The sky is the colour of ashes— White and grey; The eaves drip icicle tears falling away My life is filled with ashes, my mood is fey; Death upon death finds my heart falling away Across my forehead a cross —charcoal dust— Reminds me that my frame will soon rust Over the shadow of death a Cross Reminds me that life can flame from loss The kernel of wheat must die,
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. T. S. Eliot “We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men,” Eliot begins his 1925 poem, “The Hollow Men.” Not the most positive of notes on which to start. But perhaps therein is its haunting power. Reality has a way of pressing beyond our rather feeble attempts at distracting ourselves.
In the gloaming across the sere grass I see a shadow roaming up the hill, across the loam I see the dark shape pass. Golden evening light has given way to misty twilight, the shadow’s flight (or was it descent?) lost in grey. Who was it walked that hill? Who was it passed by without seeing— the porch, the cat sleeping still? And who, indeed, let their shade-self walk across the bare
The beautiful is that which is pleasing when seen… —Thomas Aquinas As I indicated in my last post, I’ve been thinking about the topic of an apologetic for the Christian faith in light of our time and culture of ugliness (both inside and outside the Church). I suggested that theologians and leaders would do well to place a special emphasis on living beautifully. In this post, I would like to continue that line of thought,
I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room. —Blaise Pascal Quietude. Calm. Collected. Consistency. These are not the buzzwords of our culture of revolution. If they make it on to the radar, it is as unwanted intruders. To use one’s voice is a virtue; to remain silent, a vice. To be calm is thought to be apathetic at best,
We have a secret A secret that energizes us A secret that enables us A secret that brings us joy That secret is: God is A community of divine Persons One in love One in purpose Drawing all to Beauty All is chaos outside this Order All is in fluctuation outside this Stability All is changing outside this Being We have a secret It connects us It creates a
In the first part of this two part series on Psalm 46, I suggested that there are three strata of imagery in the psalm. The ‘city of God’ is a lush garden, providing for those inside her walls sustenance and shelter, calm and quiet, against all the wilds of life outside her walls. The city of God is, furthermore, protected against the judgement of God. The purging of evil involves God’s de-creative acts; yet for
In a sermon preached the same year that Augustine began to write his City of God, he told his congregation: “Brethren, when I speak of that City, and especially when scandals grow great here, I just cannot bring myself to stop…” (Enarr. In Ps. 84.10). As in Augustine’s time, so in ours as well scandals increase. Whether they do so more in our own time, I am not one to judge (though I rather doubt
I want to hold my worth in my hands; to trace my accomplishments in gilded letters on spine and cover; to smell them in ink and paper. But my desire is a dream awakened, and all I can trace are tears of shame, that I have nothing to hold out in offering but empty hands. Empty hands—not clenched fists, angry, or grasping at given gifts; Empty hands, ready to hold another’s, to serve,
They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper. —Psalm 1:3, The Living Bible What if the season is barren rather than bearing? How if the leaves have curled and the river has curved away—away from from this tree, empty? “Empty? Why art thou empty?” Asks the Spirit-wind, rustling through parchèd leaves. “Have you ceased to delight
“…as long as we have a body and our soul is fused with such an evil we shall never adequately attain what we desire.” – Plato (Phaedo, 66b) I often wonder what it means that God gave us bodies made of bones, flesh, and water— with fingers, for example, to pop open sodas for sipping on some hot summer day—or with eyes to wander into the gaze of others—strangers, enemies, lovers—
Kindness flowing out in wine and chocolate chip cookies, in smiles and eyes, in words and hidden acts Grace flowing down in water and wine and blood over dark soul nights, to unworthy us Love flowing over from hearts and hands, eyes and lips in forgiveness again, and again—every time Gifts ever flowing that we cannot earn, cannot repay, we humbly receive with open, empty hands Full over flowing hands and
Advent Heavy lay the snow the last warm breath just lingering inside our gloves next to fatigue it slowed and chilled me and my brothers toying with a seam at winter’s hem until the cold was far too much we stumbled home and stood like living clouds of steam our thrown scarves garlands for the railing and the chairs Mother I even began to feel afraid when the last light topped its arc those slender
What if prayer is a furnace? When we confess, every sin and every evil thing is burnt away into ashes. But every prayer in line with Life and Love —stemming from God’s Spirit— is refined like gold and silver. What if that?
All the Secrets You don’t believe me, look there, part the grass, he’s walking through the kitchen in his shirt you laugh he’ll hear you and come looking. He keeps (I saw it from a faded picture snagged at midnight on a full-waned moon a solitary awning’s bulb the best light going) a frog that talks, oh yes I mean it don’t you say I lied, I’ve heard it croak a choked horn’s wheeze that
by Cameron Brooks On an early September morning I hear Fall whispering. Rushing out the front door I catch its thin voice in an unexpected breeze, faint, crisp, foreign to my bare skin, which is leathered and browned from four months of sun and sand and runs along the river behind our home. I pause in the paved lot to listen closer. As I lean into the breeze, I remember how my world has
Images of the Shroud I stay up late at night searching for high-resolution images of the Shroud of Turin weighing the evidence and different theories. I can see the blood on his arms, ringing round the bicep and shoulders, running like tattoos, the wound on the hand, and those on the feet, ribcage, and brow. They trace a body on the cloth, the relic of a crux connecting earth to heaven, there to issue blood
You scallywag scavenger, throaty chatterer, who rows through the sky with graceful pride, your wings black and white dipping the wind, tipping like a canoe but never capsized— that is you, O magnificent Magpie!
The King of All Creation The Book of Tobit The demon Asmodeus swept the sky all ownership and prowess, casting through each curtain of wind, cresting toward the maiden’s bower. “I am the king of all creation, I am the high-rise towering over the tenements! I am the mighty Asmodeus, conqueror, seducer, deepest shadow of the strongest light, widower, crucible, biggest bubble in the soaphouse, bug of bugs!” Swifter than an accidental fart, he
I Want a Solution for Charlottesville, VA I want a solution but my mind offers platitudes maybe they’re enough to seal the gap the whistling cold the difference between yesterday and today in Charlottesville where others carry thoughts like a sickness that kills them first swinging their fever in censers anointing their steps with ash walking by them I try to keep quiet and pass unseen my easy answers held out of sight like