Shaking the Grass

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

I came across a poem last week in a book I was reading, and I’d like to share it with you as it has really stuck in my mind. It’s by an American poet called Ezra Pound. It is short and simple, but I found it very sad:

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass.

Ezra Pound

Over the last few days, I have been thinking about why I find this poem so moving. On the face of it, it doesn’t really talk about me; my days are certainly full enough with work, family and trying to keep on top of the constant stream of little jobs which need to be done. My nights are also full enough. I rarely find myself wondering what to do with my evenings, I am lucky enough to be a good sleeper and enjoy going to bed quite early. The idea that life is slipping by is certainly sad, but it is a thought which comes and goes from time to time and is not particularly unusual. I think there might be two reasons that I found this poem especially powerful.

Firstly, maybe my days and nights are busy but not full. I pray that God gives us the strength to fill our lives with the important things – the relationships we have with Him and with one another.

Secondly, perhaps I would like to shake the grass of life and sometimes feel that I am not really doing so. The desire to make a big impact – to grab the grass and shake it – can certainly be a temptation. When we don’t live up to our expectations (or worse, when we see others succeeding) disappointment can make us feel like mice slipping through life not making a difference to anyone.

But not even the smallest of us can really slip through life unnoticed. We are all loved by God; he pours his blessings over us in abundance. He shakes the grass for us as we walk. We heard on Sunday from Isaiah. The message was that all we have to do to receive these blessings is to pick them up and enjoy them:

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Isaiah 55:1

So here we see two different ways of living life: the first is the life described by Ezra Pound, one of worry, of doubt, and maybe of envy – all three very human emotions. However, Isaiah tells us that a second way is open to us. One where we trust in God to make His mark on the world through us, one

where we delight in the blessings that He has prepared for us, one where our days and our nights are not only full enough, but overflowing with His love.

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