25 March 2016

Lady Day and Good Friday: 3 Poems by Anglicans

Reflecting upon Lady Day and Good Friday falling upon the same day, Father Zuhlsdorf included the following on his blog today, 3 poems by Anglican faithful:
It also occurred in the year 1608. That day, the poet John Donne, one of the Metaphysical Poets, penned a magnificent poem.  He contrasts the two experiences of our Lady.
Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day.  1608
Tamely, frail body, abstain today; today
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away;
She sees Him nothing twice at once, who’s all;
She sees a Cedar plant itself and fall,
Her Maker put to making, and the head
Of life at once not yet alive yet dead;
She sees at once the virgin mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoiced she’s seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty and at scarce fifteen;
At once a Son is promised her, and gone;
Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, she’s in orbity,
At once receiver and the legacy;
All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
The abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one
(As in plain maps, the furthest west is east)
Of the Angels’ Ave and Consummatum est.
How well the Church, God’s court of faculties,
Deals in some times and seldom joining these!
As by the self-fixed Pole we never do
Direct our course, but the next star thereto,
Which shows where the other is and which we say
(Because it strays not far) doth never stray,
So God by His Church, nearest to Him, we know
And stand firm, if we by her motion go;
His Spirit, as His fiery pillar doth
Lead, and His Church, as cloud, to one end both.
This Church, by letting these days join, hath shown
Death and conception in mankind is one:
Or ‘twas in Him the same humility
That He would be a man and leave to be:
Or as creation He had made, as God,
With the last judgment but one period,
His imitating Spouse would join in one
Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone:
Or as though the least of His pains, deeds, or words,
Would busy a life, she all this day affords;
This treasure then, in gross, my soul uplay,
And in my life retail it every day.
Another poet, George Herbert wrote a poem in Latin reflecting on our life through Christ’s death:
In Natales et Pascha Concurrentes
Cum tu, Christe, cadis, nascor ; mentemque ligavit
Una meam membris horula, teque cruci.
O me disparibus natum cum numine fatis !
Cur mihi das vitam, quam tibi, Christe, negas ?
Quin moriar tecum : vitam, quam negligis ipse,
Accipe; ni talem des, tibi qualis erat.
Hoc mihi legatum tristi si funere praestes,
Christe, duplex fiet mors tua vita mihi :
Atque ubi per te sanctificer natalibus ipsis,
In vitam, et nervos Pascha coaeva fluet.
Christina Rossetti has this:
Good Friday
Christina Rossetti
Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
  That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
   And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
   Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
   Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
   Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon –
   I, only I.
Yet give not o’er,
   But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
   And smite a rock.