THE SPIRIT OF THE G.R.I [Glasgow Royal Informary]
Dr John Fergus
[In this poem Dr Fergus makes reference to St Mungo's (Glasgow Cathedral) and the graveyard in its grounds, and to the Necropolis, a graveyard just to its north - both in sight of the Royal Infirmary.]
More than a hundred years have rolled
Since near God's house it raised its head-
A house of hope, of life, of love,
Beside the dwellings of the dead.
There stand the twane - the Almighty's fane,
Where lie the dead in hallowed ground:
The shrine of suffering - and in both
The spirit of the Lord is found.
For not in temples made with hands
Doth God alone delight to dwell:
The humble, reverent, stretching heart
The world's great Master pleaseth well.
The hymn of human thankfulness,
That rises hence throughout the years,
Strikes sweeter far than incensed praise
Upon the Almighty's listening ears.
The higher that the Temple stands,
The deeper is the quarry riven:
From pain's dark depths were hewn the stones
That raise this Temple nearer heaven.
And who the builders? Look around
If you their multitude would see -
The sick, the halt, the lame, the blind,
Poor brethren of adversity -
Each bringing to the destined place
The polished stone of thankful praise,
That, slowly garnered through the years,
At length the perfect fabric raise,
Which stands unblemished in its strength
And still shall stand while ages roll,
Firm-braced against the shocks of Time
By stanchions of the human soul.
Heaven knows how many feet have trod
The dark Gethsemane of pain
And who shall say what weary ones
Must pace its pathways yet again:
But from this Temple's open door
There stretches forth a radiant light,
Cheering their path, and leading on
These suffering pilgrims of the night.
If to a Calvary - their cross
Seems lightened by the wondrous rays;
Or, if with stronger step they pass
Back to men's busy haunts and ways,
They bear with them across the years,
Where'er Life's toilsome path they trace,,
Some shining radiance, faint and bright,
Of the Shekinah of this place.
Return to Tales from a Draughty Old Fen