Saturday, October 11, 2008

psalmus David

iudica me Deus et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta
ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me

quia tu es Deus fortitudo mea
quare me reppulisti
quare tristis incedo dum affligit me inimicus

emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam
ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt
in montem sanctum tuum et in tabernacula tua

et introibo ad altare Dei
ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

    Rose-cheekt Laura, come;
Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's
Silent music, either other
        Sweetly gracing.

    Lovely forms do flow
From concent divinely framèd:
Heav'n is music, and thy beauty's
        Birth is heav'nly.

    These dull notes we sing
Discords need for helps to grace them;
Only beauty purely loving
        Knows no discord;

    But still moves delight,
Like clear springs renew'd by flowing,
Ever perfect, ever in them-
        selves eternall.

More on the Beatitudes

Fr Gawronski informs us, "They are sung in every Byzantine liturgy, as the Word of God is formally borne into the Church" (A Closer Walk with Christ, p. 138).

I have never been present at a Byzantine liturgy, but it is refreshing to know that there are divine celebrations that begin without the singing of "All Are Welcome" or "Gather Us In."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blessed are the peacemakers

Those who are peacemakers can expect to suffer much, for the world is constantly urging us to take simple sides in its battles. We do have to take a side in the end, but it is the side of Jesus, and Jesus is the one everyone seems to reject! Both Pharisees and Sadducees, the great parties of His day, rejected Him. Though He was closest to the Pharisees, He was also most critical of them. Although coming so very close, they still missed the boat, and a miss is as good as a mile. One is often tempted to take sides -- is generally drawn to one side anyway -- and in the end, one runs out of patience and just opts for one side over the other. Jesus calls to a deeper peace than that reached in most of our battles. If in one battle we must be on one side, in another battle we will sometimes find ourselves on the other side, if we are truly listening to God. So to listen to God and to speak His word is to be free of all party claims. It is to be free to try and bring a peace that is not of this world, and so share in the work of the Son of God. Peacemakers are crucified by all, for they will not take sides. They offer an understanding that requires surrender of personal riches, the riches of giving ultimacy to human opinions.

Raymond Thomas Gawronski, SJ, A Closer Walk with Christ: A Personal Ignatian Retreat (Our Sunday Visitor, 2003), p. 142

To my legions of Canadian readers ...

... happy Thanksgiving! (It's Monday, isn't it?)

Light verse

Poets make rondeaux and sestinas,
But God makes Venuses and Serenas.

"What else does the box say?"

1. Has anyone else seen that commercial?

2. If you've answered "yes" to question #1, do you hate the commercial as much as I do?

from "An October Journey"

by Margaret Walker (1915-98)

I want to tell you what hills are like in October
when colors gush down mountainsides
and little streams are freighted with a caravan of leaves.
I want to tell you how they blush and turn in fiery shame and joy,
how their love burns with flames consuming and terrible
until we wake one morning and woods are like a smoldering plain --
a glowing caldron full of jewelled fire;
the emerald earth a dragon's eye,
the poplars drenched in yellow light
and dogwoods blazing bloody red.
Travelling southward earth changes from gray rock to green velvet.
Earth changes to red clay
with green grass growing brightly
with saffron skies of evening setting dully
with muddy rivers moving sluggishly.

In the early spring when the peach tree blooms
wearing a veil like a lavender haze
and the pear and the plum in their bridal hair
gently snow their petals on earth's grassy bosom below
then their soughing breeze is soothing
and the world seems bathed in tenderness,
but in October
blossoms have long since fallen.
A few red apples hang on leafless boughs;
wind whips bushes briskly.
And where a blue stream sings cautiously
a barren land feeds

From The Vintage Book of African American Poetry, eds. Michael S. Harper & Anthony Walton (Vintage, 2000), pp. 180-1

By Achmelvich Bridge

by Norman MacCaig (1910-96)

Night stirs the trees
With breathings of such music that they sway,
Skirts, sleeves, tiaras, in the humming dark,
Their highborn heads tossing in disarray.

A floating owl
Unreels his silence, winding in and out
Of different darknesses. The wind takes up
And scatters a sound of water all about.

No moon need slide
Into the sky to make that water bright;
It ties its swelling self with glassy ropes;
It jumps from stones in smithereens of light.

The mosses on the wall
Plump their fat cushions up. They smell of wells,
Of under bridges and of spoons. They move
More quiveringly than the dazed rims of bells.

A broad cloud drops
A darker darkness. Turning up his stare,
Letting the world pour under him, owl goes off,
His small soft foghorn quavering through the air.

From The Oxford Book of Scottish Verse, eds. J. MacQueen and T. Scott (Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 560


from The Seasons
by James Thomson (1700-48)

But see the fading many-coloured woods,
Shade deepening over shade, the country round
Imbrown; a crowded umbrage dusk and dun,
Of every hue, from wan declining green
To sooty dark. These now the lonesome muse,
Low whispering, lead into their leaf-strewn walks,
And give the season in its latest view.

Meantime, light shadowing all, a sober calm
Fleeces unbounded ether: whose least wave
Stands tremulous, uncertain where to turn
The gentle current; while illumined wide,
The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the sun,
And through their lucid veil his softened force
Shed o'er the peaceful world. Then is the time,
For those whom virtue and whom nature charm,
To steal themselves from the degenerate crowd,
And soar above this little scene of things:
To tread low-thoughted vice beneath their feet;
To soothe the throbbing passions into peace;
And woo lone Quiet in her silent walks.

Thus solitary, and in pensive guise,
Oft let me wander o'er the russet mead,
And through the saddened grove, where scarce is heard
One dying strain, to cheer the woodman's toil.
Haply some widowed songster pours his plaint,
Far, in faint warblings, through the tawny copse;
While congregated thrushes, linnets, larks,
And each wild throat, whose artless strains so late
Swelled all the music of the swarming shades,
Robbed of their tuneful souls, now shivering sit
On the dead tree, a dull despondent flock:
With not a brightness waving o'er their plumes,
And nought save chattering discord in their note.
O let not, aimed from some inhuman eye,
The gun the music of the coming year
Destroy; and harmless, unsuspecting harm,
Lay the weak tribes a miserable prey
In mingled murder, fluttering on the ground!

The pale descending year, yet pleasing still,
A gentler mood inspires; for now the leaf
Incessant rustles from the mournful grove;
Oft startling such as studious walk below,
And slowly circles through the waving air.
But should a quicker breeze amid the boughs
Sob, o'er the sky a leafy deluge streams;
Till choked, and matted with the dreary shower,
The forest walks at every rising gale,
Roll wide the withered waste, and whistle bleak.
Fled is the blasted verdure of the fields;
And, shrunk into their beds, the flowery race
Their sunny robes resign. E'en what remained
Of stronger fruits falls from the naked tree;
And woods, fields, gardens, orchards all around,
The desolated prospect thrills the soul.

Quotations of note

Those who justify themselves do not convince.


The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

T. S. Eliot

Therefore Dear Reader, forgive what you do not approve, & love me for this energetic exertion of my talent.

William Blake, "To the Public," preface to Jerusalem

"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful.

1 Corinthians 6:12.

We should value others by the most that they are, and ourselves by the least that we are.

Marianne Moore (from memory, wording may be inexact)

Satisfaction is a lowly thing, how pure a thing is joy.

Marianne Moore, from the poem "What Are Years?"

Be gentle with others, be severe with yourself.

Saint Teresa of Avila, quoted somewhere in The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore

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

edward estlin cummings, "as freedom is a breakfastfood"

I'm a very gentle man,
Even-tempered and good-natured, whom you never hear complain,
Who has the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein:
A patient man am I
Down to my fingertips
The sort who never would, ever could
Let an insulting remark escape his lips ...

Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins in "My Fair Lady"

This Humanist whom no belief constrained
Grew so broad-minded he was scatter-brained.

J. V. Cunningham (1911-86)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Untitled, 2002

He pilfered her poems, he stole all her prose,
Absconded with meter and rhyme:
With never an ode of his own to compose,
He took to the plagiarist's crime.

He twisted the syllables, wrenched every word --
How barbarous was his technique!
A more brutish din you never have heard.
Such havoc the snatcher would wreak!

He'd say it in Portuguese, then Double Dutch,
And maybe a soupçon of French:
He'd stand on a soapbox in big city squares
Disturbing the drunk on the bench.

His phrases were noisy: a big pile of books
That loudestly falls to the floor.
His poems all merited murderous looks
And catcalls of "Plagiarist! Boor!"

But one happy day, this most burglarish bard
Received a felicitous turn:
He left all his poems heaped in the backyard
With the leaves he intended to burn.

The vowels and consonants went up in smoke;
His lyrics became quite extinct.
A quite fitting fate for this silly old bloke
Who stealed what his betters had thinked!

From a 1956 anthology entitled Saint Francis and the Poet, ed. Elizabeth Patterson, preface by Archbishop Richard J. Cushing

by Teresa Hooley

Praised be my Lord for Brother October,
Who is exceedingly forthright,
Tempestuous and loud.
He coloreth the woods with glory,
So that they burn and glow.
He raketh them with his winds
And the leaves are scattered abroad like ashes.

Thanks be to my Lord for Brother October.
The plow worketh beside him,
And the earth is furrowed for the sowing of bread.
Beauty followeth after
In a cloud of wings,
For man doth not live by bread alone.
Brother rook plundereth the walnut-tree
And Sister squirrel the hazel;
Brother thrush pulleth the berries of the yew,
For your Heavenly Father feedeth them.

Praised be my Lord for Brother October,
Tenth of the apostle months of the circling year.

Won't be online tomorrow

(most likely)

... but it'll be the sixth anniversary of the inception of this here blog.


There are some blogs I'd like to "follow," but some of you haven't enabled your feed yet (is that the correct terminology?). So I can't follow you!

You know who you are ...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Poem #849

by Emily Dickinson (1830-86)

The good Will of a Flower
The Man who would possess
Must first present
Of minted Holiness.


Even as He is filled with the Holy Spirit just descended upon Him, there is no raucous ecstasy but a silent majesty. It is ecstatic, yet has that holy and silent restraint that speaks of God.

Fr Raymond Thomas Gawronski, SJ, about Our Lord's Baptism in the Jordan, in A Closer Walk with Christ (Our Sunday Visitor, 2003), p. 118

emphasis mine

I don't get this meme

Am I supposed to say what I think I should be patron of, if I hubristically foresee my eventual canonization, or, as this blogger has it, do I say what the person who tagged me should be patron of?

For TS, who tagged me, I'll go with patron of Guinness drinkers, used bookstores, Ohio, and summer. For myself, patron of Newcastle drinkers, used bookstores, Massachusetts, and autumn. (Do seasons have patron saints? Maybe lovers of certain seasons have patron saints ...)