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Prayers for Today: May Sarton

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May Sarton

May Sarton

MAY SARTON (1912-1995). A novelist, poet, and essayist whose work was influenced by the ministry of Samuel M. Crothers of the First Parish in Cambridge, she received many awards, among them an honorary doctorate from the Starr King School of the Ministry in Berkeley, California. Read More…


Help us to be the always hopeful
gardeners of the spirit
who know that without darkness
nothing comes to birth
as without light
nothing flowers.


Great one, austere,
By whose intent the distant star
Holds its course clear,
Now make this spirit soar—
Give it that ease.

Out of the absolute
Abstracted grief, comfortless, mute,
Sound the clear note,
Pure, piercing as the flute:
Give it precision.

Austere, great one,
By whose grace the unalterable song
May still be wrested from
The corrupt lung:
Give it strict form.


Vision is locked in stone,
The lion in the air is gone
With the great lion of the sun.
The sky is wild and cold.
The tawny fire is gone,
The hill where love did open like a rose
Is black. It snows….

God of the empty room,
Your will be done. Your will be done:
Now shines the inward sun,
The beating heart that glows
Within the skeleton,
The magic rose, the purer living gold,
Shine now, grown old.

All that is young and bold,
The lion’s roar, the flaming skin and wild,
Unearthly peace now cherish and enfold
And fresh sleep overcome,
That in this death-in-life, delicate, cold,
The spiritual rose
Flower among the snows—
The love surpassing love.


Come out of the dark earth
Here where the minerals
Glow in their stone cells
Deeper than seed or birth.

Come under the strong wave
Here where the tug goes
As the tide turns and flows
Below that architrave.

Come into the pure air
Above all heaviness
Of storm and cloud to this
Light-possessed atmosphere.

Come into, out of, under
The earth, the wave, the air,
Love, touch us everywhere
With primeval candor.