Henry van Dyke

Christ of Everywhere by Henry Van Dyke

‘Christ of Everywhere’ by Henry Van Dyke is a poem about the presence of Christ in all living things. Throughout this piece, Van Dyke uses simple and relatable language that allows all readers to connect with his words.

The poem acknowledges Christ’s presence in all things. The speaker depicts Christ as a patient lover of impatient men who “blindly strive and sin and strive again.” His teachings and his presence are larger than any “creed,” and he hopes that Christ will guide human beings as they continue to “war” and wander.

Christ of Everywhere
Henry Van Dyke

"Christ of the Andes," Christ of Everywhere,
Great lover of the hills, the open air,
And patient lover of impatient men
Who blindly strive and sin and strive again, —
Thou Living Word, larger than any creed,
Thou Love Divine, uttered in human deed, —
Oh, teach the world, warring and wandering still,
Thy way of Peace, the foot path of Good Will!
Christ of Everywhere by Henry Van Dyke


Summary 

‘Christ of Everywhere’ by Henry Van Dyke is a thoughtful poem about the presence of Christ in all things that human beings do.

In the first line of the poem, the speaker begins by describing how Christ is everywhere and can be found in all the faults and good deeds of human beings. Christ is there as human beings sin and strive to be better again. The final lines are addressed to Christ himself and implore him to continue guiding human beings down a righteous path, one that follows Christ’s teachings. 

Structure and Form

‘Christ of Everywhere’ by Henry Van Dyke is an eight-line poem that is contained within one stanza. The lines are visually similar and follow a simple rhyme scheme of AABBCCDD. The poem is also written in iambic pentameter. This means that the poet makes use of five sets of two beats per line. The first syllable in each pairing is unstressed, and the second is stressed.

Literary Devices 

Throughout this piece, Van Dyke makes use of several literary devices. These include but are not limited to: 

  • Enjambment: can be seen when the poet cuts off a line before its natural stopping point. For example, the transition between lines three and four. 
  • Caesura: can be seen when the poet inserts a pause into the middle of a line. This can be accomplished through the use of punctuation or through a natural pause in the meter. For example, “Thou Love Divine, uttered in human deed.”
  • Imagery: can be seen when the poet uses particularly interesting descriptions. These should trigger the reader’s senses. For example, “Great lover of the hills, the open air.”
  • Alliteration: occurs when the poet repeats the same consonant sound at the beginning of multiple lines. For example, “Christ” used twice in the first line and “strive and sin and strive” in line four. 


Detailed Analysis 

Lines 1-4

“Christ of the Andes,” Christ of Everywhere,

Great lover of the hills, the open air,

And patient lover of impatient men

Who blindly strive and sin and strive again, —

In the poem’s first stanza, the speaker begins by referring to Christ as “Christ of everywhere.” This is suggestive of the way that Christ, and his teachings, are in every living thing (within the speaker’s understanding of the world). In the first line, the poet uses the phrase “Christ of the Andes” this refers to a statue of Christ in the Andes mountains. this is one place Christ is found but, the physical statue is just a representative.

In the next three lines, the poet’s speaker describes who Christ is ( in regard to his love for humanity) everpresent. He describes Christ as a “lover of the hills, the open air.” He is also a “patient lover of impatient men.” The speaker alludes to the fact that these men, human beings who sin and do wrong, strive to right themselves in God’s eyes. They continue this cycle throughout their lives. Despite human beings’ flaws, Christ loves everyone.

Lines 5-8 

Thou Living Word, larger than any creed,

Thou Love Divine, uttered in human deed, —

Oh, teach the world, warring and wandering still,

Thy way of Peace, the foot path of Good Will!

The speaker continues to describe Christ in the next two lines. He refers to Christ as “Living Word” and “larger than any creed.” The ideas surrounding the image of Christ are bigger than anything else in the world. They live in the actions of human beings and are furthered by their good faith and good deeds.

In these lines, the reader should take note of the poet’s use of caesura. He utilizes the natural pause in the middle of his lines of iambic pentameter while also using punctuation.

The poet directs their words to Christ himself in the final two lines. This closed couplet is also an example of an apostrophe, depending on how readers interpret the poem and their own world views.

The speaker asks Christ to teach the world, which is still “warring and wandering,” meaning that humanity still hasn’t found peace or consistency, the “way of Peace.” He implores Christ to continue guiding humankind and the “foot path of Good Will.” The exclamation mark at the end of the poem helps readers interpret the speaker’s tone. They are passionate about their words and belief in Jesus Christ.

FAQs 

What is the tone of ‘Christ of Everywhere?’ 

The tone is passionate and imploring. The speaker directs some of their words to Christ while describing Christ’s impact on humankind in the other lines. Although the poet uses very simple syntax and diction, the language they chose is still quite impactful.

What is the purpose of ‘Christ of Everywhere?’

The purpose is to remind readers of Christ’s role in their everyday lives while also inspiring them to continue improving themselves and working to be good representatives of Christ’s teachings.

Who is the speaker in ‘Christ of Everywhere?’

The speaker is someone who has strong Christian beliefs. It may be the poet themselves, but without a specific reference to Henry Van Dyke, it’s better to assume they are a persona the speaker has created. The identity of the speaker is not important in order to understand the meaning of the poem.

What is the meaning of ‘Christ of Everywhere?’

The meaning is that no matter where one looks, Christ is there. He is in every good deed that human beings engage in and within their perseverance as they sin and strive to remake themselves.


Similar Poetry 

Readers who enjoyed this poem should also consider reading some other Henry Van Dyke poems. For example: 

  • Time Is’ – one of the best Henry van Dyke poems, published in 1904. This poem goes beyond the scientific definition of time and explores the subjectivity of time.

Other related poems include: 

  • Jesus! thy Crucifix’ by Emily Dickinson – a short poem in the form of a prayer to Jesus. Th speaker wants to make sure he remembers that humanity suffers on earth.
  • I Am Christ’sby Leslie Alexis – a passionate poem. In it, the speaker explores their religious devotion and celebrates their intentions to join God in heaven. 

Additionally, readers might choose to explore 10 Touching Poems about Jesus Christ

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About
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analyzing poetry on Poem Analysis.
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