I happened to find this poem in the introduction to Waiting For God by Simone Weil, which volume I happened to find in a box of not very random books that a friend shipped me (he was intending to enter a monastery and so wanted to give away his posessions.) The timing was good; my students had all chosen a poem to memorize this week and I was on the look out for my own poem. I wanted something that would be interesting and meaningful to me, as well as accessible to them. Maybe they won't remember hearing their teacher recite this poem, but I hope that when this poem (or even this idea) crosses their paths in the future, they will have a place for it in their heart, even if they don't know why.
I felt an instant flash of recognition and acceptance when I read it, although I don't remember ever hearing it before. Perhaps someone once recited it to me and I began to weave an understanding around it, forgetting the inspiration.
Petty note: Why does "sinne" sound so much better than "sin" to me?
by George Herbert
Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guiltie of lust and sinne.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack’d any thing.A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkinde, ungratefull? Ah my deare,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?Truth Lord, but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve.
You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.