Book of Amy Carmichael poems

I’ve mentioned Amy Carmichael several times. She, Isobel Kuhn, and Rosalind Goforth are my favorite female missionary writers from the past who have had the most influence on my own life.

In my copy of Amy’s biography, Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur, I have little pieces of paper sticking up to mark some of my favorite passages and poetry. Amy wrote a lot of poetry, some for the edification of “her children,” some as expressions of devotion and worship.  Many of Amy’s original books are now out of print. But one day when I was looking for something else on Amazon.com, I saw a book recommendation for a book called Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael. I was delighted to see that a group of editors have combed through Amy’s writings and collected 586 poems, them put them all together in this book. They are divided by basic categories and there is an index by title and first line in the back of the book. This is a treasure trove for anyone whose life has been touched by Amy Carmichael and anyone who loves Christian poetry.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

Thy John

As John upon his dear Lord’s breast,
So would I lean, so would I rest;
As empty shell in depths of sea,
So would I sink, be filled with Thee.

As water lily in her pool
Through long hot hours is still and cool,
A thought of peace, so I would be
Thy water-flower, Lord, close by Thee.

As singing bird in high, blue air,
So would I soar, and sing Thee there;
No rain nor stormy wind can be
When all the air is full of Thee.

I remember reading in one of her books how hot it was in India and how finding a spot of coolness somewhere was so very refreshing, and that came to mind as I read the second stanza.

This one is probably one of the most well-known:

Make Me Thy Fuel

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the crucified)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

“Silken self” — probably my worst enemy.

This one has been the heart-cry of many a Christian mother:

For Our Children

Father, hear us, we are praying,
Hear the words our hearts are saying;
We are praying for our children.

Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret, hidden peril;
Father, hear us for our children.

From the whirlpool that would suck them,
From the treacherous quicksand, pluck them;
Father, hear us for our children.

From the wordling’s hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Father, Father, keep our children.

Through life’s troubles waters steer them;
Through  life’s bitter battle cheer them;
Father, Father, be Thou near them.

Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless pleadings thronging,
Holy Father, for our children.

     And wherever they may bide,
Lead them Home at eventide.

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42 thoughts on “Book of Amy Carmichael poems

  1. Amy Carmichael is one of my favorites, too. She writes with a depth of spirit that we don’t experience too often in our day. I enjoyed the poems you shared – thanks!

  2. Thank you for sharing these poems! Her poetry is like a fervent prayer.
    I am looking for a copy of her poem, “What, No Scars”
    Is it in one of these volumes? Or can you share it with me?
    My father requested it at his memorial service.
    Thanks!

  3. Robin, is this the one you’re looking for?

    NO SCAR?

    Hast thou no scar?
    No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
    I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
    I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
    Hast thou no scar?

    Hast thou no wound?
    Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
    Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
    By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
    Hast thou no wound?

    No wound? No scar?
    Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
    And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
    But thine are whole; can he have followed far
    Who hast no wound or scar?

  4. hi does anyone know a poem called If by amy carmichael a friend told me about it and i cant seem to find it…thanks much

  5. Hello, I am hoping that you can help me in my search. There is this book about motherhood and it’s a paper back. On the cover is of a pregnant woman and it’s in a shaded brown and off white and Amy carmichael’s poem father hear us is on page 76. If you can please tell me the name of this book I would be so happy. Jennifer

  6. It is a poem. Here it is. You can get a collection of her works in a book called Learning of God by Philip Branch. Enjoy.
    No Scar?

    Hast thou no scar?
    No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
    I hear thee sung as mighty in the land.
    I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
    Hast thou no scar?

    Hast thou no wound?
    Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
    Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
    By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:
    Hast thou no wound?

    No wound? No scar?
    Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
    And pierced are the feet that follow Me:
    But thine are whole: can he have followed far
    Who hast nor wound nor scar?

  7. Does anyone know what a ‘wordling’ is – from Amy Carmichael’s poem, FOR OUR CHILDREN?

    Karen

    • I think Amy means someone who is following the world as opposed to following the Lord. I John 2:15-16 says”Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” I think she probably means it in that sense.

    • For Our Children

      Father, hear us, we are praying,
      Hear the words our hearts are saying;
      We are praying for our children.

      Keep them from the powers of evil,
      From the secret, hidden peril;
      Father, hear us for our children.

      From the whirlpool that would suck them,
      From the treacherous quicksand, pluck them;
      Father, hear us for our children.

      From the wordling’s hollow gladness,
      From the sting of faithless sadness,
      Father, Father, keep our children.

      Through life’s troubles waters steer them;
      Through life’s bitter battle cheer them;
      Father, Father, be Thou near them.

      Read the language of our longing,
      Read the wordless pleadings thronging,
      Holy Father, for our children.

      And wherever they may bide,
      Lead them Home at eventide.

    • Sorry to be so long in answering. The only thing I could find was not a poem but an essay called Thy Brother’s Blood:

      THY BROTHER’S BLOOD CRIETH – BY AMY CARMICHAEL

      The tom-toms thumped straight on all night, and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:

      That I stood on a grassy patch, and at my feet a ravine broke straight down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

      Then I saw forms of people moving toward the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very edge. She lifted her foot for the next step… Then, to my horror, I saw that she was blind. Before I could say anything she was over, and the children with her. Their cries pierced the air as they fell into the inky blackness of the ravine!

      Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all walked straight toward the edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.

      Then I wondered, with a wonder that was sheer agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I couldn’t even yell; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come out.

      Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals.
      But the intervals were too large; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the ravine yawned like the mouth of hell.

      Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned towards the ravine. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it was a rather crude noise. And if one of their group started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. “Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven’t finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish,” they said, “to leave us to finish the work alone.”

      There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries for miles and miles along the edge.

      Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called, and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls. Once a child grabbed at a tuft of grass that grew at the very edge of the ravine; it clung convulsively, and it called – but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which her friends reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; “The gap would be well taken care of!”, they said. And then they sang a hymn.

      Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew that it was “The Cry of the Blood”.

      Then a voice thundered. It was the voice of the Lord, and He said, “What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”

      The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shrieks of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.

      What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it? God forgive us!

      God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!

    • “DAISY CHAINS”

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped⎯
      Straight on all the night⎯
      The tom-toms stole my sleep
      Beating lost men’s plight⎯

      I dreamed⎯ awake⎯ a horrid scene⎯
      A dream I wished I’d never seen⎯
      It was of gaps⎯ and none between
      To warn blind souls of Hell’s ravine.

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped⎯
      ‘Midst men’s fears and fright⎯

      My dream⎯ it went like this⎯
      Along a precipice⎯
      A deep and dark abyss⎯
      Stood I
      To gaze
      A peaceful sward
      Where most ignored
      The cry
      Of those doomed by their pagan ways.

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped⎯
      Amidst the dim moonlight⎯

      A solemn sward⎯ a grassy space⎯
      Which dropped into a hellish place⎯
      Was claiming souls of Adam’s race⎯
      A scene which I cannot erase⎯

      The people moved⎯ some single file⎯
      Blind to the lies⎯ the fiendish guile⎯
      That leads astray
      Down that broad way
      To Hell⎯
      Pell-mell⎯
      Oh! Think of that awhile!

      The pit had such eternal depths
      It made me take some backward steps —
      I could not stand so nigh —
      For dizzy thus was I.

      I spied a woman near the edge⎯
      A babe in arms, a child in tow⎯
      She neared the verge⎯ but did not slow⎯
      There was no fence⎯ no rail⎯ no hedge⎯
      To save her from the fall⎯
      Yet none to her did call⎯
      No friend⎯ no stranger⎯
      To warn her of such danger.

      She took that step⎯ that fatal step⎯
      And plunged to her eternal death⎯
      Along with children, too⎯
      All happened in full view⎯
      But she was blind⎯
      It haunts my mind⎯
      For those that tagged behind
      Did their own death pursue
      With none to warn⎯
      Or even mourn⎯
      In sight of fields of daisies.

      Oh, the cry as they went over⎯
      Oh, the cry!
      Oh, the cry as they went over⎯
      Oh, the cry!
      Helpless⎯ hopeless⎯ happy never⎯
      From the chains of Hell none sever⎯
      Oh, the cry as they went over
      E’er to die.

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped⎯
      With none to steer aright!

      The cry! The awful cry
      As over, yes, she went⎯
      Her life⎯ a waste⎯ now spent⎯
      ‘Tis such the heathen die.

      I then saw streams of people stare
      Ahead as zombies in despair⎯
      And thus each one did tread the air⎯
      With none⎯ it seems⎯ to care
      They went to Hell
      Fore’er to dwell.

      Yes, all were blind, stone blind⎯ stone blind⎯
      Yet no one seemed to mind
      Their shrieks⎯ their cries⎯ their fate
      Though great⎯
      For all had passed that wide, wide gate⎯
      A gate unguarded.

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped
      A march⎯ a dirge⎯ outright.

      I asked this question of myself⎯
      Is there some reason why
      These souls all have to die
      Unwarned⎯
      Nor mourned?

      This was to me
      Pure agony⎯
      To see them Hellward bound⎯
      And I⎯ glued to the ground⎯
      Unapt to make a sound⎯
      Or make one plea
      Though hard I tried.
      Alas! I sighed.

      And then at some wide interval
      I noticed sentries stood to call
      Out to those headed to th’ abyss⎯
      And warned them of the dangerous fall.
      Alas, the gaps were wide!
      And few they were to stem the tide.
      Why were there gaps?
      What was the lapse?
      Would more not intervene?
      That sward⎯ that grass once green⎯
      Did blood-red seem⎯
      Their blood did make our hands unclean!

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped
      Far off in the night⎯

      There in the distance stood some trees⎯
      Where sat some⎯ holy as you please⎯
      Far from the cries and pains
      Which life ordains⎯
      Which death maintains.
      They sat in comfort⎯ all at ease⎯
      While making daisy chains.

      Their backs were turned⎯ turned from the pit⎯
      For their own benefit⎯
      They said⎯
      That’s what they said⎯
      There⎯ far from the edge⎯
      They could not hear as well
      The piercing shrieks⎯
      And could not feel the fires of Hell⎯
      Nor see the blind and dead
      Walk o’er the ledge.

      Perchance if screaming reached their ears
      They’d pray a prayer for dark frontiers⎯
      But soon they’d be⎯
      As I could see⎯
      Back making daisy chains.

      Those chains were getting longer⎯
      But! were they any stronger?
      Pray tell⎯
      In light of Hell⎯
      What good were all these daisy chains
      Where sin still reigns?

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped⎯
      A tune of bane and blight⎯

      One sought to break free from the group⎯
      To warn one who’d soon fall⎯
      But unified⎯ they testified⎯
      There had not been a call.

      A call for what? I did not know⎯
      She only sought some love to show
      To those doomed near the precipice⎯
      Before they slipped into th’ abyss.

      Why should you get excited so?
      God does not call us all to go!
      Your daisy chain is not complete⎯
      Don’t worry so⎯ here⎯ take a seat.
      Somewhere some seed was sown⎯
      Trust God who’s on the throne⎯
      We cannot make these chains alone!

      A smaller group⎯ off to the side⎯
      Sought one to go and stem the tide⎯
      Alas, they found within the pew
      The willing were too few⎯ too few!

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped⎯
      In devilish delight⎯

      How wide must be the gap?
      When all around collapse
      The multitudes⎯
      And that includes
      The richest king⎯
      And poorest thing⎯
      Won’t time for them soon lapse?
      Quite soon perhaps.

      For miles and miles the gaps stretched on⎯
      While blind folks came ⎯ and then were gone⎯
      With no one there to warn.
      A waterfall of souls plunged o’er⎯
      An endless stream⎯ but still there’s more⎯
      Since daily more are born.

      Some slipped⎯ and grasped at tufts of grass⎯
      ‘Twas some from every age and class⎯
      A child clung at the brink⎯
      My heart began to sink⎯
      Would none give him to drink
      Of Living Water?
      Then over went that child⎯
      With God unreconciled⎯
      Yet some just smiled⎯
      And made excuses.
      The church under the trees⎯
      Now and for centuries⎯
      Twists its priorities⎯
      Riskless recluses.

      The tom-toms thumped⎯ thumped⎯ thumped⎯
      Religious⎯ hollow rite⎯

      Another tried to leave the group⎯
      And from the brink some lost one scoop⎯
      They all⎯ as one⎯ reproved her.
      They used their doctrines to persuade
      Until she quit⎯ gave up⎯ and stayed⎯
      With “sense” the elders moved her.
      Yes, someone else would fill that gap⎯
      More daisies now do fill her lap.

      The daisy chains grew longer⎯
      But is the church thus stronger?

      They sang a hymn
      Instead
      Of caring for the blind and dead⎯
      Who needed sight⎯ and life⎯
      Before they fell
      To Hell.
      Then through the hymn
      A sound
      Like broken hearts⎯ and bloodied too⎯
      The sound of pain⎯ in one loud sob⎯
      I can’t deny
      That cry.

      The horror of great darkness came upon me⎯
      For such a cry could only be but one⎯
      The cry of blood!
      Then thundered out the voice of God⎯ Jehovah⎯
      Out from the ground cries out thy brother’s blood⎯
      Just like a flood.
      What hast thou done,
      My saint⎯ my son?
      Why is your gap still empty?

      The tom-toms still thump⎯ thump⎯ thump⎯
      Through sin’s dark night⎯
      Yes, heavily they beat
      Their rhythm of deceit⎯
      While souls go marching off to Hell⎯
      Did you hear that?
      Another one just fell!

      Can’t you see the spirits dancing⎯
      Can’t you see the demons prancing⎯
      Can’t you see the foe advancing⎯
      With delight?

      Does it matter after all
      If lost souls in Hell do fall?
      Does it matter⎯ since in tears
      Men have gone to Hell for years?

      While a single soul remains⎯
      Crying⎯ Dying⎯ Helpless⎯ Hopeless⎯
      Will you, saint, not heed their pleas
      And give up your daisy chains?

       Written by WDB on November 7, 2010 while in the Detroit Metro Airport,
      in the air over Canada while in transit to Amsterdam and then to Siliguri, India, in the Amsterdam Schiphel Airport, sitting on the tarmac in Amsterdam, and finished in the air between Amsterdam and Mumbai, India.

      Written after years of thinking about May Carmichael’s prose piece called
      “THY BROTHER’S BLOOD CRIETH.”
      Irregular Meter

  8. I just found this website and loved hearing others talk about Amy Carmichael and some of the things she wrote! Just now I had been typing a list of all her books, and thinking of re-reading them, because it has been many years since I had, and this has been an inspiration to me! I had named my oldest daughter after Amy (over 30 years ago!), and always think when I get to Heaven, after falling down at Jesus’ feet and worshiping Him, I look forward to meeting her.

    • I’ve read her biography a number of times but would like to read it again some time. That’s a neat thought about meeting her in heaven! I had always wanted to name a daughter Amy, too, but I had all sons.

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  10. Here is another poem from Amy Carmichael that I could not find on the Internet… so I typed it out and am adding it for those who do not have the book “Mountain Breezes.”

    “PROVISION IN BATTLE”

    Arouse in our hearts, O Christ,
    The faith that welcometh battle:
    Strange defeats may sore distress,
    Crippling wounds afflict, oppress;
    Never let our weariness
    Weaken faith within.

    Create in our hearts, O Christ,
    The peace that halloweth battle:
    Battle cries assault the ear,
    Cries of triumph or of fear;
    Never let them domineer
    Over peace within.

    Maintain in our hearts, O Christ,
    The joy that lighteneth battle:
    Bitter in persistency
    Though the grief of battle be,
    Never let despondency
    Dull the joy within.

    Awake, lute and harp, and play
    The mystic music of battle:
    Make us strong, O Christ, make strong;
    Let nothing stifle the song;
    The song of the Lord of battles–
    The glorious music of song!

    by Amy Carmichael
    May be found in Mountain Breezes – page 110-111

    by David Bennett on Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 12:17am

  11. Many years ago I used to work for an organisation called ‘Torch Trust for the Blind’ in Leicestershire. I worked in the (then) tape department, receiving tapes from transcribers who read Christian books on to tape for us and then sent them in to be mastered on to the old Talking Books for the Blind. (They now do this on CD’.) I particularly remember the first book I ever mastered for them was ‘Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur’ by Bishop Frank Houghton. It was such a lovely book it made me weep for all the work she did in India for the ‘Temple Girls’ who were sold into slavery by their poor mothers. It contains many of Amy’s lovely poems. I don’t know if it is still available but somewhere like Amazon may have a copy. Reading this blog has brought back some lovely memories of that time when I was so very close to the Lord. I’m afraid I have wandered far away over the years, but He always welcomes me back to Him when I come back to HIm, PRAISE HIS NAME!

    • What a neat job that would have been! Yes, Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur is one of my all-time favorite books — one of the first few missionary books I ever read.

      I am so glad God does want us to return to Him and He does take us back when we wander.

      “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” Isaiah 44:22

      “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  12. i AM LOOKING FOR AMY,S POEM ,TITLED , IF…IT GOES LIKE THIS
    IF I CAN THINK AN UNKIND THOUGHT OR SAY AN UNKIND WORD
    I KNOW NOTHING OF CALVARY LOVE……………..ANITA BAZANANNIE

  13. Hello, do you know of the poem that Amy wrote that starts out, ” Love through me o love of God
    there is no love in me.”?
    thanks for any help.

    • Forgive me for missing this – it’s timely that I saw it now, though, as I need these messages myself. There are two poems in Mountain Breezes by Amy that start with “Love through me, Love of God.” The second one has the additional line of there being no love in me.

      #1. Love through me, Love of God;
      Make me like thy clear air
      Through which, unhindered, colors pass
      As though it were not there.

      Powers of the love of God,
      Depths of the heart Divine,
      O love that faileth not, break forth,
      And flood this world of Thine.

      #2. Love through me, Love of God;
      There is no love in me.
      O Fire of love, light Thou the love
      That burns perpetually.

      Flow through me, Peace of God;
      Calm River, flow until
      No wind can blow, no current stir
      A ripple of self-will.

      Shine through me, Joy of God;
      Make me like Thy clear air
      That Thou dost pour Thy colors through,
      As though it were not there

      O blessed Love of God,
      That all may taste and see
      How good Thou art, once more I pray:
      Love through me—even me.

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    • Charlotte, I apologize for being so long in answering this. I’ve been going through things on my computer and just rediscovered it. Anyway, here is her poem The Sign, on p. 187 of Mountain Breezes:

      Lord crucified, O mark Thy holy Cross
      On motive, preference, All fond desires;
      On that which self In any form inspires
      Set Thou that Sign of loss.

      And when the touch of death is here and there
      Laid on a thing Most precious in our eyes,
      Let us not wonder; Let us recognize
      The answer to this prayer.

  16. Is here a poem with lines like, “God gave me emptiness that He might fill me, He gave me darkness that He might be my Light”?

  17. Please, so often I wish to drop Amy’s poem about “little flowers along the way” into a comment for my friends on Facebook, or in an e-mail, but I never can find it. Might you know of it? Thank you. : )

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