Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Kingdom of God is Within You

Opium fiend, 100 years dead. You died in our street; yet lived this beauty in thee? Francis Thompson wrote the poem that follows as he wasted away with a needle in his arm. "Be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." (Rom 12:16)

The Kingdom of God is at Hand
by Francis Thompson, 1859-1907

O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!
Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
The eagle plunge to find the air--
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumor of thee there?
Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumbed conceiving soars!--
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.
The angels keep their ancient places--
Turn but a stone and start a wing!
'Tis ye, 'tis your estrang├Ęd faces,
That miss the many-splendored thing.
But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
Cry--and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob's ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.
Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry--clinging to Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water,
Not of Genesareth, but Thames!

"For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat...Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."
Romans 14


Anonymous said...

What, too high-brow for you??

Jan Kelley said...

Not too Highbrow, but filled with wisdom that makes one desire to reflect. The poem is at times, a masterpiece. I love the last two lines and they continue to reverberate in my mind throughout the day. The last line could replace the "Thames" with the "Ohio" in Newburgh or "Lake Houston" or the "sea of humanity". Beautifully stated. A blog that begs reflection---personal reflection. I feel any additional words from me will only detract from the pure message of the post. See what I mean?

Ben Moore said...

Thought you might like this dance edit which include the reading of this poem.