Song of the Pierced Veil (After Ann Griffiths’ “Hymn for the Mercy Seat”)
My poems based on the work of Welsh poet Ann Griffiths have been a bit slow in coming out this month, I’m afraid. It’s been a particularly busy time at work and in my studies, giving me many other things to occupy my time apart from writing poetry. But it’s time to catch up! Today’s poem is inspired by Griffiths’ majestic “Hymn for the Mercy Seat”, wonderfully translated (again) by Rowan Williams and available to be read here. The original is so magnificent, and so idiosyncratic of Griffiths’ work, that I have decided to use it more as a point of departure for my own poem rather than trying to replicate it in any way. My poem is a ballade, an old French form that has its origins in music. I hope that you enjoy reading it. Song of the Pierced Veil (After “Hymn for the Mercy Seat”) Flesh rots: instead, aflame, along with heaven’s singers, I shall pierce through the veil, into the land Of infinite astonishment, the land Of what was done at Calvary… (Ann Griffiths, “Hymn for the Mercy Seat”, trans. Rowan Williams) And when in faith I pierce the veil And then at last see face-to-face The One who orders rain and hail And binds the seas within their place; And when at last, brazen with grace, I take my steps towards the throne, And find there One who pleads my case, Then I shall not be left alone. He will not leave us orphaned, frail, Desolate, rotting, debased; Look to the man upon Skull Hill Who bled and died, and now all space Cannot contain Him! He’ll embrace Us filthy ones: He has atoned For all our nakedness, disgrace; We shall not then be left alone. Then Hell will grasp to no avail: The Mercy Seat has won the race. Though teeth will gnash and lost ones wail, The broken ones will join in praise Unto the Lamb, Ancient of Days, Who was and is and will prevail And pleads forever for His own That they may sing to Him always; They shall never be left alone. His righteousness will then replace The blemishes of skin and bone. Gone, gone their stains without a trace; And never will they be alone.
4 thoughts on “Song of the Pierced Veil (After Ann Griffiths’ “Hymn for the Mercy Seat”)”
This is just incredible! You have a beautiful gift–thank you for sharing it.
It’s a pleasure! So glad you liked it.
Very strong and powerful Matt, particularly like the image of us broken ones never being alone