Thomas Gray (in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard)
“Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”
Full many a place unseen by human eyes
Marvelous interstellar space doth bear;
Full many a spot stays silent where no one tries
To make a place one’s prayers there to share.
The poet R. S. Thomas (in Kneeling):
“Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.”
The Grand Mystery may some time be unveiled,
But I want it not in this human life!
For given utterance in human tongues,
It becomes doctrine leading to strife.
Wordsworth (in Yarrow Unvisited)
Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown!
It must, or we shall rue it:
We have a vision of our own,
Ah! why should we undo it?
The treasured dreams of times long past,
We’ll keep them, winsome Marrow!
For when we’re there, although ’tis fair
be another Yarrow!
And when he visited Yarrow a decade later, he wrote (in Yarrow Visited):
AND is this Yarrow?—this the stream
Of which my fancy cherish’d
So faithfully a waking dream,
An image that hath perish’d?
Oh that some minstrel’s harp were near
To utter notes of gladness,
And chase this silence from the air,
That fills my heart with sadness!
So it may well be with the Grand Mystery.
That’s why I’d rather that it remain a Mystery to me.
There are a hundred other passing trivialities that engage me and entertain me, and toss me with joys and sorrows, with dreams and despair, with love and laughter, with knowledge and groping.
I will be content with these during this my lifetime. The Grand Mystery of the Why and the Wherefore I cherish qua Mystery, rather than try to resolve it with some clumsy answer provoking displeasure, if not fights, with those who have different answers to the Riddle.
February 14, 2010