Looking through the poetry of the priest George Herbert is time well-spent. I was encouraged to revisit his work after we remembered him in Morning Prayer on the 27th of February, marking his death in 1633.

His poetry was published posthumously, in the volume The Temple. Perhaps best known within it, is his poem Prayer (1), but the one I found myself most drawn to when I discovered him last year, was this one:


Jesu is in my heart, his sacred name
Is deeply carved there: but th’other week
A great affliction broke the little frame,
Ev’n all to pieces: which I went to seek:
And first I found the corner, where was J,
After, where ES, and next where U was graved,
When I had got these parcels, instantly
I sat me down to spell them, and perceived
That to my broken heart he was I ease you,
And to my whole is JESU.

For me, it so beautifully captures the presence of Jesus in the deepest part of ourselves. Through this time of Lent, may there be no great affliction present or needed to show us how Jesus is etched within and close to us.

Georgie Illingworth