Pain of Late Conversion
Have mercy, Lord, and by your blood
wash from my brain
the sly recurring pain
How is it that I lived so long outside your reign?
The thief intrudes when joy is at its height
and changes joy into a tight and choking pain
whose voice has one refrain:
Why did I sleep so long?
Why was I deaf to your new song?
Give me the grace to consecrate
the tender, raw regret that I came late —
To consecrate that deathly wait
into a crown to offer you as I kneel down
before you, Lord;
Then so ignored!
Now so adored!
Help me to understand
that I could love the cross at last
only by passing through my past;
Give me your gentleness about my history,
Help me to see as lovely mystery
the use you made of each poor day
before in blessed brokenness
I saw and heard and chose the Way.
Help me to thank you, Lord,
for resurrecting me before the Judgment day
so I can say that You Are Lord by faith
for these few years
before I shout it out from sight
through rapture tears.
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Many of Vanauken’s poems are reminiscent of Browning, Donne, the early Charles Williams, and others, in style, tone, and theme.