Incarnate Word, in Whom all nature lives,
Cast flame upon the Earth, raise up contemplatives
Among us, men* who walk within the fire
Of ceaseless prayer, impetuous desire,
Set pools of silence in this thirsty land:
Distracted men who sow their hopes in sand
Will sometimes feel an evanescent sense
Of questioning, they do not know from whence.
Prayer has an influence we cannot mark,
It works like radium in the dark.
And next to prayer the outward works of grace:
Humility that takes the lower place,
Serene content that does not ask for more,
And simple joy, the treasure of the poor,
And active charity that knocks on any door.
It’s easy said – I wish my words might chime
With fitting deeds as easily as they rhyme.
Yet somehow between prayer and common sense
Hearts may be touched, and lives have influence.
And when the heart is once disposed to see,
Then reason can unlock faith’s treasury.
To rapt astonishment is then displayed
A cosmic map Mercator never made.
* and women!
(By James McAuley, formerly Professor of Poetry, University of Tasmania)