Holy Saturday Poem by George Herbert

Here is a poem for Holy Saturday by George Herbert, one of my favorite poets. As with all poetry, you will get the most out of the poem if you take it slowly and read it through several times, out loud if possible.

“SEPULCHER” – by George Herbert

Oh blessed body!  Whither art thou thrown?
No lodging for thee, but a cold hard stone?
So many hearts on earth, and yet not one
                                      Receive thee?

Sure there is room within our hearts good store;
For they can lodge transgressions by the score:
Thousands of toys1 dwell there, yet out of door
                                      They leave thee.

But that which shows them large, shows them unfit.
Whatever sin did this pure rock commit,
Which holds thee now?   Who hath indicted it
                                      Of murder?

Where our hard hearts have took up stones2 to brain thee,
And missing this, most falsely did arraign thee;
Only these stones in quiet entertain thee,
                                      And order.

And as of old, the law by heav’nly art,
Was writ in stone;  so thou, which also art
The letter of the word,3 find’st no fit heart
                                      To hold thee.

Yet do we still persist as we began,
And so should perish, but that nothing can,
Though it be cold, hard, foul, from loving man
                                      Withhold thee.

1. toys. Trifling things.
2. took up stones. See John 10:13.
3. The letter of the word. See Hebrews 8:10 and Proverbs 3:3, 7:3.

Source (for poem and footnotes): George Herbert: The Country Parson, The Temple (The Classics of Western Spirituality; 1981)

Click here for more poems by George Herbert.
Click here for more Easter posts.
Click here for poems by Ray Fowler.

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