My Sour-Sweet Days

My Sour-Sweet Days

George Herbert and the Journey of the Soul

Mark Oakley


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Mark Oakley reveals George Herbert as a fine companion with whom to examine the journey of the soul. His poems are 'heart-work and heaven-work', embracing love and closeness, anger and despair, reconciliation and hope. There is too an appealing and audacious playfulness about Herbert: he seems to take God on, knowing God will win, confident God will not abandon him. This sense of relationship with God as primarily friendship is one of many intriguing and healing aspects we are invited to consider.

'My Sour-Sweet Days contains forty well-chosen poems by George Herbert (widely considered the greatest devotional poet in the English language), each of which is followed by a short but profound reflection by Mark Oakley. The combination is excellent: richly expressive poems and accessible personal meditations. This book powerfully demonstrates how poetry can bring comfort, refreshment and renewed energy to our spiritual lives.'
Professor Helen Wilcox, editor of the critically acclaimed edition of The English Poems of George Herbert (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

'It's extremely unusual to meet anyone who isn’t a specialist who has such a subtle feeling for language as Mark Oakley does.'
Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate

‘Heavenly.’ The Tablet