My Spirit

My naked simple Life was I;
That Act so strongly shin’d
Upon the earth, the sea, the sky,
It was the substance of my mind;
The sense itself was I.
I felt no dross nor matter in my soul,
No brims nor borders, such as in a bowl
We see. My essence was capacity,
That felt all things;
The thought that springs
Therefrom’s itself. It hath no other wings
To spread abroad, nor eyes to see,
Nor hands distinct to feel,
Nor knees to kneel;
But being simple like the Deity
In its own centre is a sphere
Not shut up here, but everywhere.
It acts not from a centre to
Its object as remote,
But present is when it doth view,
Being with the Being it doth note
Whatever it doth do.
It doth not by another engine work,
But by itself; which in the act doth lurk.
Its essence is transformed into a true
And perfect act.

…from “My Spirit” by Thomas Traherne

Traherne was a 17th century Christian metaphysical poet and parish priest who had an almost pagan feeling for nature and the world around him:

“…the Green Trees when I saw them first through the Gates Transported and Ravished me; their Sweetness and unusual Beauty made my heart to leap, and almost mad with Ecstasy, they were such strange and Wonderful Things…”


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