Tuesday, November 05, 2002
go together like (if I can steal a George Will-ism) sauerkraut and ice cream
The bad : Yet another author accuses the church of "grave crimes" with respect to the Holocaust. I confess to not having read the article. In fact, I'm not even going to link to it. So there!
The good : Alex Beam on Gilbert!
The Poem Tree, an online anthology emphasizing modern metrical verse.
Found it by a Yahoo search for the poet Robert Francis (check out Francis's poetry, esp. "Fall," if you can tolerate the somewhat distractingly cute background graphics).
And here, with suitably understated graphics, is a beautiful quiet poem called "Unsaid," by (my resistance is slowly, slowly dissipating) Dana Gioia.
The Song of Songs, from chapter 4
7 Tota pulchra es, amica mea,
et macula non est in te.
8 Veni de Libano, sponsa,
veni de Libano,
respice de capite Amana,
de vertice Sanir et Hermon,
de cubilibus leonum,
de montibus pardorum.
9 Vulnerasti cor meum, soror mea, sponsa,
vulnerasti cor meum in uno oculorum tuorum
et in uno monili torquis tui.
10 Quam pulchri sunt amores tui, soror, mea sponsa;
meliores sunt amores tui vino,
et odor unguentorum tuorum super omnia aromata.
11 Favus distillans labia tua, sponsa;
mel et lac sub lingua tua,
et odor vestimentorum tuorum
sicut odor Libani.
12 Hortus conclusus, soror mea, sponsa,
hortus conclusus, fons signatus;
13 propagines tuae paradisus malorum punicorum
cum optimis fructibus,
cypri cum nardo.
14 Nardus et crocus,
fistula et cinnamomum
cum universis lignis turiferis,
myrrha et aloe
cum omnibus primis unguentis.
15 Fons hortorum,
puteus aquarum viventium,
quae fluunt impetu de Libano.
Well, not exactly. We were nearly asleep, but some sundry noises of this placid vale, this happy little spot, this congenial bailiwick did obtrude upon our semisomnolent state.
Yesterday evening, I found what looked to be an excellent resource of Orthodox prayers on some fellow's personal website. But it seems that elsewhere on this site, there's rhetoric about Roman Catholicism which makes the remarks of former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders seem intelligent by comparison. Not a discussion of theological differences, but bigoted fulmination from a Baptist-turned-Orthodox (or semi-Orthodox; he seems to be caught in the jaws of some kind of quasi-fundamentalist hell). This may be addressed further, with actual quotations provided.
Please pardon me, I'm in my mellow-yellow up-with-people mood. I'm very pro-people, at this moment. Major league. Big time.
Monday, November 04, 2002
from For the Life of the World; via Doxos
Secularism is a religion... and it "works" and it "helps". Quite frankly if "help" were the criterion one would have to admit that life-centered secularism helps actually more than religion. To compete with it, religion has to present itself as "adjustment to life", "counseling", "enrichment", it has to be publicized in subways and buses as a valuable addition to "your friendly bank" and all the other "friendly dealers": try it, it helps!
For Christianity, help is not the criterion. Truth is the criterion. Salvation ... is not only not identical with help, but is, in fact, opposed to it.
This book was also published under the title Sacraments and Orthodoxy (Herder and Herder, 1965); in my copy, the quotation above appears on page 123 (Chapter 6).
edward estlin cummings (1894-1962)
what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer's lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend;blow space to time)
--when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man
what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror;blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
--whose hearts are mountains,roots are trees,
it's they shall cry hello to the spring
what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn't:blow death to was)
--all nothing's only our hugest home;
the most who die,the more we live
Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
A learned man came to me once.
He said, "I know the way -- come."
And I was overjoyed at this.
Together we hastened.
Soon, too soon, were we
Where my eyes were useless,
And I knew not the ways of my feet.
I clung to the hand of my friend;
But at last he cried, "I am lost."
Is there any insanely pedantic prosodist out there, someone of a gloriously encyclopedic capacity for retaining the most nugatory nuggets of information, who could tell me the name of the four-syllable poetical foot whose only stress is on the first syllable, exemplorum gratia: "reasonable," "seasonable," "cassowary," "emissary," "ordinary"?
Or would these tetrasyllables be considered trochaic dimeter because, especially in the latter three examples, the 3rd syllable is ever-so-slightly, nonetheless discernibly, louder than syllables two and four?
Ah! Here it is!
Paeon : Greek and Latin metrical foot consisting of three short and one long syllables: the first paeon / ' ~ ~ ~ /, the second paeon / ~ ' ~ ~ /, the third paeon / ~ ~ ' ~ /, and the fourth paeon / ~ ~ ~ ' /.
So, "first paeon" it is!
a brief visitation unto the Dana Gioia website, and can recommend the poem entitled "Rough Country" ... in part, perhaps because I like poems to be rough countries, sometimes. I like words that resist the flow of chatter, the words that make the reader stop, switch to a rhythm other than that of newspaper-prose. Read "Rough Country" aloud, especially the middle lines.
What worries me about Mr Gioia's poetry is that, in the laudable effort to free his work of the more flamboyant and facile eccentricities, he might be at times too cautious. But poetry -- like the Church? -- has room for all kinds. A priest once said in his homily that the Church embraces, among its apologists and evangelists, both the tenacious and the subtle. (One of the happiest phrases this fellow ever came up with!) Similarly, in the family of poetry, you'll find the reticent and the rambunctious. And there's room enough for both, and for all gradations & variations in between. Perhaps, the reticent and the rambunctious can exist in the same poet!
To bring up the name of Estlin Cummings yet again, who wrote
so many selves(so many fiends and gods
each greedier than every)is a man
(so easily one in another hides;
yet man can,being all,escape from none)
-- we have in him someone who wrote metrically irregular, "shocking" sonnets about prostitutes (and can we forget, from etcetera, the sonnet with "the fooling groove intuitive"?) ... who wrote Herrick-like poems about the first violet of spring, who wrote urban pastorals (sitting in mcsorley's ... "outside it was New York and beautifully snowing"), and who often gave us the most mature thought in the guise of nursery rhyme. He alternated politcial jibes ("a politician is an arse upon / which everyone has sat except a man") with beautiful sonnets ("true lovers in each happening of their hearts") that wouldn't be out of place in the Pauline Books & Media Poetry as Prayer series.
There is definitely a popular lyric poetry. Poetry still speaks to people.
Now, what to do about the deplorable postmodernist tendencies in the Anglo-American "epics" of our day? What do to about the lexicographical hermeneutics of the caco-syntactical multivalence of the neo-phonemic discognitive aposiopesis of the gibberistical zxcvbnm of quasi-aleatoric ... oy, it resists parody!
Well, those of us who write can just ignore the pomo crowd, and get on with the business at hand -- producing things that need (in our feeble, strong, or flickering light of discernment) to be written!
by Emily Dickinson
There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons --
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes --
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us --
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are --
None may teach it -- Any --
'Tis the Seal Despair --
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air --
When it comes, the Landscape listens --
Shadows -- hold their breath --
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death --
:: :: ::
I fear a Man of frugal Speech --
I fear a Silent Man --
Haranguer -- I can overtake --
Or Babbler -- entertain --
But He who weigheth -- While the Rest --
Expend their furthest pound --
Of this Man -- I am wary --
I fear that He is Grand --
Sunday, November 03, 2002
BEHOLD now, praise the LORD, * all ye servants of the LORD;
2 Ye that by night stand in the house of the LORD, * even in the courts of the house of our God.
3 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, * and praise the LORD.
4 The LORD that made heaven and earth * give thee blessing out of Sion.
and one of them (Shannon O'Brien, candidate for governor of Massachusetts) is dropping in the polls, since her truly ugly debate performance a few nights back, in which the erstwhile pro-lifer boasted of her NARAL endorsement. O'Brien now has a 53% unfavorable rating among independents and unenrolled voters; her opponent, Mitt Romney -- also pro-choice, alas, but opposed to lowering the age of consent for abortions -- leads among senior citizens by 20 percentage points.
Moderator Tim Russert reminded O'Brien that 16-year-olders cannot legally see R-rated movies unless accompanied by someone older. When pressed to explain why 16-year-olders should be able to get abortions without their parents' knowledge, O'Brien basically giggled.
The other turn-off about Shannon : She is never wrong. And she'll be the first one to tell you that. Her voice has the very lacerating quality of someone who believes devoutly in her own ideological infallibility.
The other, Jeanne Shaheen, candidate for US Senator in New Hampshire is hoping to score some points against her GOP opponent, pro-life congressman John E. Sununu (son of former Granite State governor and Bush 41 Chief of Staff John H.) -- "John Sununu voted 75 times against a woman's right to choose."
Question : Why doesn't Sununu hit back with ads that remind voters that "pro-choice" has come to mean unswerving pro-abortion extremism, to the point of endorsing partial-birth abortion, a practice which one of the most illustrious Democrats of the last half-century (former US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan) has called "infanticide"?
Why doesn't Sununu ask the electorate of his state if ninth-month abortions truly represent (the phrase Shaheen lobs about with such cavalier facility) "New Hampshire values"?
Just a few thoughts as the dies illa (Election Day) impends.
words by Edward Caswall (1814-1878)
Let the holy anthem rise,
And the choirs of heaven chant it
In the temple of the skies;
Let the mountains skip with gladness
And the joyful valleys ring,
With Hosannas in the highest
To our Savior and our King.
Like the sun from out the wave,
He has risen up in triumph
From the darkness of the grave,
He’s the splendor of the nations,
He’s the lamp of endless day;
He’s the very Lord of glory
Who is risen up today.
Blessèd Jesus make us rise,
From the life of this corruption
To the life that never dies.
May Your glory be our portion,
When the days of time are past,
And the dead shall be awakened
By the trumpet’s mighty blast.
Author of light, revive my dying spright :
Redeeme it from the snares of all-confounding night.
Lord, light me to thy blessed way :
For blinde with worldly vaine desires, I wander as a stray.
Sunne and Moone, Starres and underlights I see,
But all their glorious beames are mists and darkness, being compar'd
Fountaine of health, my soules deepe wounds recure,
Sweet showres of pitty raine, wash my uncleannesse pure.
One drop of thy desired grace
The faint and fading hart can raise, and in joyes bosome place.
Sinne and Death, Hell and tempting Fiends may rage;
But God his owne will guard, and their sharp paines and grief in time
Saturday, November 02, 2002
We really need to end these draconian, archaic laws against drunk driving. It really does militate against the principle of freedom for which this country stands. I trust the motorists of America to make their own decisions regarding use of their own private vehicles. I believe in a motorist's right to choose, and no legislator, no government, has the right to interfere in that difficult decision. We must ensure access to motor vehicles for all our citizens who have reached the driving age, regardless of their condition. To legislate against a driver's right to choose shows an abysmal distrust of the motorists of America. It turns back the clock to the days of speakeasies and velocipedes, of Prohibition and the horse-and-buggy. We should not elect any politican who does not believe in the driver's right to choose.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am personally opposed to drunk driving. But I also believe that I don't have the right to make that decision for you. If you are old enough to drive, and old enough to drink, you can be trusted with your own decisions regarding the operation of your automobile.
on his deputy headmaster; on the possible etymology of "bumptious"
In my memory Mid Kemp's hands, his patched tweed jackets, his moustache and his hair were all yellowed with nicotine. I don't know what it is about modern cigarettes, but no longer does one see the great stained smoking fingers and egg-yolk streaked white hair of old. Mid Kemp looked and talked like C. Aubrey Smith in The Four Feathers. His favourite word, one for which I have a great deal of time myself as a matter of fact, was "arse." Everyone was more or less an arse most of the time, but I was arsier than just about everyone else in the school. In fact, in my case he would often go further -- I was on many occasions a bumptious arse. Before I learned what bumptious actually meant I assumed that it derived from "bum" and believed therefore with great pride that as a bumptious arse I was doubly arsey -- twice the arse of ordinary arses.
-- Moab, p. 91
... and I concede that this is a very real possibility ...
check out (and it shames me to say that I haven't thoroughly explored the site before today) The 'Roescht' of the Story. Not merely for the web-log itself, but for all those cool links in the upper left, the FAQ, the Credo, the Fides, the Ratio, the supremely well-thought-out political articles, etc.
Mr Roesch writes and thinks with agility and charity and dexterity. It should be noted, too, that he is an antediluvian, superannuated, Methuselan, prehistoric graybeard ... of twenty.
yet again, this time from prison for credit-card theft at 18
The bishop of Malmesbury came to visit one Wednesday. A group of us was selected to sit round him in a circle while he asked us to speak frankly about prison conditions and how we were being treated and what we thought of ourselves. There were screws [prison guards] standing against the walls, eyeing the ceiling, and we all knew better than to complain. All except Fry, of course.
"I would like to draw your lordship's attention to one thing that has been bothering me," I said. "It is, I fear, a very grave matter and the source of aggravation and discomfort to many of us here."
There was a hissing in of breath from the others and a meaningful clearing of the throat from one of the senior screws.
"Please," said the bishop, "please feel free."
"I am sure," I said, "that Her Majesty has many calls on her time and cannot be expected to know everything that goes on in her name within the walls of institutions such as this."
"No indeed," agreed the bishop, blinking slightly.
"However, I must urge you to draw her attention to the quality of the soap available in our bathrooms."
"The soap, my lord bishop. It lathers not, neither does it float; it doesn't smell nice, it doesn't even clean you. The best that can be said for it, I am afraid, is that it keeps you company in the bath."
This was from an old Morecambe and Wise book I had bought years ago at Uppingham.
The bishop burst out laughing and the screws dutifully joined in with smiles, shaking their heads at the jollity of it all.
"If your lordship will undertake to make urgent representation in the right quarters?"
"Certainly, certainly! Um, may I ask you, young man, I know this is not good prison form and you really don't have to answer, but may I ask you nonetheless ... what, ah, are you in for?"
"Oh the usual," I said carelessly. "Churchmen."
"I beg your pardon?"
"The senseless slaughter of clerics. I murdered four minor canons, two archdeacons, a curate and a suffragan bishop in a trail of bloody carnage that raged from Norwich to Hexham last year. Surely you read about it in the Church Times, my lord? I think it made the third page of the late racing extra."
"All right, now. That's enough of that, Fry."
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry, Bishop, you must forgive my freakish humours. In here we laugh that we may not weep. It was theft, I'm afraid, my lord. Plain old credit-card fraud."
"Oh. Oh, I see."
-- Moab, pp. 348-9
by James Stephens (Irish, 1882-1950)
... blogged for those who seek a popular, lucid poetry; for those enamored of things Hibernian; and for those, like myself, who see nothing wrong with locks and keys, with hidden shy abodes and brick-built dens!
Because our lives are cowardly and sly,
Because we do not dare to take or give,
Because we scowl and pass each other by,
We do not live; we do not dare to live.
We dive, each man, into his secret house,
And bolt the door, and listen in affright,
Each timid man beside a timid spouse,
With timid children huddled out of sight.
Kissing in secret, fighting secretly!
We crawl and hide like vermin in a hole,
Under the bravery of sun and sky,
We flash our meannesses of face and soul.
Let us go out and walk upon the road,
And quit for evermore the brick-built den,
And lock and key, the hidden, shy abode
That separates us from our fellow men.
And by contagion of the sun we may
Catch at a spark from that primeval fire,
And learn that we are better than our clay,
And equal to the peaks of our desire.
Magnificat meditation for Friday 25th October
all emphasis in boldface is dylan's
We have to ask ourselves, "Am I able to love?" Love is, above all, to give of yourself even when you don't want to, when you are not doing well, or when everything around you tells you to live comfortably and to think only about yourself. True love sacrifices, passes through the cross, and knows how to put aside its own selfishness in order to serve others.
To love is to come out of ourselves, to communicate, to make the journey "from me to others" in a way that needs no gain, in a free and enriching way. Our lack of love is revealed in a thousand ways. ... One way is showing love is to dialogue.
[dylan here : I hate the word "dialogue" as a verb, but I should let it pass for the sake of the excellent point that Sister Elvira here makes.]
In a frenetic world like ours, where we are always busy, it seems like a waste of time to stop and communicate, to share. In reality, dialogue with your wife, with your children, or with your friends enriches you to the measure in which it becomes true communication about yourself. If your life is false, you communicate falsity. If it is lived immersed in God, then you give joy to the others.
This is why it is important to respond to God's call with all of our being. Who are you? Who do you want to be with your real self, face to face with him? There is no true communion with our brothers and sisters, if there is not a real encounter with God in prayer. Prayer makes our lives and our actions real. What we do reveals who we are. A selfish person, a proud one, is an arrogant one; a weak one, or a shallow one is unmasked by how he does things. A careless person, who is dead inside, thinks only of himself, is not attentive to the little things, and doesn't think about those around him ...
Selfishness is defeated with seemingly small daily choices. You have to train yourself to think of those around you, and then you will see that the new mentality of giving brings freshness and a renewed joy to your heart. The gift of life was given to me freely. I welcome being alive, and I want to live by giving of myself. I don't want to be a cadaver! If I am alive, the most important thing that I must [do] and want to do is love. This is the secret to every life and to every vocation.
Mrs vonH of Oblique House has pointed us in the direction of this abominable story.
Is it also time to cut down the trees in the graveyard, for taking up too much space?
As for gravestones having to have remains beneath them, what of victims of terrorism, let us say, or souls lost at sea, whose remains cannot be recovered? Would the lovely judges of the Kansas Supreme Court deny a monument in such an instance?
The judges on the Kansas Supreme Court are lousy hypocrites. They are liars, who lack even the base courage of in-your-face blatancy (cf. the odious bumper-sticker which begins, "If men could get pregnant ...")
This isn't about taking up too much space. At all.
This is about hating the truth, viz., that abortion is infanticide, is murder, "equals death." Ends life. Innocent life. Unpleasant reminders of that fact (fact, fact, fact) must be hidden behind the dulcet intransitive use of the verb "to choose."
Low, creeping cowardice on the Kansas high court.
Who are the spiritual ancestors of these utterly contemptible judges? I'd say those who plotted to kill Lazarus after Christ raised him from the dead (John 12:9-11). Mustn't merely close our eyes against the light, but stop any mention of the word "light," any implication that there is a light larger than our own compromising minds, our own little world of murky grays and misty morality. Our utterly ersatz Freiheit.
Addenda to the foregoing
And please, keep in mind, the following words do not come from someone who is reflexively pacifistic, or thoughtlessly critical of the current administration.
It is probably high time to end our hypocritical rhetoric in terms of the current war against terrorism. "Unlike our enemies, we value freedom! Freedom of religion! Freedom of speech! We believe in ensuring the value and dignity of all human life!" In a rat's patootie, we do.
This is a country where the President's graciously eulogistic words on the death of Senator Wellstone were censored by the PMS (Polluted Main Stream) Media. Guess which sentence some outlets starting clipping from the clip?
"May the Lord bless those who grieve."
I didn't share Mr Riddle's paint-it-black mood until I bumped into this dreadful little story out of Kansas.
by Emily Dickinson
Publication -- is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man --
Poverty -- be justifying
For so foul a thing
Possibly -- but We -- would rather
From Our Garret go
White -- Unto the White Creator --
Than invest -- Our Snow --
Thought belong to Him who gave it --
Then -- to Him Who bear
Its corporeal illustration -- Sell
The Royal Air --
In the Parcel -- Be the Merchant
Of the Heavenly Grace --
But reduce no Human Spirit
To Disgrace of Price --
:: :: :: :: ::
Least Rivers -- docile to some sea.
My Caspian -- thee.
Born 1957 in England. Actor (Wilde, Gosford Park, Peter's Friends), comedian (A Bit of Fry and Laurie), novelist (The Liar, The Hippopotamus), autobiographer (Moab Is My Washpot), homosexual -- but ultimately a genius who transcends any confining category. Or so it seems to me.
Friday, November 01, 2002
at a school reunion; spoonerizing Mabel Tucker
Table Mucker had grown an explosive pair of breasts and a large brood of daughters the eldest of whom looked ready to start production on her own. Mary Hench grinned at me from behind a downy moustache and a fierce girlfriend (clearly boys were still soft in her book) while John Kett himself seemed unchanged from the man whose puzzled eyes had lived with me in silent reproach for twenty-five years.
-- Moab, p. 40
It is common enough, all things being equal, for a father to send his sons to the prep school he attended as a boy himself. My father, however, had been a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral and attended its choir school. My brother and I were unlikely to follow in his footsteps. The sound of Roger and Stephen Fry singing, even before Dame Nature had her impertinent pubic way with us, could cause people to stab themselves in the throat with sharpened pencils, jump from high windows, claw out their own inner ears, electrocute their genitals, put on a Jim Reeves record, throw themselves cackling hysterically into the path of moving buses ... anything, anything to take away the pain. The cathedral choir school of St Paul's with its fussy, outworn emphasis on tunefulness and harmony was never going to be an option.
-- Moab, p. 15
just back from the speech therapist
We moved on from John Masefield's "Cargoes" to Alfred Tennyson's "Blow Bugle Blow" and within a term I was comprehensible to all. Like those foreigners in adventure stories who would come out with Caramba! Zut! and Himmel! when excited, I was still likely to revert to rushing streams of Stephenese at moments of high passion, but essentially I was cured. But something wonderful and new had happened to me, something much more glorious than simply being understood. I had discovered the beauty of speech. Suddenly I had an endless supply of toys : words. Meaningless phatic utterance for its own sake would become my equivalent of a Winnine the Pooh hum, my music. In the holidays I would torment my poor mother for hours in the car by saying over and over again, "My name is Gwendoline Bruce Snetterton. Gwendoline Bruce Snetterton. Snetterton. Snetterton. Snetterton." Ignoring the gender implications of such a name choice, which are not our concern just now, these were the only songs that I could sing. It was the journey from consonant to vowel, the tripping rhythm, the texture that delighted me. As others get tunes on the brain, I get words or phrases on the brain. I will awaken, for example, with the sentence "Hoversmack tender estimate" on my lips. I will say it in the shower, while I wait for the kettle to boil, and as I open the morning post. Sometimes it will be with me all day.
I was immensely put out, incidentally, when a few years later Monty Python used the name Vince Snetterton in one of their sketches. Snetterton is a village in Norfolk, and I felt that they had stolen it from me. From that day forward, Gwendoline Bruce Snetterton ceased to be.
Language was something more than power then, it was more than my only resource in a world of tribal shouts and athleticism and them, the swimmers and singers, it was also a private gem collection, a sweet shop, a treasure chest.
-- from Moab Is My Washpot : An Autobiography (Random House, 1997), p. 89
This is from the October 2002 issue of First Things.
(The following report is submitted by our ubiquitous correspondent George Weigel.)
Outraged commentary quickly followed Bishop Timothy M. Dolan’s June 25 remark that his first priority as the tenth Archbishop of Milwaukee would be to talk with those “meat-and-potato Catholics” who are “the strength of any diocese.” Bishop Dolan, whose fondness for the table is not entirely disguised by clerical black, made the comment at a press conference introducing him to his new archdiocese, where he was to be installed on August 28.
Meeting in emergency session, the executive committee of the Catholic Theological Society of America adopted a resolution condemning Dolan’s “insensitivity to our animal companions” and asserting that vegetarianism was “the more excellent way of Christian nutrition.” The Society noted that it had banned steaks from its banquet menus for decades, substituting tofu salads as “more responsive to the moral demands of sustainable development,” a point argued in the Society’s study of eco-ethics, “People Are the Problem.”
In a signed editorial in the liberal Catholic magazine Commonwealth, editor Margaret McGillicuddy Steinflyte claimed that Bishop Dolan’s statement of priorities was “redolent of the boys’ locker-room ambiance of this pontificate.” A “preferential option for ‘meat-and-potato Catholics,’” Ms. Steinflyte claimed, would “disenfranchise” those hundreds of “brie-and-chardonnay, spirit-of-Vatican II Catholics” who form the core of her magazine’s regular readership. In a separate article in the same issue, Commonwealth columnist Paul Bauhaus suggested that the “extravagant carnality” of “Bishop Dolan’s gustatory imagery” and its “attempt to sacramentalize a body function, eating” was in fact a “sly strategy” for “sneaking John Paul II’s theology of the body” into an archdiocese where it was hitherto unknown—“which has certainly been a blessing for Milwaukee.”
A close student of the American hierarchy, Father Thomas Reach, S.J., told the Washington Post that, while it was customary for a “hefty bishop” to follow a “lean bishop” in Milwaukee, he was concerned that Bishop Dolan’s reference to “meat-and-potato Catholics” would “reinforce Milwaukee’s image as a stolid, bowling-alley town—an image my colleagues at Marquette, a university in the Jesuit tradition, have worked so hard to erase.” Moreover, Fr. Reach noted, to “lay such stress on meat and potatoes” was “pastorally insensitive,” given Milwaukee’s “longstanding commitment to frozen custard as the signature local dish.” “Bishop Dolan’s claim to be a man of tradition is somewhat questionable, given his failure to even mention frozen custard at his inaugural press conference,” said Fr. Reach.
Criticism was also heard from Catholic commentators in the secular press. In a bitter attack on Bishop Dolan, James Careall, the Boston Globe columnist, argued that “meat-and-potatoes Catholicism” is inherently anti-Semitic, “as John Chrysostom made unmistakably clear in his fourth-century sermon on Acts 9:9-16.” Veteran Washington Post columnist Mary McGrouchy wrote in a more elegiac mode. “With John XXIII and the Kennedy White House, we thought, we prayed, that we had put ‘meat-and-potatoes Catholicism’ behind us,” Ms. McGrouchy reminisced. “When will Catholicism in America develop even a surface level of sophistication?”
Maureen Dowdy was in a less gentle mood on the New York Times op-ed page. “Bishop Dolan’s adolescent wisecrack is of a piece with President Bush’s fondness for cowboy boots. When are these guys going to grow up?” Following a pattern established in the first months of 2002 on the Times’ op-ed page, Bill Killerbee took Ms. Dowdy one better, with a biting critique of Dolan’s “slash-and-burn ecclesiastical style, reminiscent of such scoundrels of Catholic history as Torquemada and Pope John Paul II.”
This firestorm of deprecation was challenged by Stanislaw Miesozerny, a cattle and dairy farmer in Dodge County, northwest of Milwaukee. “I think what Bishop Dolan said is great,” Mr. Miesozerny, a 1962 Marquette University philosophy major, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Everyone who studies the Summa understands that beef cattle achieve the ‘final end’ of their existence as New York Strips at the Outback. That’s just good Thomism.”
“Besides,” he continued, “these vegans want us to abstain from all milk products. And you know what that means for Wisconsin. I’m looking forward to Archbishop Dolan endorsing our campaign to change Wisconsin’s license-plate slogan. ‘America’s Dairyland’ is a little lame. My meat-and-potatoes Catholic friends think it ought to be ‘Eat Cheese or Die.’”
I had a chum in bygone days who spent something like a year rendering gratitude to convenience-store cashiers, to waiters and waitresses, and to barmaids, by saying "Thag you very buch," in emulation of Bilbo Baggins, who is seen suffering from the effects of a cold on certain pages of The Hobbit.
to be sung to the tune of Jim Croce's "Operator"
Oh, can you help me write this book?
Got just 30 days to do 200 pages ...
Oh, give this manuscript a look,
Filled with more wisdom than the ancient sages.
Ain't that the way they say it goes?
Well, let's think up a plot,
And get some excitement among my readers;
The characters will do mischievous things and will show ...
I've killed my writer's block;
I've learned to churn out words :
I only wish my book
Would get published and
Would hit the bestselling charts ...
'Cause it's such a work of art.
I might start an autobiography on Veteran's Day, see how much I can get done in three weeks.
Remember, Lord, those who have brought You these gifts, and for whom and through whom and the intentions for which they were offered.
Remember, Lord, those who bear fruit and do good works in Your holy churches, and those who remember the poor. Reward them with Your rich and heavenly gifts. Grant them in return for earthly things, heavenly gifts; for temporal, eternal; for corruptible, incorruptible.
Remember, Lord, those who are in the deserts, on mountains, in caverns, and in the chambers of the earth. Remember, Lord, those living in chastity and godliness, in asceticism and holiness of life.
Remember, Lord, this country and all those in public service whom you have allowed to govern on earth. Grant them profound and lasting peace. Speak to their hearts good things concerning your Church and all your people that through the faithful conduct of their duties we may live peaceful and serene lives in all piety and holiness. Sustain the good in their goodness; make the wicked good through Your goodness.
Remember, Lord, the people here presented and those who are absent with good cause. Have mercy on them and on us according to the multitude of Your mercy. Fill their treasuries with every good thing; preserve their marriages in peace and harmony; nurture the infants; instruct the youth; strengthen the aged; give courage to the faint‑hearted; reunite those separated; bring back those in error and unite them to Your holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Free those who are held captive by unclean spirits; sail with those who sail; travel with those who travel; defend the widows; protect the orphans; liberate the captives; heal the sick.
Remember, Lord, those who are in mines, in exile, in harsh labor, and those in every kind of affliction, necessity, or distress; those who entreat your loving kindness; those who love us and those who hate us; those who have asked us to pray for them, unworthy though we may be.
Remember, Lord our God, all Your people, and pour out Your rich mercy upon them, granting them their petitions for salvation.
Remember, O God, all those whom we have not remembered through ignorance, forgetfulness or because of their multitude since You know the name and age of each, even from their mother's womb. For You, Lord, are the helper of the helpless, the hope of the hopeless, the savior of the afflicted, the haven of the voyager, and the physician of the sick.
Be all things to all, You who know each person, his requests, his household, and his need. Deliver this community and city, O Lord, and every city and town, from famine, plague, earthquake, flood, fire, sword, invasion of foreign enemies, and civil war.
[ :: :: :: ]
Remember, Lord, the presbyters, the diaconate in Christ, and every order of the clergy, and do not confound any of us who stand about Your holy altar. Visit us with Your goodness, Lord; manifest Yourself to us through Your rich compassion. Grant us seasonable weather and fruitful seasons; send gentle showers upon the earth so that it may bear fruit; bless the crown of the year of Your goodness. Prevent schism in the Church; pacify the raging of the heathen. Quickly stop the uprisings of heresies by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Receive us all into Your kingdom.
Declare us to be sons and daughters of the light and of the day. Grant us Your peace and love, Lord our God, for You have given all things to us.
as freedom is a breakfastfood
or truth can live with right and wrong
or molehills are from mountains made
--long enough and just so long
will being pay the rent of seem
and genius please the talentgang
and water most encourage flame
as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald men's hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
--long enough and just so long
will the impure think all things pure
and hornets wail by children stung
or as the seeing are the blind
and robins never welcome spring
nor flatfolk prove their world is round
nor dingsters die at break of dong
and common's rare and millstones float
--long enough and just so long
tomorrow will not be too late
worms are the words but joy's the voice
down shall go which and up come who
breasts will be breasts thighs will be thighs
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
--time is a tree(this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough
OUT of the deep have I called unto thee, O LORD; * Lord, hear my voice.
2 O let thine ears consider well * the voice of my complaint.
3 If thou, LORD, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, * O Lord, who may abide it?
4 For there is mercy with thee; * therefore shalt thou be feared.
5 I look for the LORD; my soul doth wait for him; * in his word is my trust.
6 My soul fleeth unto the Lord before the morning watch; * I say, before the morning watch.
7 O Israel, trust in the LORD; for with the LORD there is mercy, * and with him is plenteous redemption.
8 And he shall redeem Israel * from all his sins.
2308 All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.
However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed." (Gaudium et Spes 79, § 4)
2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time :
-- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
-- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
-- there must be serious prospects of success;
-- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.
The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
Thursday, October 31, 2002
Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae,
visibilium omnium et invisibilium.
Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum,
Filium Dei unigenitum,
et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri:
per quem omnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis.
Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine,
et homo factus est.
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato;
passus et sepultus est,
et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas,
et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris.
Et iterum venturus est cum gloria,
iudicare vivos et mortuos,
cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum,
Dominum et vivificantem:
qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
Qui cum Patre et Filio
simul adoratur et conglorificatur:
qui locutus est per prophetas.
Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.
Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum.
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum,
et vitam venturi saeculi.
Actually, I'm probably saying this for just the first time at this particular blogspot, but :
My favorite comedy of 2001 : Kingdom Come, starring Whoopi Goldberg, LL Cool J, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Cedric the Entertainer. Almost forgot (American treasure) Loretta Devine.
My favorite drama of 2001 : the made-for-cable film Wit, based on a play by Margaret Edson, directed by Mike Nichols, starring (Actress of the Age) Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald, and Christopher Lloyd.
Has anyone else out there seen either of these films?
One man's list of nonleftish pop, rock & country anthems of the last half-century.
Did the estate of Saint Richard of Chichester receive songwriter's royalties for #16? And check out Seals & Crofts (notes to #1)!
Discovered this list via the web-log Anti-Socialist Tendencies, whose blogger admits to having misspelled his own name! (Is it Gerhardt with a G?)
Warning : May induce eumenidic dysphoria & emesis of tetragrammatical invective
-- Boston City Council votes to, uhm, stymie Jesse Jackson. It's never too late!
-- Asked a serious question about the life issues, Shannon makes tattoo jokes.
Russert asked O'Brien to defend her stance that the legal age for abortions without parental consent should be lowered from 18 to 16. He noted there are several things 16-year-olds may not do in Massachusetts without a parent's say-so, including getting a tattoo.
That's when O'Brien, in a stab at being humorous, asked him, ``Would you like to see my tattoo?'' To which Russert replied, ``This is a serious matter.''
A ministering angel shall Tim Russert be ... when others lie howling.
-- And lastly, perhaps most happily, dogs, ponies and bunnies. Something tells me we'd be better off if no one over the age of eight were allowed to vote!
We hold this ceremony in the depth of winter; but by the words we speak, and the faces we show the world, we force the spring.
Spring can't be forced, not even by
the January thaw --
no tulip grows by state decree;
robins obey no law.
The epic in the Homeric/Virgilian sense of the word -- a narrative, a hero -- I think is quite dead. Number of reasons. Something called a novel exists. Why use verse for narrative? Some would claim that heroes don't exist anymore, and if they do, they're having prose biographies written about them.
Moreover, modern poets have not been inclined in the long poem to give us the unified, smoothly-sanded, polished whole. They don't want to give us conventional chronologies. They'll compile; they'll juxtapose -- and in this, the modern poet attempting a work of large scope is a bit like the museum curator giving us several temporally correlated but thematically disparate canvases in the same room, or if you will, an anthologist of sensations and vignettes.
We can look to The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot, or Paterson by W. C. Williams, as examples of the modern epic as anthology of lyrics. Pound's Cantos, at times, read like exploded bibliographies of doctoral theses in 16 different languages!
Two of the so-called "confessional" poets of the middle 20th century, John Berryman and Robert Lowell, wrote long sequences in which the only apparent "unity" was of form and of tone of voice (in Berryman's case, the 18-line dream song -- pentameters with a trimeter every third line; in Lowell's case, the blank-verse "sonnet" -- mostly rhymeless and of flexible scansion -- that he used in Notebook, History, The Dolphin).
Perhaps the tendency is epitomized in Wallace Stevens's "Like Decorations in a N***** Cemetery" or Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction : the first work being a collection of 50 cryptic snapshots, or a long row of curiously shaped and colored pebbles placed side by side; the latter being a series of 18-line lyrics in which the transcendent and the quotidian collide with an elegant and eloquent panache.
But we would also do well to look at the nineteenth century, and ask which American poets have produced lasting epics. Was it Longfellow, with Evangeline or Hiawatha? Melville, with his novel about Ahab and the whale?
A case can be made that the two most durable epics of the American 19th century were produced by Walt Whitman and (yes) Emily Dickinson.
The epic scope of Whitman is obvious : in a way, the poems of Leaves of Grass are America's artistic inaugural address. Stentorian cadences of sweep and sprawl -- his "Song of Myself" perhaps inaugurating the tendency of poets to string together a garland of smaller lyrics to make the long poem.
With Emily Dickinson, we have the epic of baby steps, the inexhaustible anthology of minute particulars, with her oblique, sometimes obscure language amounting almost to an idiolect -- or a dialogue between poet and some unseen angel, in which specificity arrives slanted like the light of winter afternoons through (did they have these in Amherst in Emily's day?) venetian blinds.
The epic of minute particulars, or of medium-sized lyrics united by time and tone, by voice and form, is the only epic possible, I think, in the America of today. Readers and writers have grown up with television and Internet and MTV, and want to be bombarded with sensations and newnesses; the poetry of the day almost inevitably reflects that.
These thoughts are unfinished and inchoate ... but there they are.
Is this death of the epic as traditionally understood, necessarily a bad thing? Here, as I stop for breath, you may comment.
via Bishop Sheen
It's somewhere in Bishop Sheen's Life of Christ. The author wishes to make the point that the apostles found it all too easy to believe that Christ was quite dead, and not about to come back. By contrast, Sheen points to the incident of the caliph Omar who, upon the death of the prophet Muhammad, brandished a sword and pledged to slay anyone who said that the Prophet was dead.
I have this pair of audiocassettes called "Discovering the Inner Kingdom : The Prayer of the Heart" -- lectures given in California by the Orthodox hierarch Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia.
There's something wonderfully energizing about Christianity as presented by certain Orthodox theologians and apologists. Christianity is the great adventure once again!
Also, the charm and good humor and wonderfully resonant voice of the good bishop ... these cassettes will be my remedial listening, and Fr Groeschel my remedial reading.
It was eleven years ago last week that I came back to the Church.
I keep thinking of the parable of the man who ejects a devil from his house, gets the interior all spruced up, then goes away and leaves his demesne unguarded ... and seven devils worse than the first come back and have a party. Am wondering if I wasn't actually somehow better off during the eight years of truancy from the ecclesia.
This tenebrous layman isn't especially aware of the beauty of God. The God as presented to one doesn't often appear lovable or worth serving in any way. And as for the Johannine epistle which reads, "How can you claim to love the God whom you haven't seen if you do not love your brothers whom you have seen?" -- well, I almost mistyped brothers as bothers.
It's difficult to evade the conclusion that I'm basically your unreconstructed, unregenerate misanthrope who likes churches and liturgy, and who possesses more than a dram of ungodly pride at belonging to the "right" ecclesial party. It's less a sensation of joy in the riches of Catholic tradition than a shrugging faute-de-mieux-ish "What else is there?"
"Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." The verse from Ephesians 5 comes back to one periodically as having especial potency and cogency for my particular "case."
I've read this book about eight or nine times, but not recently.
It begins with a full look at the worst : the tale of a woman whose life was devastated by violence and drugs in East Harlem; and, for the nature-worshippers out there, a detailed description of the after-effects of the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens. Fr Groeschel establishes from the git-go that on the face of it, we're living in a pretty horrible world. He says, in New York, even the atheists believe in original sin. There's something drastically wrong with us.
Maybe -- and for inattentive, hasty, careless readers, I'll repeat and accentuate that maybe -- I'll describe my (re)reading of this book as I go along, with perhaps -- perhaps -- a précis of each chapter. But the mind's energy has reached its ebb in recent days ...
So I'll content myself with saying : Tolle; legge ! Go, at once; find the book; pick up, and read.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
As for the top half, about the Wellstone memorial-cum-beer-hall-putsch in which the classy Tolerant People booed Trent Lott, etc. ... it seems that Governor Ventura was so offended by the atmosphere that he (1) walked out; (2) pledged not to appoint a Democrat but an independent as the interim replacement for the late senator.
And here is more on the gathering of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Minnesota.
The Democratic candidate for governor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is leading in the polls. Pro-death for kids, pro-life for serial killers, and of course "Catholic" -- but all that doesn't begin to explain why I find this gal so exceptionally (to use Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate's word about her rhetoric) unbecoming.
Yes, it's Three Cheers for the Lefties Day at Tenebrae, in case you haven't noticed!
by the headline to this bit o' blogging.
He complains, does he? It's akin to saying : Birds fly; fish swim; beavers build dams; bees sting; mice scamper.
Not too long ago, the Complainer was wondering aloud with one of his NRO chums -- in between tasteful jokes about the Luminous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary -- as to which Star Trek character would be most papabile.
Now, he's saying that the Pope is a clericalist with contempt for the laity. But no, not active contempt; let him explain, he means functional contempt, subconscious contempt, and though he doesn't like having to say it, he nonetheless is compelled to say it, and wants desperately to be wrong, but is oh, so convinced that he's right. But as always, he's being accused of saying things he never said, and life is terribly unfair.
Here's a club quiz : Which Shakespearean character does the Complainer most resemble?
It's clear that he imagines himself to be something like Cordelia or Kent in King Lear. Another dramatis persona from that play comes to mind, but let's hear your thoughts.
or, What do you find at the bottom of a chicken coop?
Mrs vonHuben at Oblique House gives us Random Thoughts on the politically flavored obsequies for Senator Paul Wellstone. (This direct link a bit quirky; go to main page instead.)
What dylan thinks : The disinvitation of Vice President Cheney by the surviving family strikes me as a no-class move. It bears repeating : A no-class move.
But we're speaking of a senator who began his career by snubbing his own state's senior US senator. It is customary for the state's other senator to swear in a newly elected member to the upper chamber of Congress. In January 1991, that senator was the assiduously moderate Republican David Durenburger.
Well, the newly-minted Senator Wellstone, once described by George Will as "an exuberant liberal," was having a fit of ... uhm, exuberance? ... at the thought of someone from the Evil Party swearing him in, so he insisted that former Vice President Walter F. Mondale swear him in instead.
Bush Elder, then president, couldn't conceal his exasperation, and wondered aloud, "Who is this [charming young fellow]?" The president's actual words were sufficiently vernacular to amaze me when John McLaughlin quoted him exactly.
I'll stop here. But as long as the Democrats are (I am shocked, shocked ...) playing politics with their pep rally, this blogger sees fit to opine that he is hoping and praying for a Norm Coleman victory six days hence.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
... a comment I made just now, chez Flos Carmeli, on the modern "epic"
I might blog something about fragmentation and modern "epics" : the tendency which became most notable with Eliot's The Waste Land -- and upon close re-reading, we see passages of beauty and great technical accomplishment! --perhaps began with our rambunctious buddy Walt Whitman and "Song of Myself" (where, praise God, he does write about many things other than himself!).
In a way, the modern epic, or concatenation of lyrics, is very much like a blog. Or very like a whale. (Sorry.) Think Paterson, & so many others.
Perhaps these thoughts will be enlarged, & expanded upon, on the morrow. Comments are invited in the meantime. This is proably "good night," but (unusually for me, at this hour) the mind teems & I'm moderately awake.
from "The Swan" by Theodore Roethke
My darling does what I could never do :
She sighs me white, a Socrates of snow.
:: :: ::
I am my father's son, I am John Donne
Whenever I see her with nothing on.
:: :: ::
and a triplet
from "I Knew a Woman," same poet
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).
:: :: ::
What I cherish about these lines, among other things, is that they give the effect of exclamation without resorting to exclamation points!
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
You foolish heart. Of old and broken things I can make beauty unsurpassed. Behold yourself. Do you not know the answers to your whys and whats and whos?
I cloak you with the night to stand and wait for me. I throw you in the dust of a thousand roads to lift you up to me. I give you tears that men call rain to wash you clean. I send storms of passion to wake you. The stars I made to clothe your nakedness and make you fair.
You wait for me, your God, for I can take all those I wish and make them fair beyond all men's dreams and desires.
Yes, foolish heart, I am the Lord your God and I desire with a desire that consumes me to make you mine.
For this, I, the uncreated, became a man. For this I died against an angry sky. For this, I conquered death ... to make you mine.
I am a jealous God, oh foolish heart, remember that. I want you for myself alone; that is why I use the night, to bring about our union. For I shall use you as I will to do my will. Yours is but to love and obey.
You shall be my instrument of love, for you and I shall fight for the souls of men, against Satan, the angel of all sin. I yield to him only those who are the truly dead; none others.
So, foolish heart, behold your tremendous lover and go wherever I shall wish, to fight my battles. With all my goods I you endow. Go forth now. I shall come to you at my good pleasure.
There is no night nor day for you. All are one and all are mine until I shall be yours forever.
-- Servant of God Catherine de Hueck Doherty
to name just a few
1. The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke
2. Collected Poems, W. H. Auden
3. Three Prayers : The Lord's Prayer, O Heavenly King, The Prayer of St Ephrem by Olivier Clément (SVS Press, 2000).
4. A Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers
5. The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware
HEAR my crying, O God, * give ear unto my prayer.
2 From the ends of the earth will I call upon thee, * when my heart is in heaviness.
3 O set me up upon the rock that is higher than I; * for thou hast been my hope, and a strong tower for me against the enemy.
4 I will dwell in thy tabernacle for ever, * and my trust shall be under the covering of thy wings.
5 For thou, O Lord, hast heard my desires, * and hast given an heritage unto those that fear thy Name.
6 Thou shalt grant the King a long life, * that his years may endure throughout all generations.
7 He shall dwell before God for ever: * O prepare thy loving mercy and faithfulness, that they may preserve him.
8 So will I alway sing praise unto thy Name, * that I may daily perform my vows.
found at Ono's Thoughts.
1. Eastern Orthodox (100%)
2. Roman Catholic (100%)
3. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (87%)
4. Orthodox Quaker (79%)
5. Seventh Day Adventist (78%)
6. Orthodox Judaism (60%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (60%)
8. Islam (57%)
9. Hinduism (52%)
10. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (51%)
11. Jehovah's Witness (46%)
12. Sikhism (42%)
13. Liberal Quakers (34%)
14. Bahá'í Faith (33%)
15. Reform Judaism (30%)
16. Jainism (25%)
17. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (24%)
18. Theravada Buddhism (21%)
19. Mahayana Buddhism (21%)
20. Unitarian Universalism (21%)
21. New Thought (17%)
22. Scientology (16%)
23. Nontheist (12%)
24. Neo-Pagan (6%)
25. New Age (5%)
26. Taoism (4%)
27. Secular Humanism (2%)
From the Library of World Poetry, intro. W. C. Bryant (orig. publ. 1871, republished 1987 by Chatham River Press), p. 43. Can't recommend the anthology -- often found in chain bookstores alongside One Hundred and One Favorite American Poets and other anthologies where Whitman is represented by "O Captain, My Captain" and where Wilfred Owen would be considered too modern -- too much in it that is dated and feeble, but this poem continues to surprise with each reading.
Once looked for the original. found an eight-line poem among Michelangelo's works that is very like the octave of this sonnet. I think the translator (J. E. Taylor [?? -- fameless enough to be anonymous]) might have added the sestet.
The might of one fair face sublimes my love,
For it hath weaned my heart from low desires;
Nor death I heed, nor purgatorial fires.
Thy beauty, antepast of joys above,
Instructs me in the bliss that saints approve;
For O, how good, how beautiful must be
The God that made so good a thing as thee,
So fair an image of the heavenly Dove!
Forgive me if I cannot turn away
From those sweet eyes that are my earthly heaven,
For they are guiding stars, benignly given
To tempt my footsteps to the upward way;
And if I dwell too fondly in thy sight,
I live and love in God's peculiar light.
A few years ago, I did consider legally adding these middle names, in this order : Ceolnoth, Aelfric, Wulfred, Odo, Dunstan, Ephraem, Becket, Augustine. With the exception of Ephraem, all pre-Cranmerite Archbishops of Canterbury.
At Catholic and Enjoying It!, Mr. Shea has been asking his readers for stories of the supernatural. Here's mine, and it's possibly part one of two.
On the 1st of June 1984, a fortnight & change before my 15th birthday, I had a near-death experience -- brought on by a wrongful use of my human freedom.
[...] I was brought (like an invisible man being moved through a tunnel on a slow conveyor belt) to the thanatic brink, and was given a choice : the nonparadisal realm of smoky and unpersoned insubstantiality -- a "purple haze" -- that would have been my eternal fate had I died at that moment, or going back to this dreary old world with its sharp edges and hard knocks, with its slings and arrows and emotionally vulnerant atmosphere, with its good people and bad people, and its innumerable nuisances, with its frequent vexations and its sporadic graces.
I wasn't "asked" in so many words, but the choice was mine, definitely although wordlessly given to me; and I chose to come back.
I am convinced of a few things on account of this experience : (1) there is a God; (2) there is a sector of the afterlife that ain't heaven and which looks to be a state of permanent estrangement from grace (alias, "hell"); (3) God is merciful to fools, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen said once, or perhaps twice.
There was another instance, a bit happier than this, of an encounter that can't be explained by anything natural or scientific or prosaic, but that's something about which reticence forbids one to speak.
Monday, October 28, 2002
(In Memory of my [the poet's] Father.)
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82)
And did'st thou know indeed, when at the font
Together with thy name thou gav'st me his,
That also on thy son must Beatrice
Decline her eyes according to her wont,
Accepting me to be of those that haunt
The vale of magical dark mysteries
Where to the hills her poet's foot-track lies
And wisdom's living fountain to his chaunt
Trembles in music? This is that steep land
Where he that holds his journey stands at gaze
Tow'rd sunset, when the clouds like a new height
Seem piled to climb. These things I understand :
For here, where day still soothes my lifted face,
On thy bowed head, my father, fell the night.
I have a hardcover book called The Complete Poetical Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Boston : Little, Brown and Company, 1917). And was startled this morning to discover that the poem above, with "Tenebrae" in its title, is on the page opposite the one that bears "On the 'Vita Nuova' of Dante."
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
More matter, with less art.
Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
from his Selected Letters; hard to find, easy to lose, quoted from memory
-- we need a Complete Letters of EEC
there once was a cuntry of owe
such lofty ideals that no
man ever could mension
(imagine the tention)
what might have offended jane dough
Eve Tushnet wonders aloud about the definition of "camp."
Grab from a bookshelf Stephen Fry's autobiography Moab Is My Washpot and turn to p. 136, for the most exhaustive and accurate definition that this observer has e'er encountered.
Isn't "camp" something akin to effervescently cheerful sarcasm, highly intelligent and more than a little androgynous? To quote one element of Fry's definition, There's no camp in rugby.
Do check out Eve's google-searches, too; that is, the google-searches that brought folks to her site.
And -- how did I miss this before? -- this Way Cool Bernard Shaw Quotation About Papal Infallibility.
Sunday, October 27, 2002
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants
MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees
MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
You'll still be the one
I will take my life into my hands and I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes and I will lose it
I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers through the sky
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
I'll be thinking of you
And wondering why
MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
I believe in One God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-Begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.
And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day, He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father; Who with the Father and Son together is worshiped and glorified; Who spoke by the prophets.
In one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
The careful reader will note two things. One, that this is the Orthodox symbol of faith, lacking as it does the filioque, and coming as it does from the goarch website.
Two, that it lacks three other words recently added to the Roman Catholic translation of the Nicene Creed : the power of. As in, "by the power of the Holy Spirit."
The Latin version of the creed reads, if memory serves, Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine.
Leaving to the side, for a moment, whether "born" is an adequate translation for "incarnatus" (and whether the translation "born" seems to imply that one has not become "incarnate" until nine months after conception), where does the "power" come from in current Catholic translations?
A daily Catholic missal of 1948 reads : and was made flesh, by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary.
"The power of" even appears in the Professio Fidei to which the well-intentioned blogger at Rerum Novarum is encouraging a public adherence. Well-intentioned because apparently the blogger's profession is intended as a rebuke to the so-called "rad-trads," or radical traditionalists, who cannot bring themselves to make public submission to any Pontiff who reigned during their lifetime.
Is "the power of" one of those ICELisms that will disappear when sager souls than those who have given us The New American Bible are in positions of salutary influence?
It's something we think about from time to time.
to see that this second web-log of mine, much quirkier & with more stumbles than the first, with its eruptions of vehemence that are far from grace-filled, with what often seems to its own author a malapert mixture of the sacred and the profane, the hopeful and the frustrated, the sober and the goofy, the wrathful and the irenic ... is getting its share of largely benevolent attention.
I don't yet have a site meter, and probably won't get one, but I am truly gladdened to see that this "broken music" -- cacophonous, euphonious; elate, deflated; triumphant, dejected; bewildered, petulant; poetic, prosaic; monk-and-disorderly -- has made its way onto the oft-visited lists of a few bloggers I am only now discovering. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
A difficult start to the month of October, for a variety of reasons (not the least of which was the torrid temperature of 86° F., 30° C. on the 2nd). And some of those difficulties continue -- and signs might appear here from time to time -- but are lesser in intensity.
If you like what you see here, or even if (especially if?) you have cause to lament the blogger's "plentiful lack of wit," send a kind thought heavenward on my behalf.
God bless you, and as the venerable Archbishop Sheen would say, God love you!
O GOD, thou art my God; * early will I seek thee.
2 My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh also longeth after thee, * in a barren and dry land where no water is.
3 Thus have I looked for thee in the sanctuary, * that I might behold thy power and glory.
4 For thy loving-kindness is better than the life itself: * my lips shall praise thee.
5 As long as I live will I magnify thee in this manner, * and lift up my hands in thy Name.
6 My soul shall be satisfied, even as it were with marrow and fatness, * when my mouth praiseth thee with joyful lips.
7 Have I not remembered thee in my bed, * and thought upon thee when I was waking?
8 Because thou hast been my helper; * therefore under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
9 My soul hangeth upon thee; * thy right hand hath upholden me.
10 These also that seek the hurt of my soul, * they shall go under the earth.
11 Let them fall upon the edge of the sword, * that they may be a portion for foxes.
12 But the King shall rejoice in God; all they also that swear by him shall be commended; * for the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
Saturday, October 26, 2002
by Dylan Thomas
27 October 1914 - 9 November 1953
In the mustardseed sun,
By full tilt river and switchback sea
Where the cormorants scud,
In his house on stilts high among beaks
And palavers of birds
This sandgrain day in the bent bay's grave
He celebrates and spurns
His driftwood thirty-fifth wind-turned age;
Herons spire and spear.
Under and round him go
Flounders, gulls, on their cold, dying trails,
Doing what they are told,
Curlews aloud in the congered waves
Work at their ways to death,
And the rhymer in the long-tongued room,
Who tolls his birthday bell,
Toils toward the ambush of his wounds;
Herons, steeple stemmed, bless.
In the thistledown fall,
He sings toward anguish; finches fly
In the claw tracks of hawks
On a seizing sky; small fishes glide
Through wynds and shells of drowned
Ship towns to pastures of otters. He
In his slant, racking house
And the hewn coils of his trade perceives
Herons walk in their shroud,
The livelong river's robe
Of minnows wreathing around their prayer;
And far at sea he knows,
Who slaves to his crouched, eternal end
Under a serpent cloud,
Dolphins dive in their turnturtle dust,
The rippled seals streak down
To kill and their own tide daubing blood
Slides good in the sleek mouth
In a cavernous, swung
Wave's silence, wept white angelus knells.
Thirty-five bells sing struck
On skull and scar where his loves lie wrecked,
Steered by the falling stars.
And to-morrow weeps in a blind cage
Terror will rage apart
Before chains break to a hammer flame
And love unbolts the dark
And freely he goes lost
In the unknown, famous light of great
And fabulous, dear God.
Dark is a way and light is a place,
Heaven that never was
Nor will be ever is always true,
And in that brambled void,
Plenty as blackberries in the woods
The dead grow for His joy.
There he might wander bare
With the spirits of the horseshoe bay
Or the stars' seashore dead,
Marrow of eagles, the roots of whales
And wishbones of wild geese,
With blessed, unborn God and His Ghost,
And every soul His priest,
Gulled and chanter in young Heaven's fold
Be at cloud quaking peace,
But dark is a long way.
He, on the earth of the night, alone
With all the living, prays,
Who knows the rocketing wind will blow
The bones out of the hills,
And the scythed boulders bleed, and the last
Rage shattered waters kick
Masts and fishes to the still quick stars,
Faithlessly unto Him
Who is the light of old
And air shaped Heaven where souls grow wild
As horses in the foam:
Oh, let me midlife mourn by the shrined
And druid herons' vows
The voyage to ruin I must run,
Dawn ships clouted aground,
Yet, though I cry with tumbledown tongue,
Count my blessings aloud:
Four elements and five
Senses, and man a spirit in love
Tangling through this spun slime
To his nimbus bell cool kingdom come
And the lost moonshine domes,
And the sea that hides his secret selves
Deep in its black, base bones,
Lulling of spheres in the seashell flesh,
And this last blessing most,
That the closer I move
To death, one man through his sundered hulks,
The louder the sun blooms
And the tusked, ramshackling sea exults;
And every wave of the way
And gale I tackle, the whole world then,
With more triumphant faith
Than ever was since the world was said,
Spins its morning of praise,
I hear the bouncing hills
Grow larked and greener at berry brown
Fall and the dew larks sing
Taller this thunderclap spring, and how
More spanned with angels ride
The mansouled fiery islands! Oh,
Holier then their eyes,
And my shining men no more alone
As I sail out to die.
by Sylvia Plath
27 October 1932 - 11 February 1963
From Water-Tower Hill to the brick prison
The shingle booms, bickering under
The sea's collapse.
Snowcakes break and welter. This year
The gritted wave leaps
The seawall and drops onto a bier
Of quahog chips,
Leaving a salty mash of ice to whiten
In my grandmother's sand yard. She is dead,
Whose laundry snapped and froze here, who
Kept house against
What the sluttish, rutted sea could do.
Squall waves once danced
Ship timbers in through the cellar window;
A thresh-tailed, lanced
Shark littered in the geranium bed --
Such collusion of mulish elements
She wore her broom straws to the nub.
Twenty years out
Of her hand, the house still hugs in each drab
The purple egg-stones: from Great Head's knob
To the filled-in Gut
The sea in its cold gizzard ground those rounds.
Nobody wintering now behind
The planked-up windows where she set
Her wheat loaves
And apple cakes to cool. What is it
So, battered, obstinate spit
Of gravel? The waves'
Spewed relics clicker masses in the wind,
Grey waves the stub-necked eiders ride.
A labor of love, and that labor lost.
Steadily the sea
Eats at Point Shirley. She died blessed,
And I come by
Bones, only bones, pawed and tossed,
A dog-faced sea.
The sun sinks under Boston, bloody red.
I would get from these dry-papped stones
The milk your love instilled in them.
The black ducks dive.
And though your graciousness might stream,
And I contrive,
Grandmother, stones are nothing of home
To that spumiest dove.
Against both bar and tower the black sea runs.
If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh : 'Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!'
Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
-- Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan. ...
Those purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.
-- Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Prettiness is not beauty. Prettiness is fine; it entices, it makes one smile, or even sigh pensively. Beauty overwhelms, it is terrible, terrific, scary, dangerous. Sometimes beauty is unbearably bleak, painfully sombre, heart-rendingly sad. But one wouldn't dare to describe as merely pretty those things which are beautiful.
I've probably said this elsewhere. So I repeat myself, and apologies for so doing.
When you look at a chair, it has a clear purpose : to be sat on. A spoon is for eating soup. Much of the time, when I consider what happens to us, it seems that the purpose of life is to suffer in agony and die.
This quotation serves as the epigraph to the second section of Donald Hall's most recent book of poems, The Painted Bed (Houghton Mifflin, 2002, p. 19).
William Trout is, if memory serves, an invention of Hall's, a fictional poet who made his first appearance in The Museum of Clear Ideas.