Saturday, April 12, 2008


via Oblique House

You Are a Hazelnut

You are very unique and distinct. You may even freak some people out.

Most people don't really know how to interact with you.

You get along best with anyone who is super sweet.

But you really do get along with almost anyone. You just need a chance to wow them.


darling!because my blood can sing
and dance(and does with each your least
your any most very amazing now
or here)let pitiless fear play host
to every isn't that's under the spring
--but if a look should april me,
down isn't's own isn't go ghostly they

doubting can turn men's see to stare
their faith to how their joy to why
their stride and breathing to limp and prove
--but if a look should april me,
some thousand million hundred more
bright worlds than merely by doubting have
darkly themselves unmade makes love

armies(than hate itself and no
meanness unsmaller)armies can
immensely meet for centuries
and(except nothing)nothing's won
--but if a look should april me
for half a when,whatever is less
alive than never begins to yes

but if a look should april me
(though such as perfect hope can feel
only despair completely strikes
forests of mind,mountains of soul)
quite at the hugest which of his who
death is killed dead. Hills jump with brooks:
trees tumble out of twigs and sticks;

Friday, April 11, 2008

It seems to me that the Church was actually resisting conformity to this world in her practice of ordaining only certain of her baptized men to the presbyteral/episcopal office. The societies in which the Church lived, in both the old and new covenants, certainly knew female leadership. Israel itself had women judges and queens, as did the empires and nations in which Christianity developed and reigned as the "official religion." But even in times when women ruled empires and were consecrated by the [Orthodox] Church for this purpose and were canonized saints by the same Church for their successful service, there were no women priests or bishops in the Church. The question is, why not? And the answer, it seems to me, can only be because the Church has theological and spiritual reasons for her actions, which are intended to preserve, and not to deny, her eschatological character.

The Church exists in the world to proclaim and preserve a vision of God and the world, and a vision of men and women, within the fallen conditions of this age whose form is passing away (1 Co 7:31). Essential to this vision is the conviction that human nature images the nature of God within the conditions of creation in two forms: masculine and feminine. It insists that men and women are essentially identical in their humanity, but are not interchangeable in their completion and perfection of it. And it holds that there must be in the Church, since it does not always exist in the world, the clear expression of the distinction of the sexes in their mutual fulfilment through communion in love, which has nothing to do with privilege, power, prestige and authority. It is therefore the sign of the Church's ultimate resistance to this world -- her calling not to be "conformed to this world" but to be "transformed by the renewal of ... mind" in order to demonstrate "what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rm 12:2) -- that the Church has not ordained women to her priestly and episcopal ranks.

Thomas Hopko, "Women and the Priesthood: Reflections," in Women and the Priesthood (SVS Press, 1983 edition), pp. 188-9

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life -- tall, slim, auburn hair, uptilted nose, lovely mouth and the most enormous grey eyes I had ever seen. It really happened the way it does when written by the worst lady novelists. ... I goggled. I had difficulty swallowing and had champagne in my knees.

David Niven, describing his first encounter with his second wife, in The Moon's A Balloon

via Wikipedia
We must not shut our hearts against desire, but learn how to desire rightly, so that our whole wanting apparatus can be healed, so that eventually it will find its full satisfaction in him who alone can satisfy us. We cannot learn to love God by learning not to love. If we kill off in ourselves the faculty we have for desire, then we shall paralyze our faculty for loving God. [...] God is not just the policeman trying to keep us in order, or the examiner waiting to see our papers; he is also the great seducer, wooing us into his paradise of delights, so that his own joy may be in us, and our joy may be full.

Simon Tugwell, OP, from Prayer: Living with God (Templegate, 1975), pp. 43-44

via Magnificat, May 2008
Smith & Hawken

A park bench by the Belvedere. The Pocket Book of Modern Verse.

58 degrees

The loathsome sun, the mute inglorious mud. The glorious clouds, celestial teeming earth.

The scampering ram

and endless tankards of ale, or pitchers of Diet Coke. Recovering reliability.

Am feeling

quite expended. Will continue.

Neptune is a road

on the east side, on the blue line. Princeton is a street, and Eagle is a square.

Let noon, let midday

come today at five past eleven, at fifty-four minutes till twelve.


your poems soon. They are strange and quiet and merciful.

Line from a journal, September 1997

the fractional magnificence of a dream ...

A package of mythology

A packet of bliss.

Tardy reveille

On a Saturday.
Rain in the big bean.
April's endless pour.
Coffee's second mug.
Sommeil évanoui.
Sit we, do not stride.
Vigil Mass at four.
Several hours away.
Wood and dust and books.
Bending low, desk-lamp.
Icon smiles upon
Our inchoate words.

Greetings to moptop!


Wednesday, April 09, 2008


flowers in the packet-boat
tulips from Utrecht


vintage nineteen ninety-eight
syrupy splotches


bleak patois of mercredi
fourth cup of coffee


homeboys sipping Montrachet
in the bee-loud glade


newly-minted reveries
drams of nostalgia


like a flummoxed kitty-cat
on the mantelpiece


in the gloaming happy schmucks
brave a morris-dance


staining prim South Hadley's lawns
with their drips and streaks


haply the widow'd songster
pours his plaint
, selah


common reasons sway the herd
into buoyancy


where busboys traipse, there traipse I
in a cowslip's bell


dribble from the chandelier
woozy drops of light

phos hilaron updated

with a reading from St Ephrem the Syrian
Oh, definitely tomorrow

Pat Buchanan chops meat! Film at 11.

Seurat's mustard. Pointillism of the chemise. Adding a yellow dab to the shirt's pale blue.
Old age should burn and rave at close of day

and the period between youth and middle age yawns, and ponders the wisdom of a cup of tea, at forty minutes before sunset on a Sunday evening in late April.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I think I know who'll be throwing out the first pitch at Fenway today. The Red Sox higher-ups are keeping it a secret, and will say only "it'll give you goosebumps." I think I've got it figured out.

She's seven years old.

Will update you if my prediction is accurate or not.

Update, Wednesday: I was wrong. See comment box.

According to the newly installed ClustrMap, this blog has recently had visitors from Brazil, Japan, and Belgium (or was that northern France?). Canada, Hawaii, wherever you're from ... welcome!

An online selection of Emily Dickinson's poems.
To all souls that love God, to all true Christians, there shall come a first month of the year, as the month of April, a day of resurrection.

from the Homilies of St Macarius

Monday, April 07, 2008

And now for something completely different ...

Amazing Grace, 2007. By a new artist!
Joss Stone
née Joscelyn Eve Stoker

"Son of a Preacher Man," 2006:

The dress is a little too short.
Dusty Springfield
née Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien

"Son of a Preacher Man," 1968:

One year

Today marks the anniversary of my return to "regular" blogging! That is, if 5-10 posts a week can be called "regular" when compared to the 50+ posts per week of five years ago.

Well, here's the post that (re)started it all, one of my favorite passages from the Book of Wisdom.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Realism, modified

On the night after Patrick met Patrick, to joust with their gladsome épées, Felix awoke (and rushed toward the coffee-pot, because his body believed the sunrise to be imminent) at 3:04 am.

O fortunate Felix, who can re-read Caelica as the sparrows sleep and the airplanes murmur sweet nothings! O happy city, in which haikus are crowed at the drop of dawn!
Secret enclave : wistful.

Corners of porches. Corners of libraries.

Ensconced in yesterday. Sheltered from sun.

Poignancy and trees. Sky shuttered out.

Storage of memories. Old houses best.

Jamaica Plain backyard. Fences and neighbors.

Autumn all year. Even in April.

Crickets chirp in Celsius,
sparrows Fahrenheit.
News items

Bulletin : Pencil-sharpeners are hungry for what is blunt.

Bulletin : Possible Downtown Crossing explorations & the scampering ram.

Bulletin : Time to get the Scrabble partner's watch fixed.

Bulletin : Importance is vital. Write that down.

Bulletin : Seasons are changing. Blossomings burgeon. Trees get an A-plus in creativity. Too rambunctious for the A in conduct.

Bulletin : Teachers don't teach trees how to grow and rejoice. Unless they're poets & do so in November.

Bulletin : Martin's daughter-in-law still shines like any star, at the age of twoscore something.

Bulletin : Blind gondoliers travel canals that are (what else?) Venetian!

Bulletin : Pack-rats indulge in schemes to resurrect literature.

And today's weather : A chance of audacity, hampered by clouds, assisted by them rather.

There are two ways of having a cup of tea. Carefully and cautiously. Paying heed to the steep prices, and the bleeding bag of leaves.

A cup of tea is a simile. So went the meanings. Here we abrade with the sound of abrupt.

When we write a villanelle, it is in the realm of such. Of such and of suchlike. The governor is swift and Wyoming is compared to the Pyrenees.

Innocent can mean unwedded. Les noces parfaites. Have we glanced at the etymologies for "hectic" and "fettle." Have we collaborated with our choice rejoicer.