Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Huron Carol

['Twas in the Moon of Wintertime]

'Twas in the moon of wintertime
When all the birds had fled,
That God the Lord of all the earth
Sent angel choirs instead.
Before their light the stars grew dim
And wond'ring hunters heard the hymn:

Jesus, your King, is born;
Jesus is born!
In excelsis gloria!

Within a lodge of broken bark,
The tender Babe was found
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapped His beauty round
And as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high:

Jesus, your King, is born;
Jesus is born!
In excelsis gloria!

O children of the forest free,
The angels' song is true.
The Holy Child of earth and heav'n

Is born today for you
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy:

Jesus, your King, is born;
Jesus is born!
In excelsis gloria!   

---Jean de Brebeuf; 16th century; translated J.E. Middleton, 1926 (altered)


Friday, November 2, 2012

[I bring an unaccustomed wine]

[published at this Thanksgiving time to remind us to share those things for which we are thankful]   
"The First Thanksgiving";  J.L.G. Ferris, early 20th century

I bring an unaccustomed wine
To lips long parching, next to mine,
And summon them to drink.
Crackling with fever, they essay;
I turn my brimming eyes away,
And come next hour to look.
The hands still hug the tardy glass;
The lips I would have cooled, alas!
Are so superfluous cold,
I would as soon attempt to warm
The bosoms where the frost has lain
Ages beneath the mould.*      
Some other thirsty there may be
To whom this would have pointed me
Had it remained to speak.
"The First Thanksgiving"; Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, 1914


And so I always bear the cup
If, haply, mine may be the drop
Some pilgrim thirst to slake,--
If, haply, any say to me,
"Unto the little, unto me," **
When I at last awake.
---Emily Dickinson

*She attempted to help someone who was in need & ill.  But the person still died.
**Matthew 25:35.  Jesus said that whenever one of the believers takes the trouble to feed and clothe someone who seems to be "least" among the believers, it is as if they have helped out Jesus Himself. And Jesus indicates that this will be recognized on the Last Day, when He returns.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Fade tender lily,                      
Fade O crimson rose,
Fade every flower
Sweetest flower that blows.

Go chilly Autumn,
Come O Winter cold;
Let the green things die away
Into common mould.

Birth follows hard on death,
Life on withering:
Hasten, we shall come the sooner
Back to pleasant Spring.
---Christina Rossetti

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Autumn Song

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
---Dante Gabriel Rosetti, 1840's                             

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Arcturus is his other name [untitled]*

Arcturus** is his other name,—
I ’d rather call him star!
It ’s so unkind of science
To go and interfere! ...

What once was heaven, is zenith now.
Where I proposed to go When time’s brief
masquerade was done*,
Is mapped, and charted too! .... 

Perhaps the kingdom of Heaven’s changed*!
I hope the children there
Won’t be new-fashioned when I come,
And laugh at me, and stare!

I hope the father in the skies*
Will lift his little girl,— 
Old-fashioned, naughty***, everything,—
Over the stile of pearl!   ---Emily Dickinson

*Dickinson is concerned (complaining?) about how science categorizes things she simply wants to "experience."  She expresses some tongue-in-cheek concern that heaven may be this way, also.
**"Arcturus" means "Guardian of the Bear"; it is between the Big Bear (Big Dipper) and Little Bear (Little Dipper Constellations.
***Acknowledges her personal sinfulness

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Blue Jay

(excerpts from a longer poem)

cyanocitta cristata

No brigadier throughout the year
So civic as the jay.
A neighbor and a warrior, too,
With shrill felicity.

The pillow of this daring head
Is pungent evergreens;
His larder--terse and militant--
Unknown, refreshing things;
His character a tonic,
His future a dispute;
Unfair an immortality
That leaves this neighbor out.* 
      ---Emily Dickinson

*Romans 8 promises that all creation will be restored in heaven.  Others argue that animals won't go to heaven because they don't have immortal souls.  Hence the debate.       

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


"The wild animals honor Me:
The jackals and the owls
Because I provide water in the desert
And streams in the wasteland
To give drink to my people, My chosen,
The people I formed for Myself
So that they might declare My praise...

I, even I, am Yahweh,
And apart from Me there is no Savior."   Isaiah 43:19b-21; 11

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Christ the Lord is Ris'n Today

Christ, the Lord, is risen today,
Sons of men and angels say.
Raise your joys and triumphs high!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply!

Love's redeeming work is done,
Fought the fight, the battle won:
Lo! the Sun's eclipse* is over;
Lo! He sets in blood no more.

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal.
Christ hath burst the gates of hell.
Death in vain forbids His rise,
Christ hath opened paradise.

Lives again our glorious King!
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Once He died our souls to save;
Where thy victory, O grave?**

Soar we now where Christ hath led,
Following our exalted Head.
Made like Him, like Him we rise;
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

Hail, the Lord of earth and heaven.
Praise to Thee by both be given.
Thee we greet triumphant now.
Hail, the resurrection day.

King of glory, Soul of bliss,
Everlasting life is this:
Thee to know, Thy power to prove;
Thus to sing and thus to love.
---Charles Wesley, 1708

*Sun in the Sky AND the Son of God. Malachi 4:2; Messiah is the Sun of Righteousness. At Jesus's crucifixion, the Sun was darkened (Luke 23:45). Romans 8:19-21; all creation awaits its renewal & redemption along with our bodies at the end of time.
**St. Paul in I Corinthians 15:55, quoting Hosea 13:14

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Glory Be to Jesus

(Lent reflection)
Glory be to Jesus, Who, in bitter pains,
Poured for me the lifeblood From His sacred veins!
Grace and life eternal In that blood I find;
Blest be His compassion, Infinitely kind.
Oft as earth exulting Sends its praise on high,
Angel hosts, rejoicing,Make their glad reply.
Lift we then our voices,Swell the mighty flood;
Louder still and louder Praise the precious blood!
---At­trib­ut­ed to S. Al­fon­so, 18th century; adatped c.m.b., 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Beautiful Mountains

Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Psalm 8

O Yahweh, our Lord,
How majestic is Your Name in all the earth!

When I consider your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The Moon and stars,
which You have set in place....

--- King David, from Psalm 8
(Crescent Moon, Venus [below left], Jupiter; February 25, 2012)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love Divine

My lover is radiant and ruddy,
Outstanding among ten thousand [men].
His head is purest gold;
His hair is wavy, black as a raven.
His cheeks are like beds of spices,
[a garden] That produces fragrance.
His lips are lilies that drip with myrrh.
His arms are rods of gold,
Set with chrysolite.*
His chest is like polished ivory,
Set with sapphires.
His legs are pillars of marble,
Set on bases of pure gold...
His mouth is altogether sweet;
Everything about his is desirable.
This is my lover, This is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.
---Song of Solomon** 5:10-11; 13-15a; 16
*A green semi-precious stone
**This book describes physical, human love between a couple but is also a picture of the intense love God has for His people.

Monday, January 9, 2012


That I did always love,
I bring thee proof:
That till I loved
I did not love enough.

That I shall love alway,
I offer thee
That love is life,
And life hath immortality.

This, dost thou doubt, sweet?
Then have I
Nothing to show
But Calvary.*
---Emily Dickinson
* The mountain where Jesus died.