Sabbath Poetry: Coleridge

Today is Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s birthday, and Malcolm Guite has posted a sonnet he wrote in honor of the great poet, philosopher, and literary critic. Read more of Guite’s homage to Coleridge at his website and/or listen to Guite reading his own poem. Enjoy!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘Stop, Christian passer-by!—Stop, child of God!’

You made your epitaph imperative,

And stopped this wedding guest! But I am glad

To stop with you and start again, to live

From that pure source, the all-renewing stream,

Whose living power is imagination,

And know myself a child of the I AM,

Open and loving to his whole creation.

Your glittering eye taught mine to pierce the veil,

To let his light transfigure all my seeing,

To serve the shaping Spirit whom I feel,

And make with him the poem of my being.

I follow where you sail towards our haven,

Your wide wake lit with glimmerings of heaven.

A Sabbath Poem: Heaney

The Rain Stick

Upend the rain stick and what happens next

Is a music that you never would have known

To listen for. In a cactus stalk

 

Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash

Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe

Being played by water, you shake it again lightly

 

And diminuendo runs through all its scales

Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes

A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,

 

Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;

Then glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air.

Upend the stick again. What happens next

 

Is undiminished for having happened once,

Twice, ten, a thousand times before.

Who cares if all the music that transpires

 

Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?

You are like a rich man entering heaven

Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again.

-Seamus Heaney