Ever think about all the art that has been lost? Beowulf comes out of an oral tradition of scops singing from a trove of texts. We have this manuscript, which fortunately survived the fitting-yet-sad fire at Ashburnham House, but what about all the other poems? Or what about all the ephemeral moments when a scop arranged … More Kept with Fonder a Care
Why do we enjoy tragedies? Why is there something almost pleasant about an elegy. We watch King Lear, knowing that the moment will come when he carries Cordelia out. We watch Macbeth to hear “Out, out, brief candle!” I’ve noticed that I enjoy Old English poetry and the works of Thomas Hardy because they enter … More Why Do We Enjoy Suffering in Literature?
Easter Communion Pure fasted faces draw unto this feast: God comes all sweetness to your Lenten lips. You striped in secret with breath-taking whips, Those crookèd rough-scored chequers may be pieced To crosses meant for Jesu’s; you whom the East With drafth of thin and pursuant cold so nips Breath Easter now; you sergèd fellowships, […]
‘O Death, Death’ O Death, Death, He is come. O grounds of Hell make room. Who came from further than the stars Now comes as low beneath. Thy ribbèd ports, O Death Make wide; and Thou, O Lord of Sin, Lay open thine estates. Lift up your heads, O Gates; Be ye lift up, ye […]
There have been far too few Kirk hugs on here lately. I think everyone needs one. And here’s something else open-armed and consoling from America’s bard (yes we have a bard), Walt Whitman: I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and … More This Kirk Hug is for You
In the sonnet, “Felix Randal,” Gerard Manley Hopkins remembers a local Liverpool blacksmith that he had ministered to. Thanks to the work of Alfred Thomas, we even know who inspired this poem. One of Hopkins’s parishioners, A Liverpool farrier by the name of Felix Spence, died after suffering from an illness in 1880. Usually when … More “Felix Randal” as a Pattern for Remembering Hopkins