Seamus Heaney reads “St. Kevin and the Blackbird”

I'm sad to learn of the death of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who has been called Ireland's most important poet since W. B. Yeats. Among the many treasures in  his body of work, I especially love "St. Kevin and the Blackbird" which we can see the poet reading in the following video. This was on the occasion of Heaney's 70th birthday and his publisher's 80th anniversary; with that in mind, his comments at the beginning of the video before reading the poem are well said, and quite important in … [Read more...]

Inside the Shell

Mark Doty has written a wonderful poem called "A Green Crab's Shell." You can read it here. It's about finding a crab shell and wondering at the beautiful shock of "Giotto blue" found within it — the color of the sky, carried by the crab all life long and yet invisible to all (except God). It took the crab's death, probably at the beak of some hungry seagull, to reveal this lovely, hidden color. Doty goes on to muse about what kinds of treasures you and I carry, hidden within our skin, that only … [Read more...]

On a pleasant bank beside a river by moonlight…

Happy birthday, William Blake. An Angel came to me and said: 'O pitiable foolish young man! O horrible! O dreadful state! consider the hot burning dungeon thou art preparing for thyself to all eternity, to which thou art going in such career.' I said: 'perhaps you will be willing to shew me my eternal lot & we will contemplate together upon it and see whether your lot or mine is most desirable.' So he took me thro' a stable & thro' a church & down into the church vault at the end of … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Listen to the prophets, not to some adolescent boy. The foundation and the walls of the spiritual life are made of self-denials and disciplines.Stay with friends who support you in these. Talk with them about sacred texts, and how you're doing, and how they're doing, and keep your practices together. — Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, from The Essential Rumi … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. — T. S. Eliot, from "East Coker," The Four Quartets … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything, Desire to have pleasure in nothing. In order to arrive at possessing everything, Desire to possess nothing. In order to arrive at being everything, Desire to be nothing. In order to arrive at knowing everything, Desire to know nothing. — John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel … [Read more...]

Félix Caeli Porta

Yes, the concert last night by the Atlanta Schola Cantorum was gorgeous. And among other things, it ramped up my interest in the early medieval hymn, Ave Maris Stella. I spent a little bit of time last night and this morning looking at various translations of it, trying to find one that would work as a devotional prayer (one of my Lay Cistercian promises is to cultivate a devotion to Mary, and it seems that praying the Ave Maris Stella would be a worthy means to that end). But I couldn't find … [Read more...]