Our local poet, Sidney Lanier, drew the courage to endure from the way the marshes of Glynn County triumphed over every kind of storm.

Thursday, 10/25/12

Paul’s mention of the length and the breadth of Christ’s love puts me in mind of a local poem. A hundred and fifty years ago Sidney Lanier, an ex-Confederate officer, was faced with death from tuberculosis at age thirty-nine. Coming to the edge of the wide marshes of Glynn County just north of here, he saw them as Christ-like in the way they suffered from winds and tides, but survived. Here are a few lines from his long poem. 

Somehow my soul seems suddenly free

From the weighing of fate and the sad discussion of sin,

By the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn.

Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!

Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun,

Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath mightily won

God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain

And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain.

As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,

Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:

I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies

In the freedom that fills all the space ’twixt the marsh and the skies:

By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God:

Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within

The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.

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