One of my favourite occupations is to run my fingers over a shelf of books in my library and pull out a book, open its pages at random and read. As I read poetry every day, it is often a book of poetry I open. I have quite a few anthologies and one of them is a green and gold tooled copy of Poems of Today published in 1924. It contains many gems from poets as diverse as Walter-de-la-mare to Padraic Colum. I opened it at a poem that began,” I come in the little things saith The Lord.”
What, isn’t that Elizabeth Goudge speaking? Going back to the top of the page I see the poem is titled” Immanence” not a work or a word I know. I looked up the definition to find that it means “the theory that the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world. That the spiritual world permeates the mundane. The author of the poem was one Evelyn Underhill.
Immediately I was on the road to The Highlands, and the start of Elizabeth’s book “The Middle Window.” It is written in three “books” with a Prologue. Each section starts with a relevant quote. The Prologue’s entitled The Search has this; “To those who cry out against romance I would say – You yourself are romance. You are the lost prince herding obscurely amongst the swine. The romance of your spirit is the most wonderful of stories.” Attributed to A. E. a pen name of Evelyn Underhill, a writer and theologian that Elizabeth much admired.
“I come in little things,
Saith The Lord:
Yeah! On the glancing wings,
of eager birds, the softly pattering feet
of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet
Your hard and wayward heart….”
I could picture Elizabeth and Cousin Mary and Edith gazing reverently at The Little Things in a house deep in the countryside, which was just on the cusp of Autumn.
That’s what I love about a Book by Elizabeth Goudge, her writing takes you and shows you not only what she has seen, but what others have seen before her. It is always a journey worth taking. As the nights begin to draw in, burrow into a Goudge novel and be taken somewhere else.