Thursday, December 1, 2016

Journey of the Magi


A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey
:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The
very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the
melting snow.

There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to
travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was
all folly.




Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating
the darkness,
And
three trees* on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver**,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And
arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.


All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down

This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt.

I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different;

this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us,

like Death, our death***.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.



---T.S. Eliot, 1927  (c) by owner

* A foreshadowing of the three crosses, Jesus's and the two thieves
**Judas betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver
**Christ came to suffer death for our sins.  Death was haunting even the birth.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Golden Morning [Sun]

(apropos for Thanksgiving, though originally German)


The golden morning,
Joy her adorning,
On us is gleaming,
Rays brightly beaming,
With her beloved heart-quickening light.
My head and members
Lay deep in their slumbers,
But now awaking,
All sleep from me shaking,
Gazing on heav’n, I rejoice at the sight.


Mine eye’s beholding
God’s work unfolding,
Made for His glory,
Telling the story
Of all His power so mighty and great

And where the Father
His faithful shall gather
In peace, whenever

Earth’s ties they shall sever,
Leaving this mortal and perishing state.

Come ye with singing,
Our Maker bringing
Each good and blessing
We are possessing:
All be to God as an offering brought,
The best oblation
Our heart’s adoration.
Songs meet and thankful
Are incense and cattle
With which His pleasure most fitly is sought.



Evening and morning,
Sunset and dawning,
Wealth, peace, and gladness,
Comfort in sadness:
These are Thy works; all the glory be Thine!
Times without number,
Awake or in slumber,
Thine eye observes us,
From danger preserves us,
Causing Thy mercy upon us to shine.



Though all decayeth,
God ever stayeth,
Nor doth He waver,
He changeth never,
His Word and will have unchangeable ground.
His grace and favor
Are steadfast forever,
In our hearts healing
Death’s pangs that we’re feeling,
Keeping us now and eternally sound.



Father, O hear me,
Pardon and spare me;
Calm all my terrors,
Blot out mine errors
That by Thine eyes they may no more be scanned.

Order my goings,
Direct all my doings;
As it may please Thee,
Retain or release me;
All I commit to Thy fatherly hand.


The good and healthful,
The harmful, unhelpful,
Thou my Physician,
Who know’st my condition,
Hast ne’er more chastened than any should be.

Griefs, though heart-rending,
All have their ending;

Though seas be roaring
And winds outpouring,
Thereafter shines the dear sun’s bless├Ęd face.


Fullness of pleasure
And glorious leisure
Then will be given
To me there in heaven,
Where all my thoughts are directing their gaze.

Fullness of pleasure
And glorious leisure
Then will be given
To me there in heaven,
Where all my thoughts are directing their gaze.



--Paul Gerhardt, 1666.  Translation, composite.

Thursday, November 3, 2016



Last year Thanksgiving at Lake Tahoe, Nevada




For Thanksgiving, November and autumnal postings of the past, please use the menu links or click on some of the linked tags below.  God bless you!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Poem in October

 
It was my thirtieth year to heaven*
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heronPriested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumnAnd walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
Summery
On the hill's shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels

And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and seaWhere a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singingbirds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven* stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart's truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year's turning.                         


---Dylan Thomas, 1944 (Welsh)   

*A person alive 30 years, that far along his journey to heaven.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Rio Grande (Albuquerque) Botanical Garden


Black-Eyed Susans

Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea)

Yellow Coneflowers

Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot)
Notice tiny red flower in center cluster


Yellow Columbine


"The wilderness and parched land will be glad;
And the desert-plain will rejoice and blossom;
Like the crocus it will bloom profusely
And rejoice greatly and shout for joy
[because of Messiah]."  Isaiah 35: 1-2a

Black-Eyed Susans redux
(personal faves)


Saturday, July 2, 2016

God Bless Our Native Land


God bless our native land;
Firm may she ever stand
Through storm and night:
When the wild tempests rave,
Ruler of wind and wave,
Do Thou our country save

By thy great might.


For her our prayers shall rise
To God, above the skies;
On Him we wait.

Thou who art ever nigh,
Guarding with watchful eye,

To Thee aloud we cry,
God save the state!


And not to us alone, 
But be Thy mercies known
From shore to shore.


 








 


 

  Lord, make the nations see
That men should brothers be
And form one family
The wide world o'er.



Verses 1-2, Siegfried A. Mahlmann, 1815;
Verse 3, William E. Hickson, 1835

(sung to the tune "America")