Poetry Month: Day 26 –

Should have found this one a few weeks ago:

Easter Communion – Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

Pure fasted faces draw unto this feast:
God comes all sweetness to your Lenten lips.
You striped in secret with breath-taking whips,
Those crooked rough-scored chequers may be pieced
To crosses meant for Jesu’s; you whom the East
With draught of thin and pursuant cold so nips
Breathe Easter now; you serged fellowships,
You vigil-keepers with low flames decreased,

God shall o’er-brim the measures you have spent
With oil of gladness, for sackcloth and frieze
And the ever-fretting shirt of punishment
Give myrrhy-threaded golden folds of ease.
Your scarce-sheathed bones are weary of being bent:
Lo, God shall strengthen all the feeble knees.

Posted in Practices of Faith, Fiction in Review, Non-Fiction in Review, Theology and Philosophy, Church | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Poetry Month: Day 25th – One of My Own

To those
with whom
we endure:

Gracious and humble thanks
for eating our
burnt rigatoni
our scorched macaroni

All the little parts of us
that char and deaden
taste, feeling

Thanks given
for not loving
some ideal

Thanks given
for loving

Me, us-

Burnt noodles.

Posted in Church, Family | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry Month: Day 24 – Walt Whitman

A Clear Midnight – Walt Whitman:

THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou
lovest best.
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

Posted in Fiction in Review, Non-Fiction in Review | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry Month: Day 23 Khalil Gibran

On Pain by Khalil Gibran:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the
daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.

Posted in Fiction in Review, Fitness, Non-Fiction in Review, Practices of Faith | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry Month: Day 22 – T.S. Elliot

Excerpt from the “Little Gidding”

If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world’s end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city–
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and in England.

Posted in Fiction in Review, Non-Fiction in Review, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry Month: Day 21 – Laura Wang

Nearing Lazarus’s Tomb – Laura Wang (appearing in Christian Century)

He’d seen it all. Swathes of nothingness
spun into stars, the slapping of the first fin onto land,
and now these creatures, by far the cleverest
and the saddest—though listing it that way
felt faulty, as if all happenings unfurled inch by inch
instead of blooming in one cacophony,
the apple crumpling just outside the city walls.

And it wasn’t even an apple, or fig,
or pomegranate glinting with infernal seeds,
though he’d accommodate their legends,
accept provisional truths, the same way they worked
with the earth un-sphered and stilled
in leaf-thin sketch.
To overlook
imprecision in the premises, concede
to the limits of both flesh and paper,
was what it meant to translate, as to love.
Which struck him as strange pottery:
roll everything that’s been into a coil
and score it with each day; cram self into cage
of clay and bone; daub their closed eyes in slip
and wait for it to flake off to new sight. It seemed to take
what they called a lifetime.

But they didn’t have that, not right here,
beside the village known as House-of-Misery
whose people rent their clothes. Before he even spoke
Mary’s tears were falling warm onto his feet,
carving clear trails through the coat of dust.

If you had been here. He stood
enveloped in the sound of all their moans,
entangled in her locks of dampening hair.
If you had been here. All grief’s audacity
pitched in her splintering voice, she raised her head
to look at him, and in her water-darkened eyes
he who’d seen all things felt this:
pain’s veil dividing now from everything
that is not-now. And he began to weep.

Posted in Fiction in Review, Non-Fiction in Review | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry Month: Day 20 – Gurney and Halleck

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 8.15.15 PM

Back a few years ago, I was a huge fan of a Novel by Frank Herbert. It’s hard not to love his characters and the epic scale of his narratives, and he’s one of the few sci-fi writers who bothers with religion at all. With great irony he leaves out Christianity – perhaps he was afraid to touch on it or there was some personal reason. However messianic figures of the Davidic and Mohommedesque mold were prominent in his writings.

One of my favorite characters was named Gurney Halleck. He was played by Patrick Stewart in the 1984 David Lynch film, and he sang songs and wrote poems. Apparently, he is based loosely on poets Ivor Gurney and Fitz-Greene Halleck – both battle poets of days gone by. I hope to get one of Herbert’s poems in sometime soon but for today, we get a twofer…

To the Poet before the Battle – Ivor Gurney

Now, youth, the hour of thy dread passion comes;
Thy lovely things must all be laid away;
And thou, as others, must face the riven day
Unstirred by rattle of the rolling drums
Or bugles’ strident cry. When mere noise numbs
The sense of being, the sick soul doth sway,
Remember thy great craft’s honour, that they may say
Nothing in shame of poets. Then the crumbs
Of praise the little versemen joyed to take
Shall be forgotten; then they must know we are,
For all our skill in words, equal in might
And strong of mettle as those we honoured. Make
The name of poet terrible in just war,
And like a crown of honour upon the fight.

Posted in Fiction in Review, Non-Fiction in Review | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment