Friday Poetry: When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

Feet in waterFirst year at UNSW, I did an English course with a very eccentric Canadian lecturer  He used to sing poems in Middle English and would yell at you if you talked in his lecture. Everyone loved his performances.

We studied this beautiful poem and it’s always stuck in my mind. It talks about stillness; sometimes in life, all is required of us is to “stand and wait.” We want to run around and be very busy and it’s so difficult to be patient with ourselves and  life.

When I consider how my light is spent

John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent,

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

And that one talent which is death to hide

Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He returning chide;

“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”

I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need

Either man’s work or His own gifts. Who best

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best.

His state Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,

And post o’er land and ocean without rest;

They also serve who only stand and wait.”


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