It’s that time of year where we begin to transition. School is starting. The days are shorter. And, if you don’t live in the South like me, the weather is starting to cool down. We’ve also entered into harvest time. Lammas day began the month, bringing us the harvest. In the words of an Anglo-Saxon … More Thomas Hardy’s Harvest
One day, Fr. Gerard had a moment with a bird. It was a sunlit morning when he saw a kestrel hover magnificently in the wind as a knight rides a horse. And being Hopkins, he wrote a poem about it: I caught this morning morning’s minion, king- dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding … More Kingbird Don’t Care
With this week’s post on lost works, I thought we could spend a little more time meditating on the mystery of failure with Gerard Manley Hopkins. During a retreat in 1883, he wrote this about his own poetry: …in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions, not to preserve … More Hopkins Praying about His Own Poetry
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
On August 9th another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, though Hiroshima was still burning. – Thomas Merton … More Thomas Merton on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
You know the movement to make traditional bad guys good in children’s stories, or to at least give their side of the story. When I was a boisterous oddly serious public school lad, I remember a story that had recast the big bad wolf as a hapless neighbor who only wanted sugar from his selfish … More The Big Bad Wraecca
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?