He was one of my favorite old poets. I still remember The Collar, reading it for some English class or another in college, sucked in and sucker-punched by the last two lines. I felt faint in church as a girl, saw the black dots floating in front of my eyes as I stood and sat and stood and kneeled again. What did I love in such seriousness? Where did it fly?
Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth
Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
The land of spices; something understood.
George Herbert (1593-1633)