Mountain Flora | Evelyn Underhill

As the plant on the smooth of the hill 
That sees not the deep and the height,
That knows not the might
Of the whole —
I am rooted and grounded in him,
The small leaves of my soul
Thrust up from his will.

I know not the terrible peak,
The white and ineffable Thought,
Whence the hill-torrents flow
And my nurture is brought.
I am little and meek;
I dare not to lift
My look to his snow.
But drink, drop by drop, of its gift.

Some say, on the face
Of that ultimate height
Small plants have their place:
Rapt far from our sight
In the solitude strange

Where the infinite dream mounts range beyond range
To the infinite sky, there they grow.

Where the intellect faints
In the silence and cold,
There, humble and glad, their petals unfold.
As the innocent bell
Of the Least Soldanella thrusts up through the snow.
So the hearts of the saints
On the terrible height of the Godhead may dwell;
Held safe by the Will
As we, on the smooth of the hill.

This poem is by the English Anglo-Catholic poet and writer on mysticism, Evelyn Underhill, and published in her book of poetry, Theophanies, in 1916. It is a poem that beautifully describes our life in Christ, and our life of prayer. We cannot see “the deep and the height” of this world, just as the mountain flora cannot see the peak of the mountain on which it grows, but we can remain rooted and grounded in the One who holds us safe, there on the smooth of the hill.

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