I have found that reading a poem out loud does two things: it makes us slow down and as a consequence helps us to take it in. It also forces us to make sense of it – we decide where to pause, to break the flow or to continue; and sometimes discover a meaning that crosses more than one line of a verse.

A poem by Henry Vaughn (1622-95)


My soul, there is a country
Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry
All skilful in the wars:
There, above noise and danger,
Sweet Peace sits crown’d with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious Friend,
And—O my soul, awake!—
Did in pure love descend
To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flower of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress, and thy ease.
Leave then thy foolish ranges;
For none can thee secure
But One who never changes—
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

But I don’t think peace is only found beyond the stars.