In Sebastian Moore and Kevin Maguire, The Experience of Prayer(London: Darton, Longman & Todd; 1969)
The blog has suffered of late as I’ve been busy with other stuff: at the start of June I presented my PhD proposal to the postgraduate seminar at St Marks Canberra. I informally introduced my proposal with a couple of personal stories of love and the first two stanzas of this poem from Sebastian Moore. It’s a gem.
We have lived too long without wisdom
on which alone the soul feeds:
wisdom is the structure of loving:
without it the heart is wild.
So a community without wisdom
is a collection of private wildernesses
growing more slowly with age
waiting for the full stop.
The heart, when young, is wild:
absolutely requiring the lover’s hand
it may not deny this requirement
in any of its details
and every detail is pain,
and the heart’s pain will either create hell around
or it will be denied
unless there comes the ordering
from within the heart
which is the heart becoming beautiful:
and a community whose commitment
precludes (I suppose) the lover’s hand
and ‘the sweet disorder of her dress’
is desperately in need of wisdom.
A community that has no word
for one tortured on the detail of loving,
a community without the detailed word of wisdom ,
is coarse and unschooled
whatever its spiritual pretensions,
its God an old colour-sergeant
for all the spiritual reading.
Wisdom is born in love
making the heart a city,
every movement of heart anguish
becoming a straight way.
Wisdom is born of God,
makes the heart the City of God.
Those who inhabit the city
have discovered love’s secret
which love by itself can hardly impart,
and indeed wisdom is of God
for whence on earth can a man learn
that a man’s love is himself,
that the difference between two loves
is precisely the difference between two people
whose love is to be to each other
whose love is to be, together,
whose love is to be the polis:
whence on earth is learned
this courtesy without polish
consenting to the humble?