by: Paul Hookham

      HE SELF is Peace; that Self am I.
      The Self is Strength; that Self am I.’
      What needs this trembling strife
      With phantom threats of Form and Time and Space?
      Could once my Life
      Be shorn of their illusion, and efface
      From its clear heaven that stormful imagery,
      My Self were seen
      An Essence free, unchanging, strong, serene.
      The Self is Peace. How placid dawns
      The Summer’s parent hour
      Over the dewy maze that drapes the fields,
      Each drooped wild flower,
      Or where the lordship of the garden shields
      Select Court beauties and exclusive lawns!
      ’Tis but the show
      And fitful dream of Peace the Self can know.
      The Self is Strength. Let Nature rave,
      And tear her maddened breast,
      Now doom the drifting ship, with blackest frown,
      Or now, possessed
      With rarer frenzy, wreck the quaking town,
      And bury quick beneath her earthy wave--
      She cannot break
      One fibre of that Strength, one atom shake.
      The Self is one with the Supreme
      Father in fashioning,
      Though clothed in perishable weeds that feel
      Pain’s mortal sting,
      The unlifting care, the wound that will not heal;
      Yet these are not the Self--they only seem.
      From faintest jar
      Of whirring worlds the true Self broods afar.
      Afar he whispers to the mind
      To rest on the Good Law,
      To know that naught can fall without its range,
      Nor any flaw
      Of Chance disturb its reign, or shadow of Change;
      That what can bind the life the Law must bind--
      Whatever hand
      Dispose the lot, it is by that Command;
      To know no suffering can beset
      Our lives, that is not due,
      That is not forged by our own act and will;
      Calmly to view
      Whate’er betide of seeming good or ill.
      The worst we can conceive but pays some debt
      Or breaks some seal,
      To free us from the bondage of the Wheel.

"A Meditation" is reprinted from The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. Ed. Nicholson & Lee. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1917.




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