! Saint Augustine Cries From His Heart
Poem By Michael Shepherd
Brothers – sisters – do our years last?
Day by day, they slip away…
those which were, no longer are;
those to come are not yet here.
The former days are past;
the future days are yet to come…
but only to pass away in their turn..
Today exists.. but only in this moment
in which we speak, this moment now…
already, its first hours have passed;
the hours that remain do not yet exist;
they will come, only to fall away
into nothingness…Nothing contains
constancy in itself.
The body does not possess being,
it has no permanence; it changes with age,
it changes with time and place,
it changes with illness and accident..
The bright stars
have as little constancy;
they change in hidden ways,
they go whirling through space…
they are not steady, being is not theirs..
Nor is the human heart any more as constant:
how many thoughts disturb it?
how many ambitions now besiege it!
How many pleasures pull it
this way and that, tearing it apart!
The human spirit itself, although
endowed with reason, changes..
it does not possess being:
it wills and does not will;
it knows and does not know;
it remembers and forgets.
No one has in themselves, the unity of being…
so, after so many sufferings, diseases,
troubles and pains, let us return
to seeking that One Being;
seek out, join, those who dwell
in that city where Being itself is shared..
for a life without the sense, the sensing,
the living-out of eternal Being, is unworthy
of the name of life; only the changeless
gives us meaning in and for our change…
only the boundless frees our minds of bonds.
[paraphrased from his Commentary on Psalm 121
and his Sermon 346]