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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

The Dawn Wind

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At two o’clock in the morning, if you open your window and listen,
You will hear the feet of the Wind that is going to call the sun.
And the trees in the shadow rustle and the trees in the moonlight glisten,
And though it is deep, dark night, you feel that the night is done.
. . .

Rudyard Kipling, The Dawn Wind

Written by Scott Moonen

July 11, 2019 at 4:28 pm

Posted in Poetry

The Wild Rose (Wendell Berry)

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Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,

suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only a shade,

and once more I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

Wendell Berry, Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 153, originally from Entries

Written by Scott Moonen

March 27, 2019 at 6:30 pm

Posted in Poetry

The Law That Marries All Things (Wendell Berry)

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1.
The cloud is free only
to go with the wind.

The rain is free
only in falling.

The water is free only
in its gathering together,

in its downward courses,
in its rising into air.

2.
In law is rest
if you love the law,
if you enter, singing, into it
as water in its descent.

3.
Or song is truest law,
and you must enter singing;
it has no other entrance.

It is the great chorus
of parts. The only outlawry
is in division.

4.
Whatever is singing
is found, awaiting the return
of whatever is lost.

5.
Meet us in the air
over the water,
sing the swallows.

Meet me, meet me,
the redbird sings,
here here here here.

Wendell Berry, Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 136–137, originally from The Wheel

Written by Scott Moonen

March 4, 2019 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Poetry

Gift

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By Brooks Haxton. Source: The Atlantic. Hat Tip: John Barach

All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf
—ISAIAH 64:6

After my mother’s father died,
she gave me his morocco Bible.
I took it from her hand, and saw
the gold was worn away, the binding
scuffed and ragged, split below the spine,
and inside, smudges where her father’s
right hand gripped the bottom corner
page by page, an old man waiting, not quite
reading the words he had known by heart
for sixty years: our parents in the garden,
naked, free from shame; the bitterness of labor;
blood in the ground, still calling for God’s
curse. His thumbprints faded after the flood,
to darken again where God bids Moses smite
the rock, and then again in Psalms, in Matthew
every page. And where Paul speaks of things
God hath prepared, things promised them who wait,
things not yet entered into the loving heart,
below the margin of the verse, the paper
is translucent with the oil and dark
still with the dirt of his right hand.

Brooks Haxton, They Lift Their Wings to Cry

Written by Scott Moonen

March 4, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Poetry

Count

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The leveling of the water, its increase,
the gathering of many into much:
. . .

—Wendell Berry, “The Winter Rain”

Written by Scott Moonen

November 17, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Poetry

Half full

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There is a certain kind of fascination, a strictly artistic fascination, which arises from a matter being hinted at in such a way as to leave a certain tormenting uncertainty even at the end. It is well sometimes to half understand a poem in the same manner that we half understand the world. One of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance. (G. K. Chesterton, Robert Browning, chapter 6)

It is good to delight in the glory of something great even if you have barely begun to understood its greatness. It is good to read out of your league.

HT: John Barach

Written by Scott Moonen

September 1, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Poetry, Quotations

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