Saturday, April 26, 2003

Possibly upcoming

More Wallace Stevens. I am the spouse, divested of bright gold.

(See! There's more Wallace Stevens.)
Oh, if only !!
via Kathy the Carmelite

You are Pope John Paul II. You are a force to be
reckoned with.

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I'm probably more Montini than Wojtyla. But I think I know which two answers tipped me in favor of JP2.
Zorak's brilliant idea !!
given to us on Shakespeare Eve

Morrissey should cut a version of the Stones' "Mother's Little Helper."

A wee bit easier to imagine than Mick & the lads doing a remake of "The Last of the Famous International Playboys."
Alphabetizing the books

on several shelves. I shall return!

Friday, April 25, 2003

Three-word combinations
an exercise if you're mad crazy bored

Give me some interesting three-word phrases, that is to say : lines composed of three-word phrases, sentences, or sentence-fragments in the comment-box. Assuming the comment-box is working!

They can be :
Three odd words,
Three strange words,
Three plain words,
Nice, neat words --
Velvet and soft,
Or, loud, brash,
Sharp and shrieky.

They can be
Parcels of nonsense.

Closed bottle hatch.
Cringe from disaster.
Plate variety collapse.
Fragments of rubble.

Collage yesternight perplexity.
Deep dopes abashed.
the Rat

The Washington Post's Lloyd Grove reports that an error crept into the closed-captioning of Tuesday's "World News Tonight" on ABC. According to the wayward caption, Alan Greenspan was "in the hospital for an enlarged prostitute." Greenspan's wife, Andrea Mitchell, tells Grove: "He should be so lucky."
Senator Santorum

On target, of course. And now, in target.

We're dealing with a cautious, judicious gentleman of indubitable intellectual ability. He was addressing his remarks to a specific law that would make consensual sex between any two adults legal throughout the land.

His critics, when they're not being obnoxious, are being baldly mendacious. They can shut up.

And hypocritical. Most of the gay folks we've been hearing from have been appalled by an alleged comparison of homosexuality to incest, one which never occurred -- but let that go. Why is it so disgraceful to have one's activities compared to those of incestuous persons?

-- Well, uhm, you see, because incest is wrong.

-- Wrong? You mean, as in illegal? As in, "it is the majoritarian view that incest is deeply unsavoury and not a good thing"?

-- No, silly, wrong, as in, well, uhm, if you press us to say so, as in morally wrong. Self-evidently, obviously wrong.

-- Morally? Really? Well, aren't you the folks who tell us all the time we can't legislate morality? By what criterion, therefore, do you say that incest is morally wrong?

-- Oh, come on ...

-- By what criterion do you say that incest is morally wrong?

-- Shut up. Go away!

And the foregoing, dear friends, is the tenor of our quotidian talk-show debates on morality. Except the progressives oft manage to stay calmer than the traditionalists, and can often win "the beauty contest" in the media.

Addendum : Andrew Sullivan on this matter, being calm, restrained, poised, unalarmist, temperate, measured, and not for a million years generating more heat than light : No war is worth fighting if our political leaders feel contempt for basic liberties at home.
On the Ampersand

Ampersand, thou bleak exuberance!
Proper scrupulosity, pert knot
Saucily conjoining burly terms,
Like piston & flange, like fish & chips :
Something of thy mopey joie de vivre
Starts to penetrate our foolish hearts,
Insolent & modest, brash & sly.
Bacchanalian austerities
Come a dime a dozen; thou art rare,
Both bawdy & chaste, both fierce & mild.
Is it so strange that we've been in thrall
To thy rigid brand of fecklessness,
Thy premeditated nonchalance
And thy chuckleheaded savoir faire?
O thou loutish chum, crestfallen clown,
Give me all thy dubious certitude,
All thy solemn slapstick, tristful mirth!
Sage & silly arbiter of bliss,
Dolorous ecstatic ampersand.

And probably

nothing this morning either. Except this little post saying there'll be nothing this morning.

Thought of posting about Alan Arkin, how little his roles have changed over the years. In 1967's Wait Until Dark, he played a demented fiend, a truly evil character terrorizing the innocent. In the A&E series "100 Centre Street" in 2001, he played a liberal judge. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose?

Also : This blog is Garrigou-Lagrange-free! No theologians were harmed during the making of this blog.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Am more tired

than words can convey. And there is a bit of tedium ahead tomorrow, which should, please God, be over by noon. Am bushed, depleted, épuisé ... which means that I don't plan to post anything tonight ...

Which means that since I've announced that I won't post, I probably will post six or seven things before compline.

But actually, no.
Identity of nihil obstat revealed?
I may have second thoughts about keeping this one posted ...

Respect the comma!

Warning : Naughty language.
Queen of the USA?
A small "royalist party" names a candidate

Behold! Princess Madeleine of Sweden. Via Ad Orientem.

I wish life could be
Swedish royalty ...
I wish life could be
Swedish royalty ...
Wallace Stevens

How long and late the pheasant sleeps ...
The employer and employee contend,

Combat, compose their dull affair,
The bubbling sun will bubble up,

Spring sparkle and the cock-bird shriek.
The employer and employee will hear

And continue their affair. The shriek
Will rack the thickets. There is no place,

Here, for the lark fixed in the mind,
In the museum of the sky. The cock

Will claw sleep. Morning is not sun,
It is this posture of the nerves,

As if a blunted player clutched
The nuances of the blue guitar.

It must be this rhapsody or none,
The rhapsody of things as they are.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Thomas Merton, OCSO
from the journals, vol. 6, Learning to Love : Exploring Solitude and Freedom (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997)

[p. 184, January 10, 1967]

Cold. Grass in the dark slippery with hard frost. I went out into the latest dark (before dawn) to see my big bad friend Scorpio -- rising -- and there he was. First time I have seen him up there -- all the way to Antares and beyond -- this year. I have not been starwatching much lately.


[p. 188, January 24, 1967]

Last night -- moon almost full, behind scudding clouds. I walked in the warm dark wind. Lonely again for M. and troubled and wanting to write to her, wanting to hear from her, wanting to see her.


[p. 192, February 4, 1967]

Stay moderately informed -- and go on quietly doing my own job. People need me to be a contemplative and not a newspaper man.
Seamus Heaney
"Feeling into Words," from Preoccupations : Selected Prose (FSG, 1980)

[p. 52]

A poem always has elements of accident about it, which can be made the subject of inquest afterwards, but there is always a risk in conducting your own inquest : you might begin to believe the coroner in yourself rather that put your trust in the man in you who is capable of the accident.


[p. 54]

Yet in practice, you proceed by your own experience of what it is to write what you consider a successful poem. You survive in your own esteem not by the corroboration of theory but by the trust in certain moments of satisfaction which you know intuitively to be moments of extension. You are confirmed by the visitation of the last poem and threatened by the elusiveness of the next one, and the best moments are those when your mind seems to implode and words and images rush of their own accord into the vortex.
St Patrick becomes a Pharaoh?

Without my tinkering! What happened?

Oops! Now he's become something else ... with my tinkering !!
from King Lear, III, ii, 1-9

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike* flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s moulds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!

*Also given as Smite by other sources.
Sonnet 116
by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

LET me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love ’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
    I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
from Hamlet, II, ii, 92-111

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.
Romeo and Juliet, II, iii, 1-30

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And fleckèd darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels:
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juicèd flowers.
The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb;
What is her burying grave that is her womb,
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometime 's by action dignified.
      [Enter Romeo.]
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power:
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposèd kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs -- grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Mishaps & Malaprops was the blocky blue blog. It was born in June, when the pollen count was high. It had an entry every other day, for much less than a month.

I wonder if I should bring it back, the blocky blue blog of a bygone June, with its malapertinence, like a misanthrope's concerto in the muggy sunrise, a sentimentalist's lilac among the triple-deckers, a whispered beginning to a chanson by Fauré in a land of harsh and strident English where terminal r's are routinely dropped.

We recorded : Structures of the tentative. Policies of the less than eager. Awkward fluency of the veteran fledglings. Mishaps and malaprops.

The radio speaks a pleasant jazz. It is 8:52, no, 8:53 of an April night as I think of yesteryear and its diminished splendors, its happy pastimes and its bright tristesse.
Am grateful

to John Derbyshire for reminding me of what I know : that decent character trumps good grammar, that the Left (not the Right) is the party of snobbery, that Garry Trudeau is a bore, that the president need not be a baccalaureate in a whole abecedarian list of ologies to execute his duties with ability, that Christians are people, too, even if they disdain the theory of evolution. Via O'Rama and at least one other blog.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Oddly, what I was hoping for!!
via Gregg the Obscure

I'm not as cool as Rick, as brave as Victor, as pretty as Ilsa ...

I chose not to copy the picture.

You are Captain Renault. "How extravagant of
you, throwing away women like that. Someday
they may be scarce."

Which Casablanca character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Encouragement from the Psalter

From Psalm 107. Confitemini Domino.

O GIVE thanks unto the LORD, for he is gracious, * and his mercy endureth for ever.

9 For he satisfieth the empty soul, * and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

14 For he brought them out of darkness, and out of the shadow of death, * and brake their bonds in sunder.

20 He sent his word, and healed them; * and they were saved from their destruction.

29 For he maketh the storm to cease, * so that the waves thereof are still.

30 Then are they glad, because they are at rest; * and so he bringeth them unto the haven where they would be.

35 Again, he maketh the wilderness a standing water, * and water-springs of a dry ground.

36 And there he setteth the hungry, * that they may build them a city to dwell in;

37 That they may sow their land, and plant vineyards, * to yield them fruits of increase.

39 And again, when they are minished and brought low * through oppression, through any plague or trouble;

41 Yet helpeth he the poor out of misery, * and maketh him households like a flock of sheep.

43 Whoso is wise, will ponder these things; * and they shall understand the loving-kindness of the LORD.
Well I wonder

Graffito I saw recently, in neatly stencilled letters, on one of the rougher blocks of Newton Street. I'll replace the classic ineffable f-word with "flip" :

love, Tawhid

Well! Thank you for sharing! Have a nice day!
An Ars Poetica in Prose

The good poetry gets written when nobody's looking except a few close and trusted friends, alias angels, who urge all manner of antics, including revision -- including but not limited to : pentameter, ballad meter, surrealism, paradox, assonance, slang, archaism, dramatic monologues of drunken uncles, slant rhyme, sight rhyme, dactyls and spondees. Learn them all by the time you're sixteen and keep using them till you're a hundred and sixteen. Build up what works and take down what doesn't. What works? You decide. And don't be afraid to read things, lyrics and epics, epigrams and sonnets, dithyrambs and disasters, old and good, new and magnificent, middle-aged and dreadful, recently engendered and bewilderingly strange. The experimental, or the just plain mental. The ones who count syllables and the ones who don't. The ones who make sense and the ones who don't. The immediate, the plain, the expansive, the cramped, the dark, the intransigent. Easy and obscure. Fluent and recalcitrant. Difficult and lucid. Slow and steady. Don't fret about originality, because no one is original. It all comes from somewhere. From the three-way intersection of heaven and earth and your own mindsoul; from the quirks of the heart of the language itself. Live with one eye on back when and the other on eventually. Transfigure both past and future into now.

Urban Pastoral

And summer beckons, hectic streams of bliss :

Austere aesthetes, forsake your shelvish delvings.

Sun-glare and life-thrust, bees and fire-flowers,

Asphalt earth practices its warp and shimmer --

Language captures its prey, its lively prize :

Dangerous promise of her fierce black eyes.


Monday, April 21, 2003

Notable quotation

In approaching these words I have employed both poetic license, and what I hope is a fair and honorable sense of play. I am well aware that I am at play in a minefield.

Kathleen Norris, from the preface to Amazing Grace : A Vocabulary of Faith (Riverhead Books, 1998), p. 3.
Reverent or trendy?
This observer says, the former

At another weblog, this cross from the Holy Name Cathedral of Chicago was proposed as a malapert example of a "Resurrection Crucifix." I disagree with the implied dispraise. I find it quite moving -- our Lord's agonies are not absent from the shape of the wood; this is not an effortless Resurrection, not a case of "he fell asleep and woke up, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed." I find the sculpture to be muscular, to be sinewed; it is as if the Christ is bursting through stone! This is a crucifix of force and of spiritual potency, I believe.

To those who would argue that our Lord's agonies should not be implicit, but explicit, I say : Consider the cross of San Damiano. Was it engendered by a deficit of reverence?

Some "resurrection crosses" are trite; the other weblog does provide examples which do not succeed in inspiring the observer. But I am not inclined to pass by the cross above with a quick, snippy quip; I am inclined to linger.

I've been somewhat over-emphatic, I fear. What are your opinions?
Catherine de Hueck Doherty

I realize more and more as I travel, as I keep vigil, as I pray, that what the world needs is not more projects, more apostolic works, more works of mercy, more social works, more community development programs. What it needs most today is communities of love, little islands flung everywhere by the hand of God so that men may, like St Thomas, touch the wounds love always makes.

From I Live On an Island (Ave Maria Press, 1979), p. 27.
via Gregg the Obscure

Arial - You're pretty normal. That's certainly not
a bad thing, as a lot of people like you.

What Font Are You? (Standard Fonts)
brought to you by Quizilla
A scary moment
Thank God it wasn't worse

Wheelchair racer collides with girl who runs onto course. No serious injuries.
Cheruiyot's afire! My, my, my Zakharova!

Winners of the 2003 Boston Marathon : Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya & Svetlana Zakharova of Russia.

Or at least that's how the newspapers will report it. This is truly an event where the winners are everyone who finished, and even some who didn't but gave it their best shot.

Sorry if that seems silly. What's perhaps even siller : I cry over the marathon. It's awesome and inspiring and incredible.
Fred Reed

gives a mildly provocative (not dangerously provocative, despite his subtitle), sane, modest proposal about education -- and he reasons against those who say that we need not learn certain things. The rambunctiousness here gives way to an elegance of logic that we (I) find appealing.

Actually, his provocative idea is : should we resegregate public schools, along the lines of "schools interested in teaching the liberal arts, algebra, science, civilization" and "schools for those who really don't want to learn all that much other than the basics we need to survive"? He exhorts whoever's listening : Don't enstupidate the schools to which I send my daughters.

Death be not proud

John Donne

Death be not proud, though some have callèd thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
T S O'Rama

remembers a good priest, who left this life in the sure and certain hope of lasting life on Friday -- at age 50.

(Permalinks not working -- scroll to post headed "Death of a Good Priest.")

I have yet to read the newspaper articles that Mr O'Rama links to, but the personal recollections do convey some of this priest's exceptional grace.
by Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

Let the gospel trumpets speak,
and the news as of holy fire,
burning and flaming and inextinguishable,
run to the ends of the earth.

Let all creation greet the good tidings
with jubilant shout;
for its redemption has come,
the long night is past, the Saviour lives!
and rides and reigns in triumph
now and unto the ages of ages.

Let the quiet Altar dazzle with light;
let us haste to thy Presence
wondering, incredulous for joy;
and partake of thy Risen Life.

Rise up, my heart, give thanks, rejoice!
And do thou, O Lord, deign to enter it
despite the shut doors.
Shew me thy hands and thy side,
that it is thou thyself.
Send me about thy business,
servant of the living King, the King of kings;
and hide my life in thine
for ever and ever.

From My God, My Glory : Aspirations, acts, and prayers on the desire for God, ed. Joyce Huggett (Triangle/SPCK, 1994), p. 69.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

from A Primitive Like an Orb

The Rat recently blogged some Wallace Stevens, and so I figured I'd do the same. I searched for 45 minutes to come up with the perfect "lines chosen at random"! So here they are :

The central poem is the poem of the whole,
The poem of the composition of the whole,
The composition of blue sea and of green,
Of blue light and of green, as lesser poems,
And the miraculous multiplex of lesser poems,
Not merely into a whole, but a poem of
The whole, the essential compact of the parts,
The roundness that pulls tight the final ring

And that which in an altitude would soar,
A vis, a principle or, it may be
The meditation of a principle,
Or else an inherent order active to be
Itself, a nature to its natives all
Beneficence, a repose, utmost repose,
The muscles of a magnet aptly felt,
A giant on the horizon, glistening,

And in bright excellence adorned, crested
With every prodigal, familiar fire,
And unfamiliar escapades : whirroos
And scintillant sizzlings such as children like,
Vested in the serious folds of majesty,
Moving around and behind, a following,
A source of trumpeting seraphs in the eye,
A source of pleasant outbursts on the ear.
The Easter Hymn of the Mother of God
from the Eastern Church

The angel cried aloud to her who was full of grace : Rejoice, O pure Maiden, and again I say, Rejoice; thy Son hath risen the third day from the tomb.

Shine, shine, thou new Jerusalem : for the glory of the Lord hath risen upon thee! Rejoice in the dance and exult, O Sion! And do thou, O Mother of God, most pure, delight in the Rising of thy Child!

lamentation and praise

a tiny psalm

i'm sick and sad
but there is balm

in gilead

from Easter Sermon of St John Chrysostom
via St Benedict's Parish, Baltimore, mentioned by (attended by) Gerard

Let all then enter the joy of our Lord!

Both the first and the last and those who come after, enjoy your reward!

Rich and poor, dance with one another, sober and slothful, celebrate the day.

Those who have kept the fast and those who have not, rejoice today, for the table is richly spread.

Fare royally upon it -- the calf is a fatted one.

Let no one go away hungry.

All of you, enjoy the banquet of faith!

All enjoy the riches of his goodness.

Let no one cry over his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has appeared!

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again, for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free.

He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He spoiled the power of hell when he descended thereto.

Isaiah foretold this when he cried, Death has been frustrated in meeting him below!

It is frustrated, for it is destroyed.

It is frustrated, for it is annihilated.

It is frustrated, for now it is made captive.

For it grabbed a body and discovered God.

It took earth and behold! it encountered heaven.

It took what was visible, and was overcome by what was invisible.

O Death, where is your sting?

O Death, where is your victory?

Christ is risen,
and the demons are cast down.

Christ is risen,
and life is set free.

Christ is risen,
and the tomb is emptied of the dead.

For Christ, having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who sleep.

To him be glory and power forever and ever!

Amen. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluias from the Psalter!
Psalm 148, Revised Standard Version

1: Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights!

2: Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!

3: Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!

4: Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

5: Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.

6: And he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.

7: Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,

8: fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!

9: Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!

10: Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!

11: Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!

12: Young men and maidens together, old men and children!

13: Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.

14: He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!
Et resurrexit tertia die!

'Why search among the dead for one who is alive?'
Luke 24.5 (REB)