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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Veiled

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You store up powers of discretion and of decision by reading poetry. Poetry has always to deal with your future. And I’m already able to know what I positively cannot know about myself, in this very strange garment woven as a dream about the future. If you wanted to know the same truth, which the poet offers you, in the form of an ethical code, in the form of a lecture on morality, without this poetic veil, you would become a solemn ass.

It is asinine to study a course of ethics in advance. No situation which you will have to meet will ever have anything to do with all the abstract notions, and sentences, and phrases, which you have picked up in the process of learning about yourself, directly. But it is very different when you have read Goethe’s Werther, or Moby–Dick or Pierre, and then become despondent. Your despondency will be illuminated. You can strengthen and fortify your heart in this simile. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Make Bold To Be Ashamed, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 3, 2017 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Poetry, Quotations

Yes

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Soft is the breath of a maiden’s YES:
Not the light gossamer stirs with less;
But never a cable that holds so fast
Through all the battles of wave and blast,
And never an echo of speech or song
That lives in the babbling air so long!
There were tones in the voice that whispered then
You may hear to-day in a hundred men.

(Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Dorothy Q.“)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Posted in Marriage, Poetry

God spede

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A strong parting blessing:

It is time for me to go. May the Almighty
Father keep you and in His kindness
watch over your exploits. I’m away to the sea,
back on alert against enemy raiders.

(Beowulf: A New Verse Translation 316-319, Trans. Seamus Heaney)

Written by Scott Moonen

August 13, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Posted in Books, Poetry, Quotations

Gloria in Profundis

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By G. K. Chesterton

There has fallen on earth for a token
A god too great for the sky.
He has burst out of all things and broken
The bounds of eternity:
Into time and the terminal land
He has strayed like a thief or a lover,
For the wine of the world brims over,
Its splendour is spilt on the sand.

Who is proud when the heavens are humble,
Who mounts if the mountains fall,
If the fixed stars topple and tumble
And a deluge of love drowns all—
Who rears up his head for a crown,
Who holds up his will for a warrant,
Who strives with the starry torrent,
When all that is good goes down?

For in dread of such falling and failing
The fallen angels fell
Inverted in insolence, scaling
The hanging mountain of hell:
But unmeasured of plummet and rod
Too deep for their sight to scan,
Outrushing the fall of man
Is the height of the fall of God.

Glory to God in the Lowest
The spout of the stars in spate—
Where thunderbolt thinks to be slowest
And the lightning fears to be late:
As men dive for sunken gem
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it,
The fallen star has found it
In the cavern of Bethlehem.

Written by Scott Moonen

December 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Poetry

Strange loops

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Charlotte wrote this little poem today, inspired by one of the many clever poems in A Pizza the Size of the Sun:

Charlotte's poem

I’m pleased that she is tickled by this. Maybe she will one day share my delight in strange loops, quines, and such?

Ce n’est pas un billet de blog.

Written by Scott Moonen

August 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Posted in Personal, Poetry

All that is gold does not glitter

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I was trying to articulate recently to a friend why I so deeply love the over-arching savor of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I started to say that it was a world in which God was sovereign, but that doesn’t quite capture it.

Mark Horne has recently been posting on Proverbs and wisdom, and quoted Bilbo’s riddle of Strider:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

This made me think: Middle-earth is a world in which Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon are all true. It is a creation subjected to futility, unwillingly, but in hope, with an end of maturity and glory. Patience, waiting, longing, work and groaning are all required; and there is a bittersweetness to most joy and victory, because life comes through sacrifice and death. Tolkien does an outstanding job of helping you to feel the passage of time. The length of the book, Bombadil, the scouring of the Shire — it is all necessary in this light.

Tolkien writes of a story’s having a “glimpse of Truth.” Death and life themselves in Middle-earth have the savor of God’s world.

Written by Scott Moonen

March 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Decimal places

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Douglas Wilson, in Angels in the Architecture, writes of the connection between creatureliness and poetry:

Because we men cannot be God, we must learn to be good poets. (181)

And of the limits of precision compared to connotation, imagery and symbolism:

Words do not have decimal places. (191)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 26, 2010 at 6:10 am

Posted in Books, Poetry, Quotations