Monthly Archives: November 2017

Transcendent poetic fiction

Caryll Houselander ‘The Dry Wood’

“Save me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul.”

He had wanted his prayer and to be a draught of the shining water of Life, clear and sparkling, a fountain springing up from the dry dust of his heart, but the water that entered into his soul was the dark mysterious water of the Thames.

The water that carried men away to other lands, that brought them from distant, unknown worlds to London, that carried merchants and sailors and travelers to and fro on errands that sometimes separated, sometimes united men forever. The waters that flowed with tears of old mothers and lonely lovers. The waters that ran strong and black with tides of longing and of destiny, bringing men and women to one another’s arms or sweeping them away over seven seas. The waters that carried food and wine and merchandise to and fro between the cities of the world. Cargo of fruit, grapes and oranges and golden pomegranates, sugar candy, candy peel and spice, tea and coffee and sugar and nuts, bales of cotton and wool and silk, dyed vermilion and emerald and blue, and rugs from Persia and China and Egypt and India, and treasures of ivory and teakwood, metal and copper and jade, all the full measure of delight for the feast and splendor and laughter of living.

The water that whispered dark secrets down its tides, drugs that passed swiftly, silently from hand to hand, from thin yellow fingers in far off lands, to hands tattooed with flowers and hearts entwined with roses, to hands already crimson with blood, and black with the touch of evil gold, to terrible soft hands white in the moonlight, with scarlet nails.

Waters that carried outcast and derelicts and the lost and the forgotten, all the flotsam and jetsam of wrecked humanity to and fro, to and fro through time to the ultimate harbor. Waters that caressed strange little wooden wharfs, running furtively beside ramshackle warehouses and taverns, where here and there, a light behind a blind in a window cast a shower of golden petals on the dark ripples. Water that carried rats along the side of the wharfs, and into the ships and cities, waters that knew dark and lovely secrets, water that is the soul of London and brings the world to her heart.

Water that is part of the darkness of humanity flowing forever round the mystery of its light, water that is, with all its whispering and weeping and seeping darkness, symbol of the water of Life.
Water of the Thames, dark and lovely water, gently, gently lapping against the dockside, chug chug chug of the river Thames against the wharf, and Father O’Grady rocking, rocking, rocking, into the sleep of the dark water. Now his deep breathing too is woven into the lapping of the river and the rest of his prayer is sleep.

“Save me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul.”


Poem sent by the Cuban poet friend

a poem by Wendell Berry

I dream of a quiet man
who explains nothing and defends
nothing, but only knows
where the rarest wild flowers
are blooming, and who goes,
and finds that he is smiling
not by his own will.


St Dominic’s morning Mass & Holy Hour

Author unknown

Queen of Heaven, pray for us!
Pray for us, your children,
Who entrust ourselves to you.
Pray for us so that we may never sin,
That we may love Jesus with all our hearts.
Beneath your mantle, O Mother,
We your children take refuge daily.
Gaze on us mother; watch over us.
All that we are and have,
We offer to Jesus through you.
Tach us, guide us, sustain us,
Defend us from every danger,
As you have done till now.
And after this exile,
Show us Jesus,
The Blessed Fruit of Your Womb.


Image Quietness

With respect to the soul,
Be gentle, kind, and clean,
Subtle with the awareness of dreams.
Do not pierce your love,
With things that should never be seen.


Holy Innocence

I returned to work in Twinsburg, Ohio.  Still reflecting, there will be more to say on this during the coming weekend.  For now, my thoughts go to reuniting, a coworker specific.  I learned his six-year-old daughter suffered immensely, the grace of mystery touching allowing the sorrowful opportunity for expanding faith, hope, and charity.  Her illness started as strep throat, then advanced to a flesh-eating virus that attacked her back and one leg severely.  The poor thing lost her leg just above the knee.  A solid Christian family, loving and intact, thoughts seem to linger regarding the reality.  It reminds me of words from a novel ‘The Dry Wood’ by Caryll Houselander.

“They had put Art’s misshapen infant into his own hands to hold, and he felt sure that they would not have done that if they meant him to live.  It was only for a moment, however, and then the nurse took him.  That was a black, agonized moment for Art Jewel.  In it something fierce and primitive awoke in him which afterwards never died.  He desired his son’s life as a thirsting man desires water.

And that son’s life was a tiny atom, a spark against which the whole force of what we call civilization conspired, the whole force of it, past, present, and future.  Out of the past a towering mass of evil cast long shadows across him—the greed, the selfishness, the cruelty, the lust, the infidelities, of generations of human beings.  A multitudinous procession of murder and innocence cast its fire and shadow on the wizened little face, as on the face of all children born into our world.

First of all, as if they swept past the Christ Child sleeping in the stone manger, the flock of Holy Innocents with jubilant cries like wild birds migrating, wild birds winging to the sun of the eternal light; the first martyrs, baptized only with the baptism of blood, with crimson stars tangled in their burning hair.  After them, all through the ages, came the martyrs whose death and resurrection seem the inevitable co-incidence of Christ’s birth, of the birth of life into the valley of the shadow of death.  And always dark on the burning brilliance of martyrdom, the shadow of murder, of the sevenfold evil that is death in man’s heart fighting against life.”

Caryll Houselander as a child.


Wisdom beyond grasping

I am positive a secular profound artist can capture the loss of innocence, the futility of errant ways, paths taken through tendencies, upbringing, and self-will, desperately seeking yet never reaching. Ends attained only through negation and frustration. There is something so honest and eye opening about an individual grasping the depth of banging one’s head against a brick wall; the desperate longing and reality of something greater, the need to attain more than one is able to produce. There lies truth, there lies reality, there lies blockage; beneath the turmoil a soul can be buried while suffering the consequence of truth, the awareness lingering something is missed, the knowing love exist yet seemingly out of reach. As with all spiritual growth, this initial stage–this call for acquiescence, this call to call out, produces attachment, the desire to become entrenched within familiarity and sentimentality; the effect of becoming a reputable personality. To grow, to merge within the fact one’s eyes are being opened by grace, is the key to deeper progress, further healing and further blossoming—the purging necessary for unification with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, and the loving tendering of a Sorrowful Mother; the ability to become obedient, disciplined, and malleable.

The Dogs

by Moby

We started like children
Lost in the building by the wall
Hope lost to fear
And nothing was clear when we lost it all

This is how, how we tried
This is where, where it died
This is how, how we cried
Like the dogs left outside

We were so cautious
Guarding the locksets viciously
I’m never breathing
Tender like ribbons obviously

This is how, how we tried
This is where, where it died
This is how, how we cried
Like the dogs left outside

I am too shy to cry
You gave her one kind to provoke
Even with balance
Losing the hope with you again

This is how, how we tried
This is where, where it died
This is…

In Wisdom is a spirit
intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain,
Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil,
all-powerful, all-seeing,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is an aura of the might of God
and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;
And passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.
For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun
and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she takes precedence;
for that, indeed, night supplants,
but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.

Indeed, she reaches from end to end mightily
and governs all things well.

Wisdom chapters 7 & 8