Where the Morning Lies

This poem by Emily Dickinson is about a child’s question that is really a human question, a Sunday-morning congregation’s question. It struck me as a college student, when I first read it, with its simplicity and innocence that nevertheless touches an adult nerve. It still does. For the pastor, in spite of the complex relationships, the politics, the administrative duties, the question really is that simple, “Where does the place called morning lie?”

For your ministry’s sake, develop a theology of the morning (Psa 30:5; 46:5; 49:14; 59:16; 90:14; 110:3).

The Child’s Question

By Emily Dickinson

Will there really be a morning?
Is there such a thing as day?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like water-lilies?
Has it feathers like a bird?
Does it come from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh, some scholar, Oh, some sailor,
Oh, some wise man from the skies,
Please to tell a little pilgrim
Where the place called morning lies?

2 thoughts on “Where the Morning Lies

  1. A theology of morning, yes! And a theology of mourning. This, too, coming from a child’s experience:

    Margaret, are you grieving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?
    Leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
    Ah! as the heart grows older
    It will come to such sights colder
    By and by, nor spare a sigh
    Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
    And yet you will weep and know why.
    Now no matter, child, the name:
    Sorrow’s springs are the same.
    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
    It is the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.
    ~Gerard Manley Hopkins

    1. Nice. GMH has a lot of good fodder. When I had to put together church bulletins, I returned to him regularly for worshipful verse.

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