Tuesday, March 8, 2016

If thou art the least and lowest

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. Isaiah 50:6

It was on a winter's morning
In the days of old,
In his cell sat Father Henry,
Sorrowful and cold.
O my Lord, I am aweary,”
In his heart he spake,
For my brethren scorn and hate me
For Thy blessed sake.
If I had but one to love me
That were joyful cheer—
One small word to make me sunshine
Through the darksome year!
"But they mock me and despise me
Till my heart is stung—
Then my words are wild and bitter,
Tameless is my tongue.”
Then the Lord said, “I am with thee;
Trust thyself to Me;
Open thou thy little casement,
Mark what thou shalt see.”
Then a piteous look and wistful
Father Henry cast
Out into the dim old cloister
And the wintry blast.
Was it that a friend was coming
By some Angel led?
No! a great hound wild and savage
Round the cloister sped.
Some old mat that lay forgotten
Seized he on his way—
Tore it, tossed it, dragged it wildly
Round the cloister gray.
Lo, the hound is like thy brethren,”
Spake the Voice he knew;
If thou are the mat, beloved,
What hast thou to do?”
Meekly then went Father Henry,
And the mat he bare
To his little cell to store it
As a jewel rare.
Many a winter and a summer
Through those cloisters dim,
Did he thenceforth walk rejoicing,
And the Lord with him.
And when bitter words would sting him,
Turned he to his cell,
Took his mat, and looked upon it,
Saying, “All is well.
He who is the least and lowest
Needs but low to lie;
Lord, I thank Thee and I praise Thee
That the mat am I.”
On the cold and footworn pavement
Lies it still and flat,
Raves not if men trample on it,
For it is a mat.”
Then he wept, for in the stillness
His Beloved spake,
Thus was I the least and lowest,
Gladly, for thy sake.
Lo, My face to shame and spitting
Did I turn for thee;
If thou art the least and lowest,
Then remember Me.”
--Heinrich Suso, The Mat


Anonymous said...

This poetry gave me a kind of shocking impression.I wonder what made the author write this.(For me Father Henry seemed to be author himself.)

I know that many christians have experienced hatred,misunderstanding,comtempt from other christians.

This poetry seems to show us two facts.Attacks from christians can be happen anytime.But even through that,God can draw us nearer to Him.


Jessica R said...

This was a piercing poem. It seems to me that the author is not only relating his own suffering to that of Christ, but is also recognizing how precious he is to God, Who is full of care and compassion regarding what he is going through.
I think that even though we may not always be directly ridiculed, it is also hurtful when we are not supported and understood in the path we choose, when we feel left alone and that no one is even interested in what it's like to be us.
I felt that way today when I had some family over for dinner and I shared a little story about something that happened to me when wearing a skirt (years ago), and what I learned from it that has helped me to avoid that same mistake now that I wear skirts and dresses all the time. I simply blurted out my little story after the memory of that incident popped into my mind, and I certainly wasn't trying to send any sort of subliminal message to anybody by it. However, they were all pretty quiet and barely even looked at me, like they were uncomfortable that I was even mentioning something related to wearing skirts. I just felt stupid for even bringing the subject up, and very lonely, since none of my family agrees with me about my way of dressing.
I'm glad that we can help each other in this, though (encourage each other when feeling lonely). Thank you, Kinuko, for publishing this poem.

Kinuko H said...

Sanae, thank you for your insightful comment. Yes,I also think that Father Henry is the author himself.I found that Heinrich Suso has left many other beautiful and deep poems,and so if the Lord willing,I'd like to translate them from time to time:)with love and thanks, Kinuko

Kinuko H said...

Dear Jessica, thank you for your comment and your honest sharing. I can really relate to what you felt yesterday (at dinner table) and I am sure that many of our dear sisters have had similar experiences.

The spirit of the age is so strong and all-pervasive that often times we don't even feel (or recognize)its fiery muddy streams which are actually right here in the midst of us.Indeed we are in the warfield--a serious cultural and spiritual war with the spirit of this feminist age.
p.s. I am going to publish one poem and I dedicate it to you, dear Jessica.