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Home » Poetry, Prayers & Visual Arts » Thomas Stearns Eliot: Chorus X

Thomas Stearns Eliot: Chorus X

O Light Invisible, we praise You!
Too bright for mortal vision.
O Greater Light, we praise You for the less;
The eastern light our spires touch at morning,
The light that slants upon our western doors at evening,
The twilight over stagnant pools at batflight,
Moon light and star light, owl and moth light,
Glow-worm glowlight on a grassblade.
O Light Invisible, we worship You!
We thank You for the lights that we have kindled,
The light of altar and of sanctuary;
Small lights of those who meditate at midnight
And lights directed through the colored panes of windows
And light reflected from the polished stone,
The gilded carven wood, the colored fresco.
Our gaze is submarine, our eyes look upward
And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.
We see the light but see not whence it comes.
O Light Invisible, we glorify You!
In our rhythm of earthly life, we tire of light.
We are glad when the day ends, when the play ends; and ecstasy is too much pain.
We are children quickly tired: children who are up in the night and fall asleep as the rocket is fired; and the day is long for work or play.
We tire of distraction or concentration, we sleep and are glad to sleep,
Controlled by the rhythm of blood and the day and the night and the seasons.
And we must extinguish the candle, put out the light and relight it;
Forever must quench, forever relight the flame.
Therefore we thank You for our little light, that is dappled with shad ow.
We thank You who has moved us to building, to finding, to forming at the ends of our fingers and beams of our eyes.
And when we have built an altar to the Invisible Light, we may set thereon the little lights for which our bodily vision is made.
And we thank You that darkness reminds us of light.
O Light Invisible, we give You thanks for Your great glory!

Thomas Stearns (T.S.) Eliot (1888-1965), is one of the most widely-known poets of the twentieth-century. Born a member of a prominent Unitarian family in St. Louis, Eliot became a British citizen and joined the Anglican church around the age of 40. His poems, such as Wasteland and later works reveal a hope informed by his developing religious ideas. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.

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