Isaiah and the Seraph

Chagall_Isaiah_1968
Marc Chagall, “The Prophet Isaiah”

I shame at mine unworthiness,
yet fain would be at one with Thee:
Thou art a joy in heaviness,
a succour in necessity.
(Sir William Leighton, 1614)

Shame and joy move in polyphonic sway:
the vision delights, augments, and yet
diminishes the confidence.
How can I, with unclean lips,
hymn praises without minor chords?

Must burning lips be always scorched
for worthiness to drive the heavy soul?
The quavering voice, the riddling Me?,
the scroll that makes the sinner frown.
Seraph brings the cleansing coal,
while heaviness lags and leaves.

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