And with thy knife but prune and PARE,

And with thy knife but prune and PARE,

I’ve been back with my copy of George Herbert the last few weeks, sitting and retracing his lines in the evening. They seem to give more with each pass, and are a fruitful space. Here is one I enjoyed tonight:

 

Paradise

I Bless thee, Lord, because I GROW
Among thy trees, which in a ROW
To thee both fruit and order OW.

What open force, or hidden CHARM
Can blast my fruit, or bring me HARM,
While the inclosure is thine ARM.

Inclose me still for fear I START.
Be to me rather sharp and TART,
Then let me want thy hand and ART.

When thou dost greater judgments SPARE,
And with thy knife but prune and PARE,
Ev’n fruitfull trees more fruitful ARE.

Such sharpness shows the sweetest FREND:
Such cuttings rather heal then REND:
And such beginnings touch their END.

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