Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Book Review: The Temple


The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations. George Herbert. 1633. 192 pages. [Source: Library]

Do I read a lot of poetry? I wouldn't say that I do. Perhaps two or three books per year, usually. And often those "poetry books" are poems for the very young. So reading George Herbert, in many ways, was going outside of my comfort zone. Yet, it was good for me to go outside my comfort zone in reading. I assumed--presumed--that it would be an intimidating read: at best a bit boring, at worst, incomprehensible. But I really enjoyed reading this one.

I enjoyed "The Sacrifice" which is a poem written from the point of view of Jesus Christ. It has a refrain of "Was ever grief like mine?" and it would be a timely read for Lent and Easter. (Another timely read would be "Good Friday.") Though I think believers would profit from it year round.

"The Call" would probably be in my top three. Here's how it opens:
Come, my way, my Truth, my Life: Such a Way, as gives us breath: Such a truth, as ends all strife: And such a Life, as killeth death.
Though I'm just sharing the first stanza, I really adore this one from start to finish.

"Colossians 3:3" is a fun little poem, and, definitely in my top three.
My words and thoughts do both express this notion, that Life hath with the sun a double motion. The first Is straight, and our diurnal friend, the other Hid and doth obliquely bend. One life is wrapped In flesh, and tends to earth: The other winds towards Him, whose happy birth Taught me to live here so, That still one eye Should aim and shoot at that which Is on high: Quitting with daily labour all My pleasure, To gain at harvest an eternal Treasure.
 I love the "hidden" message: My life is hid in Him, that is my treasure.

I also appreciate Herbert's "The Twenty-Third Psalm" which opens like this:
The God of love my shepherd is, And he that doth me feed: While he is mine, and I am his, What can I want or need?
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

4 comments:

Joy said...

I read very little poetry but these seem to be very readable!

hopeinbrazil said...

Lovely! I am only familiar with a few of Herbert's poems. I must add this to my TBR list.

polishingmudballs said...

I'm not much into poetry, it typically bores me but this book sounds very interesting. I am going to try and get my hands on a copy of the book to browse through it and see. :-)

polishingmudballs said...

I'm not much into poetry, it typically bores me but this book sounds very interesting. I am going to try and get my hands on a copy of the book to browse through it and see. :-)