Sunday, March 13, 2005


Some years ago my sister-in-law sent me this poem. I found it in the files I cleaned out last week.

"Let me share a favorite poem of mine by George Herbert, sometimes referred to as the Lenten Poet." she said, in the accompanying note. "I call this the Pruning Poem for it depicts God as a good gardener.

"‘The circumstances of Herbert’s life (1593-1633) were not distressing in any dramatic sense and yet so much of his poetry is about affliction, this because it records the struggles of his inner life as he grows in saintliness and wrestles with God in order to do so.*’"

*Source of quote unknown.


I Bless thee, Lord, because I GROW
Among thy trees, which in a ROW
To thee both fruit and order OW.

What open force, or hidden CHARM
Can blast my fruit, or bring me HARM,
While the inclosure is thine ARM.

Inclose me still for fear I START.
Be to me rather sharp and TART,
Then let me want thy hand and ART.

When thou dost greater judgments SPARE,
And with thy knife but prune and PARE,
Ev’n fruitfull trees more fruitful ARE.

Such sharpnes shows the sweetest FREND:
Such cuttings rather heal then REND:
And such beginnings touch their END.

--George Herbert

To read more of George Herbert, snag this page, which links to a complete poem index of "The Temple" as well as prose he has written.


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