Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Adventures

No new poetry right now. The family is moving to another state in the southwest. We're going someplace that is a little closer to our hearts---kinda quirky and offbeat and more historic & ethnic. We've been living in a wealthy white retirement "paradise" which has not been as much paradise to us! We hope to serve God better in a place that, at a deeper level, makes more "sense" to us!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Holy God, We Praise Your Name

[a hymnodic paraphrase of the ancient chant, the Te Deum]

Holy God, we praise Your Name;
Lord of all, we bow before You!
All on earth Your scepter claim*,
All in Heaven above adore You;
Infinite Your vast domain,
Everlasting is Your reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

Lo! the apostolic train
Join the sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the loud refrain,
And the white robed martyrs** follow;
And from morn to set of sun,
Through the Church the song goes on.

You are King of glory, Christ:
Son of God, yet born of Mary;
For us sinners sacrificed,
Bringing us a sanctuary:
First to break the bars of death,
You have opened Heaven to faith.

Therefore do we pray You, Lord:
Help Your servants whom, redeeming
By Your precious blood out-poured,
You have saved from Satan’s scheming.
Give to them eternal rest
In the glory of the blest.

Spare Your people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us from falling away,
Never let us be confounded.
See, I put my trust in You:
Guide my footsteps in all that I do.

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit,
Three we name You;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim You;
And adoring bend the knee,

While we own the mystery.
---Ignaz Franz (German), 1774; adapted Marie Byars, 2008

*more specifically, all of nature & all the saved acknowledge Him willingly now; someday, everyone will be made to acknowledge Him
**"martyrs": those who died as a result of their faith, giving a powerful Christian witness. ("Martyros" in Greek originally meant "witness.")

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Vivaldi's "Summer"

[This continues the series of sonnets Antonio Vivaldi wrote to accompany & explain each of his "Four Seasons" concertos.]

In a harsh season burned by the sun,
Man and flock languish,
And the pine tree is scorched;
The cuckoo unleashes its voice, and soon
We hear the songs of the turtle-dove and the goldfinch.

Sweet Zephyr* blows, but Boreas** suddenly
Opens a dispute with his neighbor;
And the shepherd laments his fate,
For he fears a fierce squall is coming.

His weary limbs are robbed of rest
By his fear of fierce thunder and lightning
And by the furious swarm of flies and blowflies.

Alas, his fears are only too real:
The sky fills with thunder and lightning,
And hailstorms hew off the heads of proud cornstalks.

*A sweet, gently warm west wind
**A cold, fierce north wind (in large, flat countries, the collision of these two can brew tornadoes)

[obviously, Vivaldi was not a big fan of summer]