Do you spend some moments in the first hours of each waking day being present with God? Perhaps you read morning prayer (matins as it was once called)? Perhaps you have a 'quiet time'? Perhaps you sit and look at the garden and wonder?

Whatever you may do, perhaps (another perhaps!) you might on one day take this poem by George Herbert into your time of prayer and lose yourself in it. Herbert was a Welshman living in the early 17th century who, after the death of his sponsor King James I, became an Anglican clergyman. He was a faithful and much-loved parish priest and wrote beautiful religious poetry which was published after his death. If you haven't read any of his poetry, he is worth investigating.

George Herbert is remembered in the Anglican church on 27th February - so perhaps you might take this poem into your prayer on that particular day!

I suggest you read it out loud.


I cannot ope mine eyes,
But thou art ready there to catch
My morning-soul and sacrifice:
Then we must needs for that day make a match.

My God, what is a heart?
Silver, or gold, or precious stone,
Or starre, or rainbow, or a part
Of all these things, or all of them in one?

My God, what is a heart?
That thou shouldst it so eye, and wooe,
Powring upon it all thy art,
As if that thou hadst nothing els to do?

Indeed mans whole estate
Amounts (and richly) to serve thee:
He did not heav’n and earth create,
Yet studies them, not him by whom they be.

Teach me thy love to know;
That this new light, which now I see,
May both the work and workman show:
Then by a sunne-beam I will climbe to thee.

George Herbert: The Temple (1633)

Portrait of George Herbert
by Robert White in 1674

From Wikipedia


  1. Jayne  

    14 February 2010 at 20:25

    Another beautiful posting Kath, and yes, as you know I often sit and gaze at my garden and wonder in wonder! Been in there today, tidying and faffing, just beauty and peace.

    And yes indeed, what is a heart, something beautiful and something which we cannot control, it helps us reach out and touch in many many ways.
    Can't promise I'll remember to use it on the 27th but I'll do my best!

    Take care, x