory loin cloth
Speaks an interspersal in the day’s work,
The carver’s prayer and whim
When I a verse shall make,
Know I have pray'd thee,
For old religion's sake,
Saint Ben to aid me.
Make the way smooth for me,
When I, thy Herrick,
Honouring thee, on my knee
Offer my lyric.
Candles I'll give to thee,
And a new altar,
And thou, Saint Ben, shalt be
Writ in my psalter.
Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
BLUE is Our Lady’s colour,
White is Our Lord’s.
To-morrow I will wear a knot
Of blue and white cords,
That you may see it, where you ride
Among the flashing swords.
O banner, white and sunny blue,
With prayer I wove thee!
For love the white, for faith the heavenly hue,
And both for him, so tender-true,
Him that doth love me!
For those my unbaptized rhymes,
Writ in my wild unhallowed times,
For every sentence, clause, and word,
That's not inlaid with Thee, my Lord,
Forgive me, God, and blot each line
Out of my book, that is not Thine.
But if, 'mongst all, Thou find'st here one
Worthy thy benediction,
That one of all the rest shall be
The glory of my work, and me.
Riches I hold in light esteem,
And love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanish'd with the morn:
And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, "Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty!"
Yes, as my swift days near their goal,
'Tis all that I implore:
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure
Dearest one, when I am dead
Never seek to follow me.
Never mount the quiet hill
Where the copper leaves are still,
As my heart is, on the tree
Standing at my narrow bed.
Only of your tenderness,
Pray a little prayer at night.
Say: "I have forgiven now-
I, so weak and sad; O Thou,
Wreathed in thunder, robed in light,
Surely Thou wilt do no less.
William Butler Yeats
God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;
From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song's sake a fool?
I pray -- for word is out
And prayer comes round again --
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.
W S Merwin
The cold slope is standing in darkness
But the south of the trees is dry to the touch
The heavy limbs climb into the moonlight bearing feathers
I came to watch these
White plants older at night
Come first to the ruins
And I hear magpies kept awake by the moon
The water flows through its
Own fingers without end
Tonight once more
I find a single prayer and it is not for men
The bugler sent a call of high romance—
“Lights out! Lights out!” to the deserted square.
On the thin brazen notes he threw a prayer,
“God, if it’s this for me next time in France…
O spare the phantom bugle as I lie
Dead in the gas and smoke and roar of guns,
Dead in a row with the other broken ones
Lying so stiff and still under the sky,
Jolly young Fusiliers too good to die.
Adela Florence Cory Nicolson
You are my God, and I would fain adore You
With sweet and secret rites of other days.
Burn scented oil in silver lamps before You,
Pour perfume on Your feet with prayer and praise.
Yet are we one; Your gracious condescension
Granted, and grants, the loveliness I crave.
One, in the perfect sense of Eastern mention,
"Gold and the Bracelet, Water and the Wave."
I don't know if you're alive or dead.
Can you on earth be sought,
Or only when the sunsets fade
Be mourned serenely in my thought?
All is for you: the daily prayer,
The sleepless heat at night,
And of my verses, the white
Flock, and of my eyes, the blue fire.
No-one was more cherished, no-one tortured
Me more, not
Even the one who betrayed me to torture,
Not even the one who caressed me and forgot.
William Butler Yeats
O what to me the little room
That was brimmed up with prayer and rest;
He bade me out into the gloom,
And my breast lies upon his breast.
O what to me my mother's care,
The house where I was safe and warm;
The shadowy blossom of my hair
Will hide us from the bitter storm.
O hiding hair and dewy eyes,
I am no more with life and death,
My heart upon his warm heart lies,
My breath is mixed into his breath.
it is written
the act of writing is
holy words are
sacred and your breath
brings out the
god in them
i write these words
quickly repeat them
softly to myself
this talisman for you
fold this prayer
around your neck fortify
your back with these
may you walk ever
loved and in love
know the sun
for warmth the moon
may these words always
remind you your breath
is sacred words
bring out the god
If grief for grief can touch thee,
If answering woe for woe,
If any truth can melt thee
Come to me now!
I cannot be more lonely,
More drear I cannot be!
My worn heart beats so wildly
'Twill break for thee--
And when the world despises--
When Heaven repels my prayer--
Will not mine angel comfort?
Mine idol hear?
Yes, by the tears I'm poured,
By all my hours of pain
O I shall surely win thee,
Robert William Service
With peace and rest
And wisdom sage,
Ripeness is best
Of every age.
With hands that fold
In pensive prayer,
For grave-yard mold
From fighting free
With fear forgot,
Let ripeness be,
Before the rot.
With heart of cheer
At eighty odd,
How man grows near
With passion spent
And life nigh run
Let us repent
The ill we've done.
And as we bless
With happy heart
juicy as redcurrants
with their sweet tang taste
my holy requirement
caught in a cleft of mountain
ever clambered towards
my place of the blood-red fruit
my want at the first sherd
for the full-bosomed bowl
my sinewy prayer
where dust and the dry rock
are chastened by the cool red juice
my revolving love
as the year bends and the fruit's
pangs purchase my lips