Wednesday, October 28, 2009
New York: 1951 Seven Poems
Here is the last of the series, go read them all:
Not because of victories
but for the common sunshine,
the largess of the spring.
Not for victory
but for the day's work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.
Thanks to Bishop Seraphim for the links to the poems.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
RISING FROM MY SICKBED, I Saw the moon as the Sky Cleared
This was the night of the mid-autumn moon of the year i-ssu 
Up from my sickbed, I meet the full moon-
the clouds open, a smile opens on my face.
The clouds depart with what's left of my depression;
the moon appears with the new good feelings.
Falling leaves are iced with clear dew,
new fragrance rises from the thick wine.
The gladness is still not deep in my heart,
but these are embers, ready to burst into flame.
Yuan Hung-tao, PILGRIM OF THE CLOUDS: Poems and Essays From Ming China
Thursday, October 22, 2009
THE COLD FLY
I see a fly
warming himself on the windowsill,
rubbing his legs, enjoying the morning sun.
He seems to know when the light will shift:
a sudden buzz
and he's at another window.
From Heaven My Blanket, Earth My Pillow: Poems by Yang Wan-Li
Translated and Introduced by Jonathan Chaves
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)
As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.
You can hear this read at Classic Poetry Aloud
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
When I published my first post on this blog, the young man in the uniform was twelve. He is now twenty, a college student and part time soldier with the Virginia National Guard. The photo was taken this spring at Fort Benning at his graduation from basic training. It seems like just a day or two ago that his mother and I brought him home wrapped in small blankets. Enlisting was his idea. I am extremely proud of him, but I also find that I approach the prayers for peace in the Divine Liturgy with a previously unaccustomed fervency.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Suppose we did our work
like the snow, quietly, quietly,
leaving nothing out.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
With the leaves turning I can look up the mountain and see the tourist traffic on Skyline Drive looking down on us. This summer Susan and I took our own trip on a free entrance day and took this picture of our home. Right now the green is mixed with yellow, orange and brown.