“Desolation” John Henry Newman

A portrait of the young Newman by Ross

At weekday masses this week we have heard a poem each day, to help illustrate Easter faith, introduced and read by a church member.

We’ve heard poetry of Hopkins, Hoval and Ruth Etchells. Today Malcolm introduced a lesser known poem by  Newman ‘Desolation.’

While becalmed off Sardinia in 1833 John Henry Newman, a vital young force in the Church of England at that time, wrote several poems including Lead, Kindly light and the following poem.


O, SAY not thou art left of God,
Because His tokens in the sky
Thou canst not read; this earth He trod
To teach thee He was ever nigh.

He sees, beneath the fig tree green,
Nathaniel con his sacred lore;
Shouldst thou thy chamber seek, unseen
He enters through the unopen’d door.

And when thou liest, by slumber bound,
Outwearied in the Christian fight,
In glory, girt with Saints around,
He stands above thee through the night.

When friends to Emmaus bend their course,
He joins, although He holds their eyes;
Or, shouldst thou feel some fever’s force,
He takes thy hand, He bids thee rise.

Or on a voyage, when calms prevail,
And prison thee upon the sea,
He walks the wave, He wings the sail,
The shore is gain’d, and thou art free.


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
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