The bitterness of loss

Daily Reading for March 8 • Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, 1929

If He could speak, that victim torn and bleeding,

Caught in His pain and nailed upon the Cross,

Has He to give the comfort souls are needing?

Could He destroy the bitterness of loss?

Once and for all men say He came and bore it,

Once and for all set up His throne on high,

Conquered the world and set His standard o’er it,

Dying that once, that men might never die.

Yet men are dying, dying soul and body,

Cursing the God who gave to them their birth,

Sick of the world with all its sham and shoddy,

Sick of the lies that darken all the earth.

Peace we were pledged, yet blood is ever flowing,

Where on the earth has Peace been ever found?

Men do but reap the harvest of their sowing,

Sadly the songs of human reapers sound. . . .

Are there no tears in the heart of the Eternal?

Is there no pain to pierce the soul of God?

Then must He be a fiend of Hell infernal,

Beating the earth to pieces with His rod.

Or is it just that there is nought behind it,

Nothing but forces purposeless and blind?

Is the last thing, if mortal man could find it,

Only a power wandering as the wind?

Father, if He, the Christ, were Thy Revealer,

Truly the First Begotten of the Lord,

Then must Thou be a Suff’rer and a Healer,

Pierced to the heart by the sorrow of the sword.

Then must it mean, not only that Thy sorrow

Smote Thee that once upon the lonely tree,

But that to-day, to-night, and on the morrow,

Still it will come, O Gallant God, to Thee. . . .

Peace does not mean the end of all our striving,

Joy does not mean the drying of our tears;

Peace is the power that comes to souls arriving

Up to the light where God Himself appears. . . .

Give me, for light, the sunshine of Thy sorrow,

Give me, for shelter, shadow of Thy Cross;

Give me to share the glory of Thy morrow,

Gone from my heart the bitterness of Loss.

From “The Suffering God” in The Unutterable Beauty: The Collected Poetry of G. A. Studdert Kennedy (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1927); found at

Past Posts