“A Child’s Thought of God” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Hardy, Frederick Daniel_A Kiss Goodnight
Frederick Daniel Hardy (British, 1826–1911), A Kiss Goodnight, 1858. Oil on canvas, 16 × 12 in. (41 × 30.5 cm).

They say that God lives very high!
But if you look above the pines,
You cannot see our God. And why?

And if you dig down in the mines,
You never see Him in the gold,
Though from Him all that’s glory shines.

God is so good, He wears a fold
Of heaven and earth across His face—
Like secrets kept, for love, untold.

But still I feel that His embrace
Slides down, by thrills, through all things made,
Through sight and sound of every place:

As if my tender mother laid
On my shut lids, her kisses’ pressure,
Half-waking me at night; and said,
“Who kissed you through the dark, dear guesser?”

This poem was originally published in 1850 and is now in the public domain.

6 thoughts on ““A Child’s Thought of God” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  1. The painting so sweet and beautiful. I love the image that the kiss of one who loves us is given to us by God Himself through the other.


    1. Yes! And also other beautiful graces that surround us hint at God’s presence—a redwood forest, for example, or the hydrangea bush blooming in the front yard, is like a tender kiss from God. “Secret,” playful, sensed. When I read this poem I thought about how my husband said he kisses my forehead every morning when I’m sleeping and he’s off to work, and that I always smile; I have no recollection, but apparently in my sleep I sense his love. God’s love is like that—something deeply felt even if its source can’t be seen. It can come at us in the dark, so to speak, through person, place, or thing, lighting us up.

      Liked by 1 person

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