A Sunday Poem

Here’s your RDA of George Herbert:


Iesu is in my heart, his sacred name
Is deeply carved there: but th’other week
A great affliction broke the little frame,
Ev’n all to pieces: which I went to seek:
And first I found the corner, where was ‘I’,
After, where ‘ES,’ and next where ‘U’ was graved.
When I had got these parcels, instantly
I sat me down to spell them, and perceived
That to my broken heart he was ‘I ease you,’
And to my whole is IESU.

This is one of the kind of poems that makes me love Herbert just a little more than Donne–a little less polished, the conceits a little awkward, the sentimentality just a touch too treacly sometimes. But sometimes a little sweet is so exactly right!

5 comments for “A Sunday Poem

  1. Not to worry, Steve–I love Donne, too. And I think it would be dumb to argue that Herbert is a “better” poet. Just that I like the not-quite-perfectness of some of his poems, and many of them are easier for a dense reader like me to get on first reading than Donne’s.

  2. If everything Herbert wrote were this sentimental and sweet, then, yeah, it’d be a slippery slope (not to Thomas Kinkade, but maybe to “the poet” Thomas Monson is always quoting). But the verse-candy is interspersed with much heartier fare.

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