Monday, April 14, 2014

Hymn to Mary

Lost and beguiled by the Sorcerer's snares
Turn our tired thoughts from this dying world's cares
Send us a breath of Elysium's airs
Teach us to seek for thy heavenly dower!

This world cannot give aught but woe and travail
Where the thorn may grow strong but the blossom must fail
But naught here below, far from thee, may prevail
Merely the slave of the perishing hour!

Ah, futile to seek in this house of decay
For a joy that to sorrow will never give way
But no terror can touch us with thee as our stay;
Suffer us come to thee, Ivory Tower.

As you can guess from recent posts, I am in retrospective mood recently. I have been going through my old files, still. I came across this hymn which I wrote as part of a short story, some time around 1994, when I was in secondary school. The funny thing is that the story (which was called 'Diamonds') was about the superiority of earthly beauty, of daily and perishing and mundane things, to all forms of more-than-human beauty. One of the characters was a priest. I'm glad to say that I treated him pretty sympathetically. (I don't have the story any more.) The plot was to do with the reading of a will in which diamonds were being bequeathed; I forget how. The protagonist doesn't get any diamonds in the end but he realizes the beauty of ordinary life is better than the cold, inhuman beauty of the diamonds. I also remember the ashes of the dead man were contained in a clockwork hour-glass which automatically turned around each time the sands ran out.

The hymn is not bad, I think. As far as I can remember it's the only hymn I've ever written, and I wrote it as a non-believer.


  1. I like the hymn very much. It's amazing to think that you wrote that before you discovered your faith. (Maybe there was some latent faith there all along?) Anyway, it has a real poetic sensibility.

  2. Thanks, Paulusmaximus! I'm sure I had latent faith. I think it's latent in everybody.

  3. Thank you - I like this too! Somebody ought to set it to music.

  4. Yes, I also like this poem. A true message.