The Way Of The Soul or In Memoriam

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I have not been a great fan of poetry, for the simple reason I did not find a lot of poetry that I liked. These days that is changing. I have, for the first time, been working my way through Tennyson’s In Memoriam, and it really is something I would highly recommend. Good poetry – like good art, opens up great vistas of feeling and desire. So much of what we are confronted with, in the name of art and music these days is real poison. I think CS Lewis said something to the effect of deny the body food, and it will gobble up poison. If we deny the rightful worship (kneeling before what is truly worthy / bow down before our superior), we will gobble poisons in glorifying murderers, prostitutes, thieves, greed, criminal behavior and vain fashions. Dunno about you – but I sure see a lot of that going on these days. I have been working through Ecclesiastes in the last weeks, and as a commentary I have used Shade Of His Hand by Oswald Chambers, which you can get used for $3 – $5.00 at Amazon. At the start of Ecclesiastes 8 OC quotes Tennyson;

…life is not as idle ore,

But iron dug from central gloom,
And heated hot with burning fears,
And dipt in baths of hissing tears,
And batter’d with the shocks of doom
To shape and use.

so true….then as I looked up the poem I found several other sections I enjoyed – but will share 2 with you;

Oh, wast thou with me, dearest, then,
While I rose up against my doom,
And yearn’d to burst the folded gloom,
To bare the eternal Heavens again,

To feel once more, in placid awe,
The strong imagination roll
A sphere of stars about my soul,
In all her motion one with law;

If thou wert with me, and the grave
Divide us not, be with me now,
And enter in at breast and brow,
Till all my blood, a fuller wave,

Be quicken’d with a livelier breath,
And like an inconsiderate boy,
As in the former flash of joy,
I slip the thoughts of life and death;

And all the breeze of Fancy blows,
And every dew-drop paints a bow,
The wizard lightnings deeply glow,
And every thought breaks out a rose.

and;

Whatever I have said or sung,
Some bitter notes my harp would give,
Yea, tho’ there often seem’d to live
A contradiction on the tongue,

Yet Hope had never lost her youth;
She did but look through dimmer eyes;
Or Love but play’d with gracious lies,
Because he felt so fix’d in truth:

And if the song were full of care,
He breathed the spirit of the song;
And if the words were sweet and strong
He set his royal signet there;

Abiding with me till I sail
To seek thee on the mystic deeps,
And this electric force, that keeps
A thousand pulses dancing, fail.

there really is so much that elevates and enlivens in this poem – I can only hope you find some time in your “3 minute limits” which is a common malady in our short attention society – and dive deeply into a very alive place that will have you feeling, thinking and embracing what is good in a dramatically new way. Keep in mind, Tennyson was a sinful man like you and I, and I would not for a moment suggest we bow before him and his work – but simply follow the references toward Christ and His love for us, and soar.

If you would like to read the poem, click the link below;

In Memoriam

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