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A Song for Simeon: Daily Dose of Poetry and Art

A Song for Simeon: Daily Dose of Poetry and Art

Simeon’s song of praise by Aert de Gelder (1645–1727)
Simeon’s song of praise by Aert de Gelder (1645–1727)

This is one of my favorite poems by Eliot. Originally published with The Journey of the Magi and a couple others in an Advent collection, it seems perfect for today’s feast of the Presentation.

A Song for Simeon

by T.S. Eliot

Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.

Grant us thy peace.
I have walked many years in this city,
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor,
Have given and taken honour and ease.
There were never any rejected from my door.
Who shall remember my house, where shall live my children’s children
When the time of sorrow is come?
They will take to the goat’s path, and the fox’s home,
Fleeing from the foreign faces and the foreign swords.

Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.

According to thy word.
They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation
With glory and derision,
Light upon light, mounting the saints’ stair.
Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,
Not for me the ultimate vision.
Grant me thy peace.
(And a sword shall pierce they heart,
Thine also.)
I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me,
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.
Let thy servant depart,
Having seen they salvation.

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2 comments
  • Ah, I was wondering if you would offer this poem for today. So glad you did, it’s perfect! Happy Candlemas Day to you!

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