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A Year of Poetry – Day 130

Before the Altar, bowed, he stands
With empty hands;
Upon it perfumed offerings burn
Wreathing with smoke the sacrificial urn.
Not one of all these has he given,
No flame of his has leapt to Heaven
Firesouled, vermilion-hearted,
Forked, and darted,
Consuming what a few spare pence
Have cheaply bought, to fling from hence
In idly-asked petition.
His sole condition
Love and poverty.
And while the moon
Swings slow across the sky,
Athwart a waving pine tree,
And soon
Tips all the needles there
With silver sparkles, bitterly
He gazes, while his soul
Grows hard with thinking of the poorness of his dole.
“Shining and distant Goddess, hear my prayer
Where you swim in the high air!
With charity look down on me,
Under this tree,
Tending the gifts I have not brought,
The rare and goodly things
I have not sought.
Instead, take from me all my life!
“Upon the wings
Of shimmering moonbeams
I pack my poet’s dreams
For you.
My wearying strife,
My courage, my loss,
Into the night I toss
For you.
Golden Divinity,
Deign to look down on me
Who so unworthily
Offers to you:
All life has known,
Seeds withered unsown,
Hopes turning quick to fears,
Laughter which dies in tears.
The shredded remnant of a man
Is all the span
And compass of my offering to you.
“Empty and silent, I
Kneel before your pure, calm majesty.
On this stone, in this urn
I pour my heart and watch it burn,
Myself the sacrifice; but be
Still unmoved: Divinity.”
From the altar, bathed in moonlight,
The smoke rose straight in the quiet night.

— Amy Lowell, Before the Altar

A Year of Poetry – Day 129

Momus, to be a Poet Laureate,
Has strained his wits through an iron grate.
For he has rhymes and rhymes, and double strains,
And golden verses, and all kinds of veins,
Now to the press he presses hastily,
To sell his friends stinking eternity.
     For who would be eternal in such fashion,
     To be a witness to his condemnation.
— Thomas Bastard, Book 2, Epigram 21: In Momum

Today’s Earworm

 

Gene Wilder, June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016

A Year of Poetry – Day 128

Done is a battle on the dragon black,
Our champion Christ confoundit has his force;
The yetis of hell are broken with a crack,
The sign triumphal raisit is of the cross,
The devillis trymmillis with hiddous voce,
The saulis are borrowit and to the bliss can go,
Christ with his bloud our ransonis dois indoce:
Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro.
Dungan is the deidly dragon Lucifer,
The cruewall serpent with the mortal stang;
The auld kene tiger, with his teith on char,
Whilk in a wait has lyen for us so lang,
Thinking to grip us in his clawis strang;
The merciful Lord wald nocht that it were so,
He made him for to failye of that fang.
Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro.
He for our saik that sufferit to be slane,
And lyk a lamb in sacrifice was dicht,
Is lyk a lion risen up agane,
And as a gyane raxit him on hicht;
Sprungen is Aurora radious and bricht,
On loft is gone the glorious Apollo,
The blissful day departit fro the nicht:
Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro.
The grit victour again is rissen on hicht,
That for our querrell to the deth was woundit;
The sun that wox all pale now shynis bricht,
And, derkness clearit, our faith is now refoundit;
The knell of mercy fra the heaven is soundit,
The Christin are deliverit of their wo,
The Jowis and their errour are confoundit:
Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro.
The fo is chasit, the battle is done ceis,
The presone broken, the jevellouris fleit and flemit;
The weir is gon, confermit is the peis,
The fetteris lowsit and the dungeon temit,
The ransoun made, the prisoneris redeemit;
The field is won, owrecomen is the fo,
Dispuilit of the treasure that he yemit:
Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro.
— William Dunbar, Done is a Battle

Musings

  • Boo’s cross country has started again.  The first day was kind of shaky for him, but by day two, he seemed to be enjoying himself.  And by enjoying himself, I mean he wasn’t collapsing to lay on the ground and moan after finishing a mile.
  • Girlie Bear is settling into college quite nicely.  I was informed today that ramen noodles cooked in canned french onion soup are quite tasty.
    • We are already planning on making a lot of her favorite meals when she comes home for a weekend.
  • Tried my hand at smoking a ham today.  Next time, I either need to give it more time or more heat, or both.  The smoke ring on the open, flat side, was quite good and yummy, though.
  • Of course the air conditioning broke at my office on Friday.  I mean, it was just in the 90’s for both temperature and humidity, and we can’t open windows or have fans.
    • Honestly, it reminded me a lot of working in a field SCIF in Louisiana.
  • Garden update –
    • Tomatoes are winding down.  Once we get the garden done this year, we’re going to have to douse the tomato section with herbicide and reapply if necessary.  Crab grass and creepers have been terrible this year.
    • I foresee construction of another blackberry patch in my future.  The canes we have now are starting to take over vegetable beds and the neighbor’s yard.
    • Peppers, bell and otherwise, are making a comeback after something ate them up a couple months ago.
    • The last of the onions are out of the dirt and in the freezer.
    • The second crop of green beans is doing well, with the first gallon bucket coming in tonight.  Coincidentally, I have 3/4 of a ham in the refrigerator and a bunch of fresh onions from the garden.
    • We harvested about 1/3 of the almonds from the tree this year, but left the rest for the squirrels.  The washed nuts are in the freezer now.  We are researching the best way to roast and use them.  Next year, the squirrels are going to be out of luck if our small-batch experiments work out.
    • We have several volunteer blueberry bushes growing in the planters next to their parents.  Once they go dormant, I’ll get planters for them.

A Year of Poetry – Day 127

Bushes, valleys, silently,

You fill with misty light,

Easing my soul utterly

Again, at last, at night:

Soothingly you cast your gaze

Over a dark country,

As gentle and friendly eyes

Guard my destiny.

Glad, and troubled, times

Echo in my heart,

I walk between pain and delight,

In solitude, apart.

Flow on, beloved flood: flow on!

I’ll never know joy again,

Laughter and kisses, both are gone,

And loyalty flows away.

There was a time I had as yet

Life’s most precious thing!

Ah, a man can never forget

That which torments him!

River, through the valley, murmur,

Without rest or peace,

For my singing, gently whisper,

Murmuring melodies,

When you rage on winter nights

And then overflow,

Or when around the Spring’s delights

Of bursting buds, you go.

Happy are we if, without hate,

Hidden from the world,

We hold a friend to our heart

And with him explore

What, unknown to all their art,

Ignored, by all mankind,

Through the labyrinth of the heart

Wanders in the night.

— Goethe, To The Moon

Today’s Earworm

A Year of Poetry – Day 126

Hail sov’reign love that first began,
The scheme to rescue fallen man;
Hail matchless, free, eternal grace,
That gave my soul a Hiding-Place.

Against the God that rules the sky,
I fought with hands uplifted high;
Despis’d the mentions of his grace,
Too proud to seek a Hiding-Place.

Enwrapt in thick Egyptian night,
And fond of darkness more than light,
Madly I ran the sinful race,
Secure without a Hiding-Place.

But thus the eternal counsel ran,
Almighty Love arrest that man;
I felt the arrows of distress,
And saw that I’d no Hiding-Place.

Indignant Justice stood in view,
To Sina’s fiery mount I flew;
But Justice cry’d with frowning face,
This mountain is no Hiding-Place.

Ere long a Heav’nly voice I heard,
And Mercy’s angel form appear’d,
She led me on with placid pace,
To Jesus as my Hiding-Place.

Should storms of sevenfold thunder roll,
And shake the globe from pole to pole,
No flaming bolt should daunt my face,
For Jesus is my Hiding-Place.

On him almighty vengeance fell,
That must have sunk the world to hell:
He bore it for the chosen race,
And thus became their Hiding-Place.

A few more rolling suns at most,
Shall land us on fair Canaan’s coast,
Where we shall sing the song of grace,
And see our glorious Hiding-Place.

— Major Henry Livingston, Jr., Hiding Place

Quote of the Day

“Honey, do you hear thunder, or is it just me?” — Sextus Aemilius Nero, Pompei, AD 79

A Year of Poetry – Day 125

  From childhood's hour I have not been
        As others were; I have not seen
        As others saw; I could not bring
        My passions from a common spring.
        From the same source I have not taken
        My sorrow; I could not awaken
        My heart to joy at the same tone;
        And all I loved, I loved alone.
        Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
        Of a most stormy life- was drawn
        From every depth of good and ill
        The mystery which binds me still:
        From the torrent, or the fountain,
        From the red cliff of the mountain,
        From the sun that round me rolled
        In its autumn tint of gold,
        From the lightning in the sky
        As it passed me flying by,
        From the thunder and the storm,
        And the cloud that took the form
        (When the rest of Heaven was blue)
        Of a demon in my view.

-- Edgar Allan Poe, Alone
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