I received a delivery this week of 'A book of Quaker Poems 1652 - 1900', selected by Simon Webb. The book is a short one - although with some lengthy (dare I say, long-winded) poems inside! I've found a few standout gems in there though, with the following speaking to me this weekend:
The Inward Voice
Within the breast of a man a light divine,
Through the clouds of doubt and fear, doth ever shine,
It warns from every false and dangerous road,
And points the way to truth and heaven and God.
In all our doubts and sad perplexities,
The truth itself its own best witness is;
It needs no miracle or outward sign
To make its sacred less more divine.
Lightnings may flash from angry clouds on high,
And thunder dread may rend the vaulted sky;
Mountains may shake, and oceans surge and roar;
The truth is still but truth - nor less nor more.
At Sinai's graven stones with awe we look,
With earnest reverence search the Holy Book;
But older far than book or graver's art
Is God's own record in the mind and heart.
This record, clear to their anointed eyes,
Made all the ancient prophets truly wise;
The light they saw, the heavenly voice they heard,
And spake, in God's own name, his Holy word.
Our spirit unto theirs doth witness bear:
Their message stirs our hearts to faith and prayer;
Their quickened word is bread indeed,
On which our hungry souls, delighted feed.
- Oliver Johnson