whispered love
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November 1st 2006: And beauty came

I love the poem "Everyone Sang" by Siegfried Sassoon. It shows us how we could live, if we only opened our hearts, and saw that there's so much beauty, ready to break out and spill over in our lives. I love the words "and beauty came"... because sometimes that's exactly what happens I think: we are suddenly rocked by awareness of beauty which can make us feel tearful with joy. And yes there is suffering, and yes there is sorrow, but there is also a song that goes on forever. Geoffrey Shaw was a Christian who devoted his life to the poor and underprivileged in Glasgow. He was married to a climbing friend of mine. He used to take parties of troubled children to a remote cottage on the shores of Western Scotland. When he died, tragically young, they held a service on the beach there, and this poem was read. It's a poem of so much affirmation: a refusal to accept that sin or darkness are greater than the overwhelming beauty we can find in our lives, in ourselves, and in others. In so many different ways, we all need to be set free.


Everyone suddenly burst out singing;

And I was filled with such delight

As prisoned birds must find in freedom,

Winging wildly across the white

Orchards and dark-green fields; on; on; and out of sight.


Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted,

And beauty came like the setting sun:

My heart was shaken with tears; and horror

Drifted away ... O but everyone

Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.


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