Eternity’s Sunrise: Verses On Joy

Last time I published a selection of quotes about joy and happiness. This week I offer some of my favorite verses on the same theme. To begin with, two poems by William Blake:

          Joy and woe are woven fine,
          A clothing for the soul divine;
          Under every grief and pine
          Runs a joy with silken twine.
          It is right it should be so;
          Man was made for joy and woe;
          And when this we rightly know,
          Through the world we safely go.

          He who binds himself to a joy
          Does the winged life destroy
          But he who kisses the joy as it flies
          Lives in eternity’s sun rise. 

Next, “A Voice from I Don’t Know Where” by one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver: 

          It seems you love this world very much.
                    “Yes,” I said. “This beautiful world.”

          And you don’t mind the mind, that keeps you
                    busy all the time with its dark and bright wonderings?
                    “No, I’m quite used to it. Busy, busy,
                    all the time.”

          And you don’t mind living with those questions,
                    I mean the hard ones, that no one can answer?
                    “Actually, they’re the most interesting.” 

          And you have a person in your life whose hand
                    you like to hold?
                    “Yes, I do.”

          It must surely, then, be very happy down there
                    in your heart.
                    “Yes,” I said. “It is.”

Now some lines by George MacDonald: 

          Thou Who knowest, Lord, how soon
          Our weak heart clings,
          Hast given us joys, tender and true,
          Yet all with wings,
          So that we see, gleaming on high,
          Diviner things.

And here’s Adelaide Procter, another nineteenth-century poet: 

          I cannot see, my God, a reason why
          From morn to night I go not gladsome, free;
          For if Thou art what my soul thinketh Thee,
          There is no burden but should lightly lie,
          No duty but a joy at heart must be.

Finally, a stanza from Friedrich von Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” used by Beethoven in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony: 

          Joy, beautiful spark of Divinity,
          Daughter from Elysium,
          We enter, drunk with fire,
          Heavenly One, Thy sanctuary!
          Your magic binds again
          What sword of custom divided;
          All people become brothers,
          Where Your gentle wing abides. 

Photo by Karen Mason

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