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.
lovesky
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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