Friday, May 08, 2009

To Blossoms

by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
      Why do ye fall so fast?
      Your date is not so past,
But you may stay yet here awhile
      To blush and gently smile,
            And go at last.

What, were ye born to be
      An hour or half's delight,
      And so to bid good-night?
'Twas pity Nature brought ye forth
      Merely to show your worth,
            And lose you quite.

But you are lovely leaves, where we
      May read how soon things have
      Their end, though ne'er so brave:
And after they have shown their pride
      Like you, awhile, they glide
            Into the grave.


(courtesy of blog-reader Maria H.; many thanks!)


by Saint Anselm of Canterbury (+1109)

God, whose goodness is not exhausted, whose mercy is not emptied out, whose knowledge does not fail, whose power can effect what you will; whence shall I ever be able to get back life, who have thus been driven desperate by my sins? For if you are angry against sinners, at least, kind Lord, you are accustomed to give counsel to those who plead with you. Teach me, O Lord, whence I ought to hope, so that I can pray. For I long to pray to you; but I neither know how because of my ignorance, nor am I able to because of my hardness. And I am forbidden to do it by despair because of my sins. I seek for something that will excuse me, and there is nothing that does not accuse me. I seek for someone who will pray for me, and I find whatever exists is against me. I seek for someone to have mercy upon a wretch, and all that has being opposes the wretch.

Jesus, good Lord, why did you come down from heaven, what did you do in the world, to what end did you give yourself over to death, unless it was that you might save sinners? Saint Paul, what did you teach when you were passing through the world? God, and his apostles, and you most of all, invite us sinners to faith; you show us this as our only safe refuge. How then should I not hope, if I believe this, and ask in this faith? How can this hope be frustrated in me, if that faith does not fail me from which it was born?

Seven random quick snippets

(Inspired by the 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.)


Didn't do much reading yesterday, a little C S Lewis, and some Eric Milner-White : two of the RCAs (Really Cool Anglicans).


They kicked the last female performer off American Idol Wednesday night. I'm not as committed to it this year, but I guess I'm hoping that Adam wins, faute de mieux. I'm still smarting over Syesha's third-place finish last year.


It was in town for about one week, and I didn't get to see it. The Edge of Love, a film about Dylan Thomas, starring Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters). If critics are reliable, I'm not missing a great picture. Still, I would like to see it.


The cost of a postage stamp goes up Monday. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to get some Forever Stamps before then.


Song going through my head --

E volavo volavo felice più in alto del sole ed ancora più su,
mentre il mondo pian piano spariva lontano laggiù,
una musica dolce suonava soltanto per me ...

Volare ... oh, oh! ...
cantare ... oh, oh, oh, oh!


May Sarton in her journal At Seventy wonders if she will ever see her late mother again. She writes that she doesn't believe in an afterlife. "But one wonders." Six pages later, the Unitarian writer refers to something happening "by chance, or with the guardian angel's help." Sarton was also in the habit of commemorating All Souls' Day! Interesting.


OK, it's five o'clock, and I'm awake. What do I do now?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Litany of an Expiant

by Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

Jesu, Creator,
      Recreate and renew me.

Jesu, Saviour,
      Save me from sin,
      Save me from self.

Jesu, High Priest,
      Pity me,
      Plead for me,
      Pardon and purify me.

Jesu, Prophet,
      Waken and warn me.

Jesu, King,
      Rule me.

Jesu, the Way,
Jesu, my friend,
      Go with me always.

Jesu, the Truth,
      Teach me, counsel me,
      Make me all true.

Jesu, true Light,
      Scatter my darkness.

Jesu, true Bread,
      Strengthen my weakness.

Jesu, good Shepherd,
      Lead me and feed me.

Jesu, the Life,
      Live in me always,
            that I may adore thee,
            my Lord and my God,
                  evermore. Amen.

Eric Milner-White, My God My Glory : Aspirations, Acts, and Prayers on the desire for God (Triangle/SPCK, 1994), p. 40

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Marianne Moore for the month of May

In a reading of my verse for a women's club, I included these lines from "Tell me, tell me":
I vow, rescued tailor
        of Gloucester, I am going
    to flee: by engineering strategy --
    the viper's traffic-knot -- flee
to metaphysical newmown hay,
honeysuckle or woods fragrance. ...
After the program, a strikingly well-dressed member of the audience, with equally positive manner, inquired, "What is metaphysical newmown hay?"

I said, "Oh, something like a sudden whiff of fragrance in contrast with the doggedly continuous opposition to spontaneous conversation that had gone before." "Then why don't you say so?" the impressive lady rejoined.

from "A Burning Desire to Be Explicit," in The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore (Penguin, 1987), pp. 606-7.


by Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

Help me, O Holy Spirit, to search and question myself,
        and honestly to answer:
Am I single-minded in seeking my God?
        in serving him? even in praying to him?
Do I put GOD first in deed? in intention?
        or even in desire? in hope?
What reserves do I always maintain against him?
        what other loves cling to?
Is not self-regard my prevailing motive,
        secret, silent, undetectable, insatiable?
Where do I serve self in daily conduct,
        when I should be serving others?
        when I should be serving GOD?
Do I obey self even in the most inward spiritual things?
        in the exercise of holy ministries?
                even in the holiest place?

Search me thyself, O GOD,
        seek the grounds of my heart;
Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me,
        any subservience to mine ease,
        any hungering and playing for mine own honour.
Help, O help me slay my self-regard,
        the foe that is in myself and of myself,
            and to want to slay it.
O Saviour of the world,
    who by thy Cross and precious Blood hast redeemed us,
save me and help me,
            I humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Eric Milner-White, My God My Glory : Aspirations, Acts, and Prayers on the desire for God (Triangle/SPCK, 1994), p. 31


by Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

LORD, when for joy I seek thy Presence,
        give me a godly sorrow for my sins;
        yea, and for my righteousness also.

O Lord that my sins may be covered,
        strengthen me to uncover them
                honestly, unsparingly,
                before thine infinite love.

Let my heart with all its secrets
        be thrown as open to thee
                as thy mercies to me.

May I never confess my faults
        with no purpose to leave them
        nor make half-repentances,
                lest I make none.

Rather let me lift up to thee
        all my prides and shames,
                the stubborn and the small,
                the recurrent and the continuous,
        that they may be buried low,
                and have no resurrection.

from My God My Glory : Aspirations, Acts, and Prayers on the desire for God (Triangle/SPCK, 1994) p. 30

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Issue 2

The second issue of The Christendom Review, edited by Richard Barnett and William Luse, has appeared online.