Saturday, September 27, 2014

Another Saturday night

Earworm of the moment, believe it or not: "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid.

Hello, all! Very warm evening in the Boston area, for late September. Nearly nine and over 70 degrees. Emphatically not to my liking.

I'll be reading the Scriptures (except the Gospel, of course) at Mass tomorrow. I've been a lector, as some of you may know, for about fifteen months now.

Am optimistically expecting next week to be a good one. (The weather won't reflect that. Once we say goodbye to the heat, if the forecast be true, we'll be getting about three days' worth of rain.)

I haven't been writing a whole lot of poetry lately, but there are some new odds and ends over at The Crystal Tambourine.

Current reading:
The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander
The Road to Daybreak by Henri J. M. Nouwen
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

A confession to make. I've never liked Rilke. Maybe his work, universally admired, loses something in translation. Or maybe he's a mite too morose for my temperament (at least the poems I've read seem that way). The defect, I am sure, lies with me and not with the poet.

I've been wondering if I should resume my reading of The Monks of Tibhirine by John W. Kiser. It's about seven Trappist monks martyred in Algeria in 1996.

I've been wavering a little in my commitment to the Rosary. It seems that lately I've been asleep at my once-reliably-awake hour of 5 to 6 in the morning. If I don't get my rosary said during that hour, I am inclined to postpone, or even to forget. Our Lady, queen of angels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, all saints, pray for me.

I've also undertaken, of late, a sort of programme of self-improvement, but am beginning to bristle under the rigors. One thing's for certain: I need prayer. I need (of your charity, dear Readers) to be prayed for, and I need to pray.

I shall close this post with a photograph. Here is the Communion rail in the lower church of "Arch Street" (St Anthony's Shrine, Boston):


A blessed Sunday to everyone! Until soon!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday miscellaneity

Oh, shoot. It's raining. The walk to church is going to be a wet one!

Warm overnight. Didn't dip below the mid-sixties.


Haven't written much poetry of late, save the stray three-liner, some of which have been submitted to haiku magazines. And some older poems have been accepted by a journal that has been hospitable to my verse in recent years -- thank you, editors, and thank you, God!


There really is nothing like coffee at 3.20 on a Sunday morning in late summer/early autumn. When even the crickets are asleep.


Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron. A novel. Highly recommended. I do have a few reservations, based on imperfect knowledge of Catholicism on the part of the author, an Episcopal priest. Also, I'd've written the ending differently. However, a very compelling read, with many fun and fascinating characters, and a noble theme. (The Francis is the title is the Saint of Assisi, known nowadays as "oh, that Francis!")


I have received an invitation to Maugham's for a home-cooked breakfast. Am waiting for the phone call from Maugham, letting me know that she's awake.


Pray for me, please, of your charity, O readers of Dark Speech. I sense that I'm in a time of transition, maybe even at 45 a mid-life crisis. Two valued counsellors of mine have suggested that it might be an opportune moment for me to "go outside the box," and look for something altruistic or extrospective to do with my oceans of free time. There are a few notions along these lines that I find difficult to oust from my noggin, a few inchoate, gestating ideas, as to what this "going outside the box" might entail. It's odd to be pondering one's vocation at my quickly graying age, but in this sort of retirement, something more, something better, can be done.


I'll be back, I hope next weekend, with more miscellaneous jottings! Take care, everybody. Pax et bonum.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Etcetera, began the balladeer

A list of poets whose work I must explore more deeply:

1. William Wenthe
2. Deborah Paredez
3. Star Black


Arlington Town Day begins at 54 degrees! Gaudeamus igitur! In aestu temperies! Grateful coolness in the heat!


Grateful for so many things. Not the least of which is this fourth cup of morning coffee.


My most recent confessor to me, post-absolution: "Please pray for me, have a blessed day, and a wonderful life, and remember, we may be a couple of scurvy old bastards, but God loves us anyway."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Prayer Answered

Earlier today, I spoke (rather testily, I fear) to a dear friend about being in "a tricky position." I found myself stewing and seething, so I knew I had to get to a quiet place, yes, a sacred place, in a jiffy. Fortunately, my parish church keeps the basement chapel open for quiet meditation. And I prayed intensely. And what I discovered is this:

Love. Love, please God, will be my compass. Love will help me navigate the choppy seas between any emotional Scylla and Charybdis. Love will make any "tricky" position a lot more tolerable, a lot more pleasant, a lot more sweet. I asked God a question, and Love was the answer. And a pretty darned good answer it was, if you ask me. (But how far I am from that love which "is patient," which "is kind," which "does not insist upon, does not demand, its own way.")

Friday, May 09, 2014


My trip to Boston College was very pleasant all in all. Arrived at 11.15 for a 12.15 Mass, so I went to City Convenience and bought a turkey sandwich which I finished by 11.26 (conscious of the one-hour fasting rule!), and poked my head into the lower chapel of St Ignatius Church. I did find someone to ask, "good morning! will there be a Mass today?" and was assured, yes, at 12.15. So I had about 45 minutes to kill.

And kill them I did, most pleasantly, by walking into Newton, and taking a left down an attractive thoroughfare bracketed by (it appeared!) European cathedrals. But no, these architectural splendours were merely libraries of BC. Enthralled by the architecture, by the undergrads, by Wednesday's supremely vernal and enticing air, I wandered blithely as a Wordsworthian daffodowndilly magically uprooted from where it had been sown. Saw nuns in wimples! Saw lilacs and magnolias! Saw a modern library building named for Tip O'Neill! Saw a statue of Saint Ignatius, whose picture I promptestly took!

Then after about 15-20 minutes of wandering in the Newtonian portion of the BC campus, I wended my lyrical way back to St Ignatius' and the lower chapel thereof. Not the loveliest chapel, but inviting enough. Huge image of Our Lady of Guadeloupe. Near the tabernacle, an icon by William McNichols of Our Blessed Lord in the desert. The altar was wooden, and looked almost portable, the crucifix grand and garlanded with modest white flowers for Resurrection.

The "pews" were those chairs with kneelers fastened to the back, but most of the chairs were missing those kneelers. Fortunately, and orthodoxically, I did find one where the kneeler was intact. (Shamed almost into doing so, by a young black-habited nun kneeling with consummate reverence for her pre-Mass prayers!)

Fr M----- from Rwanda was the celebrant (and I found out his name only at the end of Mass when he introduced himself to all and sundry!), and a celebratory celebrant indeed! He led us (in mid-homily!) in the '70s hymn "I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger ..." I could understand him most of the time (was disconcerted by the vocable "fem" until I heard it paired with "and fortune"!).

But a joyful Mass among the Jesuits, and for whatever reason I was thrice or twice moved to quiet tears. Mostly of gratitude, methinks.

Took me two hours to get from Newton to Arlington! I did take the long way, as I wanted to avoid the almost assuredly sardine-box-like Number 66 bus.

I'd go back to BC and St Ignatius for another Mass, but I think their midday Masses stop in the summer. Which probably begins when the undergrads leave, circa, what?, next week?