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Lay for the Day
17th April

The visionary Christian poet Henry Vaughan was born, the elder of twins, on this day in 1622, in the valley of the River Usk in south Wales.

Tongues that scorned or flattered
Are hung up torn and tattered
As crows hang on a barbed-wire gibbet.

Tongues that sang true praises
The common wind upraises
As skylarks in the air’s wide liberty.

* * * *

I sing in praise of lightness. Diverse dust
Spirals like seraphs through sunlight. All must
Fall, but still the beams hold house for hosts
Of guests. Those sparkling motes were shed like ghosts
From friends who are not dead. They are the blessed,
Who shine and spin, whose lighted hearts can’t rest.

John Gibbens
from Simples

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar


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