Real Presence

Real Presence
Clear as the endless ecstasy of stars 
    That mount for ever on an intense air;
    Or running pools, of water cold and rare,
In chiselled gorges deep amid the scaurs,
So still, the bright dawn were their best device,
    Yet like a thought that has no end they flow;
    Or Venus, when her white unearthly glow 
Sharpens like awe on skies as green as ice:

To such a clearness love is come at last,
  Not disembodied, transubstantiate,
      But substance and its essence now are one;
  And love informs, yet is the form create.
No false gods now, the images o’ercast,
    We are love’s body, or we are undone. 
Nan Shepherd

from In the Cairngorms (Edinburgh: The Moray Press, 1934)

Reproduced by permission of the Estate of Nan Shepherd.
Nan Shepherd

In the Cairngorms is both the title of Nan Shepherd's single book of poetry, and a useful shorthand for where the heart of this remarkable novelist, teacher and mountaineer lay. 

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