George MacDonald

(10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905 / Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

A Book Of Strife In The Form Of The Diary Of An Old Soul - December - Poem by George MacDonald

1.
I AM a little weary of my life-
Not thy life, blessed Father! Or the blood
Too slowly laves the coral shores of thought,
Or I am weary of weariness and strife.
Open my soul-gates to thy living flood;
I ask not larger heart-throbs, vigour-fraught,
I pray thy presence, with strong patience rife.

2.

I will what thou will'st-only keep me sure
That thou art willing; call to me now and then.
So, ceasing to enjoy, I shall endure
With perfect patience-willing beyond my ken
Beyond my love, beyond my thinking scope;
Willing to be because thy will is pure;
Willing thy will beyond all bounds of hope.

3.

This weariness of mine, may it not come
From something that doth need no setting right?
Shall fruit be blamed if it hang wearily
A day before it perfected drop plumb
To the sad earth from off its nursing tree?
Ripeness must always come with loss of might.
The weary evening fall before the resting night.

4.

Hither if I have come through earth and air,
Through fire and water-I am not of them;
Born in the darkness, what fair-flashing gem
Would to the earth go back and nestle there?
Not of this world, this world my life doth hem;
What if I weary, then, and look to the door,
Because my unknown life is swelling at the core?

5.

All winged things came from the waters first;
Airward still many a one from the water springs
In dens and caves wind-loving things are nursed:-
I lie like unhatched bird, upfolded, dumb,
While all the air is trembling with the hum
Of songs and beating hearts and whirring wings,
That call my slumbering life to wake to happy things.

6.

I lay last night and knew not why I was sad.
''Tis well with God,' I said, 'and he is the truth;
Let that content me.'-'Tis not strength, nor youth,
Nor buoyant health, nor a heart merry-mad,
That makes the fact of things wherein men live:
He is the life, and doth my life outgive;
In him there is no gloom, but all is solemn-glad,

7.

I said to myself, 'Lo, I lie in a dream
Of separation, where there comes no sign;
My waking life is hid with Christ in God,
Where all is true and potent-fact divine.'
I will not heed the thing that doth but seem;
I will be quiet as lark upon the sod;
God's will, the seed, shall rest in me the pod.

8.

And when that will shall blossom-then, my God,
There will be jubilation in a world!
The glad lark, soaring heavenward from the sod,
Up the swift spiral of its own song whirled,
Never such jubilation wild out-poured
As from my soul will break at thy feet, Lord,
Like a great tide from sea-heart shoreward hurled.

9.

For then thou wilt be able, then at last,
To glad me as thou hungerest to do;
Then shall thy life my heart all open find,
A thoroughfare to thy great spirit-wind;
Then shall I rest within thy holy vast,
One with the bliss of the eternal mind;
And all creation rise in me created new.

10.

What makes thy being a bliss shall then make mind
For I shall love as thou, and love in thee;
Then shall I have whatever I desire,
My every faintest wish being all divine;
Power thou wilt give me to work mightily,
Even as my Lord, leading thy low men nigher,
With dance and song to cast their best upon thy fire.

11.

Then shall I live such an essential life
That a mere flower will then to me unfold
More bliss than now grandest orchestral strife-
By love made and obedience humble-bold,
I shall straight through its window God behold.
God, I shall feed on thee, thy creature blest
With very being-work at one with sweetest rest.

12.

Give me a world, to part for praise and sunder.
The brooks be bells; the winds, in caverns dumb,
Wake fife and flute and flageolet and voice;
The fire-shook earth itself be the great drum;
And let the air the region's bass out thunder;
The firs be violins; the reeds hautboys;
Rivers, seas, icebergs fill the great score up and under!

13.

But rather dost thou hear the blundered words
Of breathing creatures; the music-lowing herds
Of thy great cattle; thy soft-bleating sheep;
O'erhovered by the trebles of thy birds,
Whose Christ-praised carelessness song-fills the deep;
Still rather a child's talk who apart doth hide him,
And make a tent for God to come and sit beside him.

14.

This is not life; this being is not enough.
But thou art life, and thou hast life for me.
Thou mad'st the worm-to cast the wormy slough,
And fly abroad-a glory flit and flee.
Thou hast me, statue-like, hewn in the rough,
Meaning at last to shape me perfectly.
Lord, thou hast called me fourth, I turn and call on thee.

15.

'Tis thine to make, mine to rejoice in thine.
As, hungering for his mother's face and eyes,
The child throws wide the door, back to the wall,
I run to thee, the refuge from poor lies:
Lean dogs behind me whimper, yelp, and whine;
Life lieth ever sick, Death's writhing thrall,
In slavery endless, hopeless, and supine.

16.

The life that hath not willed itself to be,
Must clasp the life that willed, and be at peace;
Or, like a leaf wind-blown, through chaos flee;
A life-husk into which the demons go,
And work their will, and drive it to and fro;
A thing that neither is, nor yet can cease,
Which uncreation can alone release.

17.

But when I turn and grasp the making hand,
And will the making will, with confidence
I ride the crest of the creation-wave,
Helpless no more, no more existence' slave;
In the heart of love's creating fire I stand,
And, love-possessed in heart and soul and sense,
Take up the making share the making Master gave.

18.

That man alone who does the Father's works
Can be the Father's son; yea, only he
Who sonlike can create, can ever be;
Who with God wills not, is no son, not free.
O Father, send the demon-doubt that lurks
Behind the hope, out into the abyss;
Who trusts in knowledge all its good shall miss.

19.

Thy beasts are sinless, and do live before thee;
Thy child is sinful, and must run to thee.
Thy angels sin not and in peace adore thee;
But I must will, or never more be free.
I from thy heart came, how can I ignore thee?-
Back to my home I hurry, haste, and flee;
There I shall dwell, love-praising evermore thee.

20.

My holy self, thy pure ideal, lies
Calm in thy bosom, which it cannot leave;
My self unholy, no ideal, hies
Hither and thither, gathering store to grieve-
Not now, O Father! now it mounts, it flies,
To join the true self in thy heart that waits,
And, one with it, be one with all the heavenly mates.

21.

Trusting thee, Christ, I kneel, and clasp thy knee;
Cast myself down, and kiss thy brother-feet-
One self thou and the Father's thought of thee!
Ideal son, thou hast left the perfect home,
Ideal brother, to seek thy brothers come!
Thou know'st our angels all, God's children sweet,
And of each two wilt make one holy child complete.

22.

To a slow end I draw these daily words,
Nor think such words often to write again-
Rather, as light the power to me affords,
Christ's new and old would to my friends unbind;
Through words he spoke help to his thought behind;
Unveil the heart with which he drew his men;
Set forth his rule o'er devils, animals, corn, and wind.

23.

I do remember how one time I thought,
'God must be lonely-oh, so lonely lone!
I will be very good to him-ah, nought
Can reach the heart of his great loneliness!
My whole heart I will bring him, with a moan
That I may not come nearer; I will lie prone
Before the awful loveliness in loneliness' excess.'

24.

A God must have a God for company.
And lo! thou hast the Son-God to thy friend.
Thou honour'st his obedience, he thy law.
Into thy secret life-will he doth see;
Thou fold'st him round in live love perfectly-
One two, without beginning, without end;
In love, life, strength, and truth, perfect without a flaw.

25.

Thou hast not made, or taught me, Lord, to care
For times and seasons-but this one glad day
Is the blue sapphire clasping all the lights
That flash in the girdle of the year so fair-
When thou wast born a man, because alway
Thou wast and art a man, through all the flights
Of thought, and time, and thousandfold creation's play.

26.

We all are lonely, Maker-each a soul
Shut in by itself, a sundered atom of thee.
No two yet loved themselves into a whole;
Even when we weep together we are two.
Of two to make one, which yet two shall be,
Is thy creation's problem, deep, and true,
To which thou only hold'st the happy, hurting clue.

27.

No less than thou, O Father, do we need
A God to friend each lonely one of us.
As touch not in the sack two grains of seed,
Touch no two hearts in great worlds populous.
Outside the making God we cannot meet
Him he has made our brother: homeward, thus,
To find our kin we first must turn our wandering feet.

28.

It must be possible that the soul made
Should absolutely meet the soul that makes;
Then, in that bearing soul, meet every other
There also born, each sister and each brother.
Lord, till I meet thee thus, life is delayed;
I am not I until that morning breaks,
Not I until my consciousness eternal wakes.

29.

Again I shall behold thee, daughter true;
The hour will come when I shall hold thee fast
In God's name, loving thee all through and through.
Somewhere in his grand thought this waits for us.
Then shall I see a smile not like thy last-
For that great thing which came when all was past,
Was not a smile, but God's peace glorious.

30.

Twilight of the transfiguration-joy,
Gleam-faced, pure-eyed, strong-willed, high-hearted boy!
Hardly thy life clear forth of heaven was sent,
Ere it broke out into a smile, and went.
So swift thy growth, so true thy goalward bent,
Thou, child and sage inextricably blent,
Wilt one day teach thy father in some heavenly tent

31.

Go, my beloved children, live your life.
Wounded, faint, bleeding, never yield the strife.
Stunned, fallen-awake, arise, and fight again.
Before you victory stands, with shining train
Of hopes not credible until they are.
Beyond morass and mountain swells the star
Of perfect love-the home of longing heart and brain


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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