Friday, December 28, 2012


A dear family friend named Jeremy, one who grew up with my son, and played hours of music with him, sent me this one yesterday. Poetry about death and eternity brings great comfort to me. I have always loved George Herbert, though I had never come across this one.  I hope you will enjoy this one as much as me. Though it was written in old English in 1633, it is easy to decipher. It talks about the purifying power of death.

My tennis shoes are standing on the ancient floor of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy, built in 1063.

MArk you the floore? that square & speckled stone,
                             Which looks so firm and strong,
                                          Is Patience:

And th’ other black and grave, where with each one
                             Is checker’d all along,

The gentle rising, which on either hand
                             Leads to the Quire above,
                                          Is Confidence:

But the sweet cement, which in one sure band
                             Ties the whole frame, is Love
                                          And Charitie.

 Hither sometimes Sinne steals, and stains
 The marbles neat and curious veins:
But all is cleansed when the marble weeps.
 Sometimes Death, puffing at the Doore,
 Blows all the dust about the floore:
But while he thinks to spoil the room, he sweeps.
 Blest be the Architect, whose art
 Could build so strong in a weak heart.


Daisy said...

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing these poems, Karen.

I would not seek them out myselfe,
You're like my little poem elfe,
Like balm my soul it soothes.


Rich and Carolyn Dewey said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing it Karen. My shoes have also touched the floor of this beautiful cathedral. There's something really hallowed about these ancient places.