Francis Thompson

(16 December 1859 – 13 November 1907 / Preston, England)

Any Saint - Poem by Francis Thompson

His shoulder did I hold
Too high that I, o'erbold
Weak one,
Should lean thereon.

But He a little hath
Declined His stately path
And my
Feet set more high;

That the slack arm may reach
His shoulder, and faint speech
Stir
His unwithering hair.

And bolder now and bolder
I lean upon that shoulder
So dear
He is and near:

And with His aureole
The tresses of my soul
Are blent
In wished content.

Yes, this too gentle Lover
Hath flattering words to move her
To pride
By His sweet side.

Ah, Love! somewhat let be!
Lest my humility
Grow weak
When thou dost speak!

Rebate thy tender suit,
Lest to herself impute
Some worth
Thy bride of earth!

A maid too easily
Conceits herself to be
Those things
Her lover sings;

And being straitly wooed,
Believes herself the Good
And Fair
He seeks in her.

Turn something of Thy look,
And fear me with rebuke,
That I
May timorously

Take tremors in Thy arms,
And with contriv-ed charms
Allure
A love unsure.

Not to me, not to me,
Builded so flawfully,
O God,
Thy humbling laud!

Not to this man, but Man,--
Universe in a span;
Point
Of the spheres conjoint;

In whom eternally
Thou, Light, dost focus Thee!--
Didst pave
The way o' the wave;

Rivet with stars the Heaven,
For causeways to Thy driven
Car
In its coming far

Unto him, only him;
In Thy deific whim
Didst bound
Thy works' great round

In this small ring of flesh;
The sky's gold-knotted mesh
Thy wrist
Did only twist

To take him in that net.--
Man! swinging-wicket set
Between
The Unseen and Seen;

Lo, God's two worlds immense,
Of spirit and of sense,
Wed
In this narrow bed;

Yea, and the midge's hymn
Answers the seraphim
Athwart
Thy body's court!

Great arm-fellow of God!
To the ancestral clod
Kin,
And to cherubin;

Bread predilectedly
O' the worm and Deity!
Hark,
O God's clay-sealed Ark,

To praise that fits thee, clear
To the ear within the ear,
But dense
To clay-sealed sense.

All the Omnific made
When in a word he said,
(Mystery!)
He uttered THEE;

Thee His great utterance bore,
O secret metaphor
Of what
Thou dream'st no jot!

Cosmic metonymy!
Weak world-unshuttering key!
One
Seal of Solomon!

Trope that itself not scans
Its huge significance,
Which tries
Cherubic eyes.

Primer where the angels all
God's grammar spell in small,
Nor spell
The highest too well.

Point for the great descants
Of starry disputants;
Equation
Of creation.

Thou meaning, couldst thou see,
Of all which dafteth thee;
So plain,
It mocks thy pain;

Stone of the Law indeed,
Thine own self couldst thou read;
Thy bliss
Within thee is.

Compost of Heaven and mire,
Slow foot and swift desire!
Lo,
To have Yes, choose No;

Gird, and thou shalt unbind;
Seek not, and thou shalt find;
To eat,
Deny thy meat;

And thou shalt be fulfilled
With all sweet things unwilled:
So best
God loves to jest

With children small--a freak
Of heavenly hide-and-seek
Fit
For thy wayward wit,

Who art thyself a thing
Of whim and wavering;
Free
When His wings pen thee;

Sole fully blest, to feel
God whistle thee at heel;
Drunk up
As a dew-drop,

When He bends down, sun-wise,
Intemperable eyes;
Most proud,
When utterly bowed.

To feel thyself and be
His dear nonentity--
Caught
Beyond human thought

In the thunder-spout of Him,
Until thy being dim,
And be
Dead deathlessly.

Stoop, stoop; for thou dost fear
The nettle's wrathful spear,
So slight
Art thou of might!

Rise; for Heaven hath no frown
When thou to thee pluck'st down,
Strong clod!
The neck of God.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010



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