Thursday, January 16, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Remembering the Poet Thomas Traherne

Thomas Traherne Stained Glass by Tomm Denny, 2007.
Photo Pam Fray, Creative Commons license. 
You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.
~ Thomas Traherne

He was born the son of a shoemaker, but went on to college and ultimately became a parish priest and a poet. I discovered him through a reference in a song by the Incredible String Band called Douglas Traherne Harding, which begins....

When I was born I had no head
My eye was single and my body was filled with light
And the light that I was, was the light that I saw by
And the light that I saw by, was the light that I was

The song's simplicity and mysticism had great appeal, and the last verse ends with the Traherne quote at the beginning of this blog entry.

It was not easy to locate much information about Traherne at the time, or at least not so easy as Google has now enabled. But I did find some of his poems at the time and enjoyed them. What's interesting is that he was a writer of relative unimportance during his lifetime in the 1600s, but afterwards his work lived on and lives to this day.

Last night I watched a short film in preparation for the global introduction of Valtari, the new album by Sigur Rós, an Icelandic group with more than a million Likes on Facebook. I was moved by the film's simplicity and beauty, and afterward it triggered impressions and connections to other beautiful moments, ethereally conveying me by memory to Traherne who once wrote, "This moment exhibits infinite space, but there is a space also wherein all moments are infinitely exhibited, and the everlasting duration of infinite space is another region and room of joys." This moment... is now.

Follow this link for more information on Thomas Traherne, and to read a few of his poems with titles like Eden, Innocence, Aspiration and An Hymn upon St. Bartholomew's Day.

"Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed: our love to others, and others' love to us." 
~ Thomas Traherne

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Originally published 7 December 2012.

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