Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coronation Souvenir



No matter how lofty the man,
No matter how fine the event,
A king can be shrunk to a span--
In moments his life is all spent.

No more does his word induce fears.
His power has passed with his days.
Outlasted by mere souvenirs,
Bright-colored while he fades to grays.

You return man to dust and say, "Return, O children of man!"
For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning...

--Psalm 90:3-5, ESV

My thanks to Magpie Tales for the image and for the idea of writing about a coronation souvenir. For other people's writings on the same topic, follow the link.

15 comments:

Jim Swindle said...

This photo also makes me think of my grandparents' home...the heavy oak library table, the National Geographic magazines with the yellow edging. There was a certain dignity to things from that era; a certain honesty. The dishes weren't plastic; the furniture wasn't plywood, and the people were as sturdy as the furniture.

Aoife.Troxel said...

I liked it...it reminded me slightly of mine. I liked the comparison between "lofty" men, and poorer men; how they are all the same in the end, they die anyway. Lovely rhymes.

Tumblewords: said...

Very true and nicely done!

willow said...

Yes, the people were as sturdy as the furniture! But then, we all, in time fade to grays. Nice piece, Jim.

Lena said...

Very much a true read. Comes to us all.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

A good poem, as the others have said, well-written and the rest. But though it's a souvenir of a king's coronation day, mass-produced and trinkety, and though the man to most of us has faded to gray, to the Lord that man is very much alive. Though my lifetime and his overlapped a matter of months, as a Christian historian, I want to honor the memory of King George VI, the last of the true monarchs of the three crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland. I am not a sentimentalist, nor do I delight in the outward glory of monarchies. But here was a man like one of us, thrown unprepared, and considering himself wholly unworthy, on the throne of an ancient people with the most profound Christian soul. A good father, a good husband, a good Christian, and a good king. He gave his life for his people. May his memory be eternal.

Jim Swindle said...

Thanks for the comments, and Romanós, thanks for the gentle correction. I know little of his life; I certainly sympathize with the difficulties of royal persons.

Brian Miller said...

kings fade quickly in the face of the King...nice magpie!

Jennifer said...

A powerful message in a concise poem - makes you think of the grand scheme of things!

Suz said...

so glad we don't have a kings
oh....maybe we do
very nice magpie

Stafford Ray said...

Suz, I think you do have kings but however much you love and annoint them for a time, we can all be thankful for the Magna Carta. That documet started the process of replacing a king's power with the power of democracy and the rule of law. For me this well crafted poem suggests kings, as mere men are no less mortal than any other!

soundoffreedom said...

Nicely done!

Helen said...

I especially liked your reference to souvenirs outlasting reality, leaving us with memories.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

No matter how good, even how saintly/sanctified, an individual king may be, the office itself was not God's choice for man, but something that man insisted on, and He permitted.

It doesn't stop there. Within the Church, we find that leaders give lip service to Christ's clear teaching that he who would be the greatest among us must be the servant of all, calling themselves "servant of the servants of God" (the pope), or "his all-holiness" (the Greek patriarch)... and these are only two very high-profile examples, but it goes all the way down to the preacher at the local congregation sometimes... leaders aggrandize themselves as if they were kings, while saying with their lips that they are humble and servants, but we can see they aren't.

Political kings have policemen to enforce their rule, and religious kings have threats, but both are false authorities.

We have only one King, and He is the King of all. And we have the best of souvenirs (sou-venir, literally, down-to come, to come down), that is, the Word of God.

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
John 3:13 KJV

Word verification: daidalis

Jim Swindle said...

Thank you, my brother Romanós, for another insightful comment. My one disagreement would be with the idea that kings are false authority. The Apostle Peter commanded that people submit to the king and to honor the king (1 Peter 2:13, 17). The Apostle Paul said to be subject to the higher powers (Romans 13:1-8).

The Lord Jesus Christ is our one King, but we also submit to and honor earthly kings, so far as we are able to do so without disobeying our higher king.