Saturday, November 01, 2008


by Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849)

The mellow year is hasting to its close;
The little birds have almost sung their last,
Their small notes twitter in the dreary blast --
That shrill-piped harbinger of early snows;
The patient beauty of the scentless rose,
Oft with the morn's hoar crystal quaintly glassed,
Hangs, a pale mourner for the summer past,
And makes a little summer where it grows.
In the chill sunbeam of the faint brief day
The dusky waters shudder as they shine;
The russet leaves obstruct the straggling way
Of oozy brooks, which no deep banks define;
And the gaunt woods, in ragged, scant array,
Wrap their old limbs with sombre ivy-twine.

November 1, 2008

All Saints' Day.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Catherine de Hueck Doherty

from the "Spring" section of I Live on an Island (Ave Maria Press, 1979):

A priest to me is Christ wishing to be present in our midst in and through this man he has called to be his priest. It doesn't seem to affect me at all if priests are sinful or holy, or anything in between. I understand that they are men. But frankly, if I am in need of one of them and know that he is living a sinful life, I would still crawl to him to get absolution for my sins, or to receive Viaticum if I were in danger of death.


These words, first posted here five and a half years ago, came to my mind this evening for some ineffable reason.

Sonnet sequence

Thirteen sonnets by Geoffrey Hill (b. 1932), "An Apology for the Revival of Christian Architecture in England."

Read slowly, and enjoy.

The title

... of this book (which I saw today for the first time at the Harvard Coop) makes me think, for some reason, of this blogger.

La santé: an update

Still not 100%. Still have this hacking cough, now accompanied by discomfort in the left side of the chest. This is day eleven. The most recent doctor I saw recommended cough syrup. The cough syrup made for a most unpleasant night. (The label on the bottle says, not for coughs that last longer than 7 days.)

Oh, and both doctors I've seen say that my lungs are as clear as a bell. I don't have pneumonia, as far as they know.

Pray, if you will, that the cure for what ails me is apparent to the next doctor I see.

To Sleep

by John Keats (1795-1821)

O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities;
Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.


John Keats was born on this date in 1795.

October 31, 2008

A meditation for All Hallows' Eve.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The only boy, almost, who "played" (but not at games) was our Irish earl. But then he was an exception to all rules; not because of his earldom but because he was an untamable Irishman, anarch in grain, whom no society could iron out. He smoked a pipe in his first term. He went off by night on strange expeditions to a neighboring city; not, I believe, for women, but for harmless rowdyism, low life, and adventure. He always carried a revolver. I remember it well, for he had a habit of loading one chamber only, rushing into your study, and then firing off (if that is the right word) all the others at you, so that your life depended on his counting accurately. I felt at the time, and I feel still, that this (unlike the fagging) was the sort of thing no sensible boy could object to. It was done in defiance both of masters and Bloods, it was wholly useless, and there was no malice in it. I liked Ballygunnian; he, too, was killed in France.

C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (Harcourt, Brace), pp. 98 & 99

October 29, 2008

Today is Wednesday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, and at there is a meditation on the Rosary and the Liturgy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

October 27, 2008

Monday of the 30th week in Ordinary Time. At, a meditation on the rosary.

Born this day in 1914

by Dylan Thomas (1914-53)

This day winding down now
At God speeded summer's end
In the torrent salmon sun,
In my seashaken house
On a breakneck of rocks
Tangled with chirrup and fruit,
Froth, flute, fin and quill
At a wood's dancing hoof,
By scummed, starfish sands
With their fishwife cross
Gulls, pipers, cockles, and sails,
Out there, crow black, men
Tackled with clouds, who kneel
To the sunset nets,
Geese nearly in heaven, boys
Stabbing, and herons, and shells
That speak seven seas,
Eternal waters away
From the cities of nine
Days' night whose towers will catch
In the religious wind
Like stalks of tall, dry straw,
At poor peace I sing
To you strangers (though song
Is a burning and crested act,
The fire of birds in
The world's turning wood,
For my sawn, splay sounds),
Out of these seathumbed leaves
That will fly and fall
Like leaves of trees and as soon
Crumble and undie
Into the dogdayed night.
Seaward the salmon, sucked sun slips,
And the dumb swans drub blue
My dabbed bay's dusk, as I hack
This rumpus of shapes
For you to know
How I, a spinning man,
Glory also this star, bird
Roared, sea born, man torn, blood blest.
Hark : I trumpet the place,
From fish to jumping hill! Look:
I build my bellowing ark
To the best of my love
As the flood begins,
Out of the fountainhead
Of fear, rage red, manalive,
Molten and mountainous to stream
Over the wound asleep
Sheep white hollow farms

To Wales in my arms.
Hoo, there, in castle keep,
You king singsong owls, who moonbeam
The flickering runs and dive
The dingle furred deer dead!
Huloo, on plumbed bryns,
O my ruffled ring dove
In the hooting, nearly dark
With Welsh and reverent rook,
Coo rooing the woods' praise,
Who moons her blue notes from her nest
Down to the curlew herd!
Ho, hullaballoing clan
Agape, with woe
In your beaks, on the gabbing capes!
Heigh, on horseback hill, jack
Whisking hare! who
Hears there, this fox light, my flood ship's
Clangour as I hew and smite
(A clash of anvils for my
Hubbub and fiddle, this tune
On a tongued puffball)
But animals thick as thieves
On God's rough tumbling grounds
(Hail to His beasthood!).
Beasts who sleep good and thin,
Hist! in hogsback woods! The haystacked
Hollow farms in a throng
Of waters cluck and cling,
And barnroofs cockcrow war!
O kingdom of neighbours, finned
Felled and quilled, flash to my patch
Work ark and the moonshine
Drinking Noah of the bay,
With pelt, and scale, and fleece:
Only the drowned deep bells
Of sheep and churches noise
Poor peace as the sun sets
And dark shoals every holy field.
We will ride out alone, and then,
Under the stars of Wales,
Cry, Multitudes of arks! Across
The water lidded lands,
Manned with their loves they'll move,
Like wooden islands, hill to hill.
Huloo, my prowed dove with a flute!
Ahoy, old sea-legged fox,
Tom tit and Dai mouse!
My ark sings in the sun
At God speeded summer's end
And the flood flowers now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


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)

so huge a tumult is the simplest wish:
so pitiless a massacre the hope
most innocent(so deep's the mind of flesh
and so awake what waking calls asleep)

so never is most lonely man alone
(his briefest breathing lives some planet's year,
his longest life's a heartbeat of some sun;
his least unmotion roams the youngest star)

--how should a fool that calls him "I" presume
to comprehend not numerable whom?


The sun came out at about eleven, while I was at Mass. Wish it had stayed cloudy and gray. I must have ancestors from some cool and gloomy climes.

Still, only about 61 degrees. Could be much worse.

Did I mention that autumn rocks?

October 26, 2008

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time.