January 5, 2013
A Poetry Break!
I sat down to take a break from organizing and storing Christmas items only to pick up Mary Oliver's new poetry book that Dani gave me for Christmas. I love Mary Oliver, and I couldn't help but feel that this poem spoke to me and complimented my posting yesterday -- at least it felt in the groove. So, here is your poem for today!
Hum, Hum #6 by Mary Oliver from "A Thousand Mornings"
The resurrection of the morning.
The mystery of the night.
The hummingbird's wings.
The excitement of thunder.
The rainbow in the waterfall.
Wild mustard, that rough blaze of the fields.
The mockingbird, replaying the songs of his
The bluebird with his unambitious warble
simple yet sufficient.
The shining fish. The beak of the crow.
The new colt who came to me and leaned
against the fence
That I might put my hands upon his warm body
and know no fear.
Also the words of poets
a hundred or hundreds of years dead--
their words that would not be held back.
January 4, 2013
I have been sick. Before Christmas, Dani and James had the strangest cold. If you called in the morning hours or the evening hours, they were in bed not feeling well. But, during the afternoon they were hopping around like all was well although coughing a little bit. Theirs hung on for three weeks. Charles & Nico had it for two or three days. Now I understand what it was all about. Since New Year's Eve, I have awakened with a horrible sore throat and small fever. It was all I could do to drag myself downstairs for a cup of tea and some toast. Then, miraculously the sore throat and fever vanished with a little bit of medicine and by afternoon I felt fine. Then, I flagged in the evening but went to bed without any aches or pains only to awaken around 2:00 a.m. when the throat began to be sore again. Today was the first morning I had no fever or sore throat -- but a lingering cough that is not too deep. Since I only had two appointments to cancel this week, I have been lying low since I don't want this to last as long as Dani's! Today I went out for a few errands, and I found it was surprisingly cold outside! I've been so warm and toasty all week.
The rest of the day, I have been putting away Christmas little by little. I'm sure it is going to take three or four days to accomplish gathering boxes and cleaning off candle holders. My basement looks like a cyclone hit it -- but it will get sorted out. Somehow, putting away Christmas has made me as nostalgic as decorating did. I can put away the ornaments, but not the sentiment. It is still a miracle to have the house decorated yearly with items collected over a lifetime. It is still exciting to hear the familiar strains of The Messiah and to sing Christmas Carols and light candles at church. It is still a wonderful feeling to see Christmas through the eyes of your little grandchildren and to spend time with the people you love most on this earth.
I have been thinking a great deal about faith these days. Sometimes these thoughts take me down alleys and into side roads in the most curious ways. One of my favorite playwrights, Bill Cain, has written "How to Write a New Book for the Bible" and "Equivocation" which I saw twice. In the credits to the plays, I found that Cain, a Jesuit priest, also wrote a television show several years ago that Don and I loved called "Nothing Sacred." It was about a priest that struggled with his faith and how to be true to his calling. Obviously, the Catholic Church didn't approve of priests that had any doubts since they applied enough pressure to cancel the series before the year was out. We were very disappointed and wrote letters to the producers to no avail. On that show was a prayer that touched me, but I never could find anywhere. Every once in awhile, I Googled the old program hoping to find it. A few days ago, I was reading a book for our book group about Ireland, and was reminded again of the prayer. I once again went to Google, but I must have gone farther afield because this time I found one of the episodes that still existed available for viewing. After trying every which way to figure out how to contact Bill Cain, here miraculously was the very program with the prayer in it.
It was written in the style of St. Patrick's "Breastplate Prayer,' but I'm pretty sure it was well adapted by Bill Cain and the show's other writers. I am delighted to find it again. It fits my present theological mood as I keep the spirit while putting away the trappings of Christmas. I have always loved the image of the Messiah coming not as a king or a ruler - a person of wealth and power, but as a tiny baby to bring love into the world. Would that we could follow in the footsteps of a Christ who fed the poor and healed the sick. Here, then, is the prayer (the parentheses are my adaptation since I could understand the words after faith):
I bind myself to the strong virtue of love
The obedience of angels
The prediction of prophets
The preaching of the apostles
The faith that (sustains me).
I bind myself to the power of heaven
To the light of the stars
The brightness of the moon
And the splendor of fire
The flashing of lightening
The swiftness of wind
The depth of the sea
The stability of earth
And the compactness of rocks
I bind myself today
God's power to guide me
God's might to uphold me
God's power to teach me
Gods eye to watch over me
God's ear to hear me
God's Word to give me speech
Christ with me and before me
Christ behind me and within me
Christ to the right of me
Christ to the left of me
Christ above me
Christ beneath me
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the eye of everyone who sees me
Christ in the ear of everyone who hears me
I bind myself today to the strong virtue of Christ