Christian Poems XI: Eliot, and a prayer from Kierkegaard

ASH WEDNESDAY (FROM CANTO I)

By T.S. Eliot

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive toward such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And I pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

In A Sacrifice of Praise (2nd ed), James H. Trott, editor (Cumberland House 2006), 714-715.

heart2-1

___________

AT THE LORD’S TABLE

(One of seven entries in the source cited)

By Soren Kierkegaard

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst first love us, who until the end didst love them whom Thou didst love from the beginning, who unto the end of days dost continue to love him who would belong to Thee; Thy faithfulness cannot deny itself–oh, only when a man denies Thee can he compel Thee as it were to deny him also, Thou loving One.  So be this our comfort when we must accuse ourselves of the offences we have committed and of the things we have left undone, of our weakness in temptation, unfaithfulness to Thee, to whom once in early youth and ofttimes again we promised faithfulness–this be our comfort, that even if we are unfaithful, Thou dost remain faithful, Thou canst not deny Thyself.

In The Prayers of Kierkegaard, P.D. LeFevre, editor and author (Univ of Chicago Press 1956), 120.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s