Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gunman offended by pro-life message

Pro-life activist slain in Michigan. ABC's World News with Charles Gibson did mention this.

Msgr Romano Guardini

A person who has been wounded is comforted when someone who loves him awakens the hidden energy within him so that it passes through the wound in a healing stream. A person who is spiritually dried up is comforted when someone who loves him releases the wave of life within and everything is revived. A person who has lost things of great value, who has had his work destroyed, and his hopes dashed, is comforted when someone who loves him allies himself with something that lies at a deeper level, underneath the individual possession and the individual work; allies himself with the fundamental creative will, and rouses it to new activity; allies himself with that innermost soul that is above change and loss and is the eternal strength of the heart; admitting the loss that is lost in time, but winning it anew from the timelessness of faith in God. A person whose heart is sullied is comforted when someone who loves him is able to touch the purity that lives below the sin, and rouse a new confidence in his ability to overcome the ugliness of his heart. A person who has sinned and can find no escape from his troubled conscience is comforted when someone who loves him is able, without the slightest presumption, to shed light on the sinner's self-deception, to release and fortify the will and open up new ways and possibilities. There is comfort when the lover is able to soften the hardened, to touch the paralyzed with relaxing warmth, to give a new direction to an erring mind. Human love, really pure and selfless human love, is able to comfort. But it soon attains its limits. Human love is not the love of God. Christ sent us the One who is "the nearness" between the Father and the Son: the Holy Spirit. He is the holy inwardness of God himself; in the secret language of love he is the "tie," the "kiss." In him God has come to us as the Comforter.

Magnificat meditation for September 10th

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dylan Thomas

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

The much-maligned Fox News Channel

did an excellent job this morning in their remembrance of the attacks of eight years ago. Including rebroadcast of their 2001 coverage. It was a fitting anamnesis of what should be a most solemn day.

September 11th

I remember the blogosphere, in the days leading up to the first anniversary of the attacks, trying to decide how it would commemorate the occasion. A day of silence? Prayers for the dead? Pictures of the remnants of the towers? (I chose a pictorial tribute in 2002. I was blogging at error503 at the time; the blog has long since been deleted.)

I checked my archives here at darkspeech to see how I commemorated the anniversary on the last two September 11ths. And it appears I chose a day of silence. More accurately, I didn't mention it at all. (Much like Google, I'm afraid, which as of a few moments ago has its ordinary "Google" logo. Google commemorated what would have been Michael Jackson's 51st birthday a few weeks back, but didn't see fit to commemorate September 11th. But then again, what have I done the last two years?)

So it seems a slight impertinence to be blogging on September 11th. But it also seems as if there should be some acknowledgment of the anniversary on my blog.

Thomas Howard once wrote, in a book that predated his conversion to Catholicism, that the human mind cannot contemplate the horror of the headlines for very long (and he was talking about the everyday murders and rapes and crimes). Eventually, he wrote, unless one has been directly affected, one returns to coffee and eggs, and the consolations of domesticity. (I forget his exact words, but that was the gist.) And that is what much of the country seems to have done. Alas.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What the bleep is going on, blogger?

What's up with this "you are not following any blogs" nonsense? I'm following about twenty blogs! None of which are showing up on my dashboard, none of which are showing up on my profile.

Memorandum to Blogger : Please fix this problem, quickly. Thank you.

Simon Tugwell, OP

God make me rid of "God"! Any "God" that I can treat as an object, any God that I can make my own, is a false god. God is only "God" over against creatures; he is named, to distinguish him from other beings, but precisely as such he is not apprehended as he really is. That is why the soul cannot, finally, be content with "God" ...

from the Magnificat meditation for September 9th, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Auden martini

Here. An excerpt:
I don't want to lump Auden in with the cocktail consumers I've seen belly up to bars at innumerable happy hours, lean their elbows on the polished wood or marble or zinc, and, with an air of sophisticated authority, order an extra-dry vodka martini with extra olives. I want to pry away their drinks and replace them with real martinis—made with gin and considerably more than a rumor of vermouth, and garnished, if garnished they must be, with clean, curly twists of lemon peel.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Honest scrap meme

(tagged by Enbrethiliel: the idea is to post "ten honest facts about yourself")

1. I've never worked harder, or enjoyed anything more, than when I was sixteen and learning to write verse in slant-rhymed iambics, basically by imitating the Welsh poet whose praenomen I have taken as a pseudonym.

2. I sometimes think I would like to be a monk. But some monastic orders don't eat meat! And all monastic orders, I think, require their postulants to be a bit more virtuous, or intent on virtue, than my peccant self.

3. I like being clean-shaven, but do not enjoy shaving.

4. I, too (see Enbrethiliel's post), like the Carpenters. Am generally oddly nostalgic for a lot of '70s music. America : "A Horse with No Name." Van Morrison! "Moondance."

5. This is no revelation to anyone who's read this blog for a long time, but it is an honest fact: I love autumn. And I love the first snow of the year.

6. I weigh (it sounds better in the British measure) nineteen stone.

7. I get nervous going over the Tobin Bridge.

8. I once voted Libertarian in a Presidential election (1996, when the major parties were represented by Bill Clinton and Bob Dole).

8a. Despite the fact that her politics and her husband's politics are anathema, I don't dislike Michelle Obama.

9. I spend a half hour each morning writing. And more than a half hour drinking coffee.

10. I have a memory that retains the birthdays of people I haven't seen in twenty years.

Now, I'm supposed to tag people, but I know that most of the people who I'm inclined to tag don't enjoy being tagged as much as I do. So let's just say, whoever wants to join the fun, go ahead!


A poem by Spencer Reece, from this month's Poetry magazine : At Thomas Merton's Grave.

O where are you going

by W. H. Auden (1907-73)

'O where are you going?' said reader to rider,
'That valley is fatal where furnaces burn,
Yonder's the midden whose odours will madden,
That gap is the grave where the tall return.'

'O do you imagine,' said fearer to farer,
'That dusk will delay on your path to the pass,
Your diligent looking discover the lacking
Your footsteps feel from granite to grass?'

'O what was that bird,' said horror to hearer,
'Did you see that shape in the twisted trees?
Behind you swiftly the figure comes softly,
The spot on your skin is a shocking disease?'

'Out of this house' -- said rider to reader,
'Yours never will' -- said farer to fearer,
'They're looking for you' -- said hearer to horror,
As he left them there, as he left them there.