The Hound of Heaven

This is a very well known poem by Francis Thompson. I read it for the first time today! I am posting this because I think it is worth reading. And reading again, and then again.

We love Him, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
239. The Hound of Heaven
By Francis Thompson  (1859–1907)
I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;
  I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
    Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.         5
      Up vistaed hopes I sped;
      And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
  From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
      But with unhurrying chase,        10
      And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
      They beat—and a Voice beat
      More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’        15
          I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
  Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
        Yet was I sore adread        20
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside).
But, if one little casement parted wide,
  The gust of His approach would clash it to.
  Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,        25
  And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
  Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars;
        Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;        30
  With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
        From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
  I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,        35
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
  Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
  Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
      But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,        40
    The long savannahs of the blue;
        Or whether, Thunder-driven,
    They clanged his chariot ’thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—
  Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.        45
      Still with unhurrying chase,
      And unperturbèd pace,
    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
      Came on the following Feet,
      And a Voice above their beat—        50
    ‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’
I sought no more that after which I strayed
  In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
  Seems something, something that replies,        55
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
  With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.        60
‘Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;
  Let me greet you lip to lip,
  Let me twine with you caresses,
    Wantoning        65
  With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
    Banqueting
  With her in her wind-walled palace,
  Underneath her azured daïs,
  Quaffing, as your taintless way is,        70
    From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
    So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.        75
  I knew all the swift importings
  On the wilful face of skies;
  I knew how the clouds arise
  Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
    All that’s born or dies        80
  Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine;
  With them joyed and was bereaven.
  I was heavy with the even,
  When she lit her glimmering tapers        85
  Round the day’s dead sanctities.
  I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
  Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;        90
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
    I laid my own to beat,
    And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.        95
For ah! we know not what each other says,
  These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
  Let her, if she would owe me,       100
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
  The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
    My thirsting mouth.
    Nigh and nigh draws the chase,       105
    With unperturbèd pace,
  Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
    And past those noisèd Feet
    A voice comes yet more fleet—
  ‘Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me!’       110
Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
    And smitten me to my knee;
  I am defenceless utterly.
  I slept, methinks, and woke,       115
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
  I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—       120
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
  Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;       125
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
  Ah! is Thy love indeed       130
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
  Ah! must—
  Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?       135
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
  From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.       140
  Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;       145
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsèd turrets slowly wash again.
  But not ere him who summoneth
  I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;       150
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
  Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
  Be dunged with rotten death?
      Now of that long pursuit       155
    Comes on at hand the bruit;
  That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
    ‘And is thy earth so marred,
    Shattered in shard on shard?
  Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!       160
  Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),
‘And human love needs human meriting:
  How hast thou merited—       165
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
  Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
  Save Me, save only Me?       170
All which I took from thee I did but take,
  Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
  All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:       175
  Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’
  Halts by me that footfall:
  Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
  ‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,       180
  I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’

Minutes and a Million Things

Preface:

As I have not blogged in awhile, the writing challenge seemed like a good way to get back into it.

Here is something republished, an attempt to re-spark my inspiration. 

shutterstock_84145240

 

I stand in front of you

With a million other things on my mind

You hold the pill in your hand

I wait for you to lift it up

And please, please swallow it.

I hear down the hall an IV alarm sounding

Going off again

I know that the patient across the hall

Soon will be wanting pain medicine.

I’m sure the patient two doors down

Has died

Did I see her today?

I look at the clock

And panic.

Your hand is shaking as you lift it up

I think hurry, hurry, hurry

Please.

(I care, you understand, but I have those million things)

You lift it up and into your mouth

I hold the cup and you swallow

Slowly.

My name is paged

I have a call

(and oh, I  think, I hope the other one didn’t fall)

Then I realize

You are looking at me

“Thank you so much”

you say

“You have been so good to me”

And then I remember

I hope,

Ashamed

What it is all about

So I sit

(On the edge of the bed like I’m not supposed to do)

Hold your hand

And say

“Oh, no,

Thank YOU.”

Love and Hate-a Nurse’s List

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A list, as inspired by the writing challenge

I love:

Holding your hand as you are afraid and feeling you become calm
Explaining to you what the Doctor said in simpler terms
Listening to your lungs and realizing that your pneumonia is getting better
Giving you a cup of water when you are thirsty
Helping you take a shower when you haven’t taken one in days
Noticing when you are getting worse and ‘pulling’ you back from the brink
Talking to you about your surgery and answering your questions
Having the time to hear about your family
Making your pain more manageable
Making you laugh
Sending you home!

 

I hate:

Cancer
Short staffing and call-ins
Seeing you cry
Watching you in pain
Watching your family cry
Dementia induced paranoia
Hospital acquired psychosis
Having to use Haldol and restraints (as related to the above)
What smoking does to your lungs and how you can’t breath
Staff conflicts
Seeing you come back-when you wish you could just be home.

What I Should Have Said (Bus Stop)

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I saw you standing there

In the rain watching me,

Holding your black umbrella,

As you so practically do,

Your boots were getting wet.

Although your head was dry.

And the bus window was drenched,

And the sky was dark.

As I looked out the back window,

(We both knew I had to leave)

I smiled brightly at you.

I pressed my hands against the glass,

Then my face, I didn’t care.

And I know you thought it was the rain.

But trust me,

My cheeks were damp.

And as the bus pulled away,

As the rain poured down,

You lifted your hand and waved,

And smiled.

And in that moment I realized

My pounding heart was telling my tears,

That I had never said-

“I love you, 

My dear.” 

 

commentary for “Let Her Go”

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Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
… you always need the light unless you really like the dark…

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
…or when it isn’t shining at all…

Only know you love her when you let her go
…I hope you knew that before you let her go…

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
... you need to feel low to know how high feels…

Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
…then its time to go home…

Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go
…then get her back.

Staring at the bottom of your glass
Hoping one day you’ll make a dream last
But dreams come slow and they go so fast

…Dreams are called dreams and not made to last…
Stop staring and dump that glass…!

You see her when you close your eyes
Maybe one day you’ll understand why
Everything you touch surely dies
…don’t worry about understanding…
… change your touch…

Staring at the ceiling in the dark
Same old empty feeling in your heart
‘Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast
…You have an empty feeling in your heart that only God can fill…
…Love can go slower if you let it…

Well you see her when you fall asleep
But never to touch and never to keep
‘Cause you loved her too much
And you dived too deep

…you can never love too much…
… why did you…

…let her go?

Doctors and Nurses

Doctors and Nurses

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Linked are two articles, from which all in healthcare can learn and reflect. The original article is On Breaking One’s Neck: by Dr. Arnold Relman, with a complimentary article :A Patient’s-Eye-View of Nurses by Dr. Lawrence Altman.

There are compliments in both articles for nurses, as well as warnings that should be considered.

. As quoted from the original article :On Breaking One’s Neck:

“What personal care hospitalized patients now get is mostly from nurses. In the MGHICU the nursing care was superb; at Spaulding it was inconsistent. I had never before understood how much good nursing care contributes to patients’ safety and comfort, especially when they are very sick or disabled. This is a lesson all physicians and hospital administrators should learn. When nursing is not optimal, patient care is never good.”

The review article in the New York Times, written by Dr. Altman,  brings to light the thought provoking differences between physicians and the nursing staff. Dr. Atman expresses concern at the movement towards technology, citing technology as objects that can “Deflect the doctor’s attention.”

I think that nursing as a profession should also heed this concern-does our bedside report become just a huddle in the hallway? Are we including the patient? Are we prioritizing our time between the computer and the patient?

Hopefully we are not, as nurses, using as our starting point of care the review of notes-or as Dr. Relman so memorably states:

“Lengthy notes in the computerized record, full of repetitious boilerplate language and lab data, but lacking in coherent descriptions of my medical progress, or my complaints and state of mind.”

This is referring to the MD notes-but what about our nurses’ notes? Do they adequately reflect the patient? Do they just present the data, or the whole person? I have a tendency as a nurse to at times subconsciously rely on previous documentation-but our starting point needs to be the patient, not the notes. How are we doing? Do we clarify what we saw in the record with the living person in front of us?

Another nice quote, by Dr. Altman, complimenting nurses is as follows:

“Nurses’ observations and suggestions have saved many doctors from making fatal mistakes in caring for patients. Though most physicians are grateful for such aid, a few dismiss it — out of arrogance and a mistaken belief that a nurse cannot know more than a doctor.”

I think that nurses everywhere should read these two articles and be thankful for the recognition. But we should also realize that what is wise for the doctors is wise for the nurses.

We should never forget, in this healthcare system that is changing faster and becoming more difficult every day, the patient is first-and someday the person in the bed could be me or my family.

I had a nursing instructor once that said:

When you enter a room, and you see lines, and IVs, and ‘stuff’, don’t worry about all of those lines, start at the patient, and work your way out.”

Will our patients, will we, our families, be reduced to hallway huddles and medical note jargon and technical terminology? Or will our care be about the individual, the person, with a cautious inclusion of technology as needed?

These articles provide warning signs about our healthcare and we will do well to heed them, whether doctor or nurse.

A Diverse Ramble

 

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Discussion swirled

Back and forth

About how some things are not

Just scientific but in fact

Unexplainable

And who could deny?

For they say

There are no atheists

In foxholes

Why would there be here?

For this is our foxhole

And truly,

There cannot be an absence

Of a Divine Order of affairs,

For the filling of the void and

The answers to the longing

That causes these questions

Is found in the One

The Logos

Who in the beginning was the Logos,

And was with God

And was God.

And because I know

That all things were created by Him and for Him…

And that by Him all things consist,

I rest

While the questions continue,

They continue sticking their heads up

Looking about

Without any armor

And I in my foxhole,

Protected and safe,

Sleep.

 

Ref: John 1, Colossians 1