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Evelyn Underhill: "Corpus Christi"

Holy Thursday

Corpus Christi

Come, dear Heart!
The fields are white to harvest: come and see
As in a glass the timeless mystery
Of love, whereby we feed
On God, our bread indeed.
Torn by the sickles, see him share the smart
Of travailing Creation: maimed, despised,
Yet by his lovers the more dearly prized
Because for us he lays his beauty down—
Last toll paid by Perfection for our loss!
Trace on these fields his everlasting Cross,
And o'er the stricken sheaves the Immortal Victim's crown.

From far horizons came a Voice that said,
"Lo! from the hand of Death take thou thy daily bread."
Then I, awakening, saw
A splendour burning in the heart of things:
The flame of living love which lights the law
Of mystic death that works the mystic birth.
I knew the patient passion of the earth,
Maternal, everlasting, whence there springs
The Bread of Angels and the life of man.

Now in each blade
I, blind no longer, see
The glory of God's growth: know it to be
An earnest of the Immemorial Plan.
Yea, I have understood
How all things are one great oblation made:
He on our altars, we on the world's rood.
Even as this corn,
Earth-born,
We are snatched from the sod;
Reaped, ground to grist,
Crushed and tormented in the Mills of God,
And offered at Life's hands, a living Eucharist.

Evelyn Underhill (Mrs. Stuart Moore) (b. 1875)

The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse (1917), ed. D. H. S. Nicholson and A. H. E. Lee, pp. 530f.

See also John Donne: Holy Sonnets XIV.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 04/08/04 07:25:34 AM
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Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”