Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Perfect Poem as a Response to One of My Posts

I posted about a typical day in the life the other day -- the kind of day that calls up my prodigious sense of balance but that also calls for my prodigiously sharp tongue. I wrote in teensy tinesy letters that certain sayings -- those well-meant but maddeningly cliched phrases -- do not help me to balance further. I think I also added that those who use them are either insane or brain-addled. And as things go, it was that teensy-tinesy sentence that provoked the most comments. 

One of the responses included a poem forwarded by one of my very favorite blog friends, and while I'm a nerdy lover of George Herbert's poetry, I had never read this one. Mr. Herbert was a great metaphysical poet of the 17th century -- when I first read his poem The Collar in a college poetry class, I nearly swooned (had to use that word). You can read it at the end of this post from a couple of years ago. 

The poem sent to me today is from Herbert's larger work The Temple. Sacred Poems, and private ejaculations, published in 1633. Reader, you couldn't ask for a more fantastic title for a book of poetry, could you?

How terrific is this alongside my vastly less eloquent and far more petulant ejaculations?


AH my deare angrie Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.
I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve:
And all my sowre-sweet dayes
I will lament, and love.


  1. Oh! Love the photo and the title of the book. I never got into George Herbert, but my best friend did. I was a Donne fan:
    "Batter my heart, three person'd god"
    Herbert fits better with your bad day and that wonderful tiny little teensy sentence!

    Here's to more swooning over long-gone (but not forgotten) poets! The first one to make me swoon was Sir Phillip Sidney, the end of Sonnet #71:
    "But ah," Desire still cries, "give me some food."

  2. Ejaculations is a perfect word to describe my cheerful vitriol to fellow Target shoppers today! As I was coming and going, there were people parking their empty carts in the space next to the handicapped parking. I saw it as a teachable moment and said to them, "You know, that's not actually where the carts go, that is space that people in wheelchairs need to get their chairs in and out of the car. That area over there with the big picture of a cart on it is where the carts actually go! {big smile}

  3. Verna: I also love Donne, and I used to fantasize about going to a church where he preached. Can you even imagine that?

    Lisa: I wish that I'd been there to hear the wrath of Lisa Lilienthal!

  4. Hell yes! If we were to actually emulate god, we would be mean sons of bitches more than half the time.
    Love it.

  5. Ejaculations, perfect! Loved the poem. I missed the post you're talking about, off to hunt for it.

  6. I find it amazing that he lived so long ago, and yet his words still resonate so strongly. Poetry sometimes behaves like a magical time traveling elixir, don't you think?

  7. Pretty much describes the human condition, for sure!

  8. In my failed days as a former English major, I did quite enjoy the metaphysical poets.

    Another platitude I'm sick of hearing? your son's so lucky to have you for a mom. Ack.

    Nap yet?

  9. I remember reading this, not so long ago, and thinking how absolutely wonderful it was. I think I copied it into my personal journal. I think I'll copy it again.

  10. You had me at "private ejaculations." Ah, how our language has changed!



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