"Ponderynge together yestardayes promise, and two-dayes doyng"
(Hall's Chronicle - 1548)


"Goronigl gwyr yr Ynys" (Lewis Glyn Cothi - 1450)

Reading Henry Vaughan


"Mornings are mysteries", so Henry Vaughan and at this morning of the year as light awakens slowly with each day its mysteries will unfold slowly too, revealing themselves as new opportunities.

For each inclosèd spirit is a star
Enlightening his own litle sphere,
Whose light, though fetched and borrowèd from far,
Both mornings makes, and evenings there.

Vaughan, contrary to the opinion of other Metaphysical poets, specifically Donne and Herbert, ascribes such 'inclosèd spirits' not just to humans, but to other sentient beings, in this case a bird but also to "stones ... active winds and streams". For him the world was full of responsive fellow creatures whose mysteries might be probed, if not fully discovered.

So this New Year Day I take down my well-thumbed copy of his Complete Poems and resolve to follow, for a while, his daily observances as recorded there, avoiding perhaps those familiar poems that I have re-read many times and seeking out what other mysteries, missed in earlier readings or buried too far back in reading memory to be recalled.

His works are in that category he himself signified as

Bright books! the perspectives to our weak sights:
The clear projections of discerning lights.
Burning and shining thoughts; man's postume day:
The track of fled souls, and their Milky-Way.

The track of his fled soul burns brightly still and I'll carry his shining thoughts out of the dark night of the year into its morning mystery.