June 2007


I felt the touch by Virgo Maria this morning. I saw a brown, almost gray cross on a bright blue, stained window. I woke with a feeling of motherly care, love and joy.

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Comforter, where is your comforting?

 

As a hobby I translate GM Hopkins poetry to Swedish. It’s an impossible task and I will never be able to satisfyingly complete this project. His poetry is far to interlinked with the English language and how he perceived things in his time… But this is why I enjoy it so much. It’s not about accomplish something. It’s about being close to my favorite poet.

Poems and texts are living things and you should keep changing them and letting them evolve until you grasp what was meant to be said. This is my way of keeping his poetry alive. At least for me.

I used to be quite keen on writing my own poetry, but I haven’t for more than a decade. In my previous post on this blog, I finally wrote one… Well this wasn’t much of a poem to start with. It was more one of those things, when you need to formulate something and you don’t now beforehand what will come out.

I guess this one reflects the strange mood I’ve been in lately. I think it’s a response to all that has happened to me and my family this past year. My mothers disease, which have been really hard for us all in the family, (she’s better now) and I guess all other things that has happened, like my conversion, what I’m good at and what I’m not good at, people I met and a lot of thoughts on where I’m heading in life. To me life seems to be an on going lesson in humbleness. I guess thats why I’m where I’m at. I Don’t know if there’s any reminiscence left of this in the text though.

I find that poems have a habit of taking their own turns after a while. There are things that triggers the writer so he/she writes a text. The produced text triggers change to conform to that someone else will read it. This is what I find most interesting. Hopefully this process eventually end up in a text that triggers a reader. Text as interaction.

The title “Comforter, where is your comforting” in my poem is a quote from one of GMH’s “terrible sonnets”. The question – as I interpret it – is not whether there is a comforter, but when, how and where the comforting will come.

Some people misinterpret his late poems as being a record of lost faith. To me this is not grasping the texts at all. Then they would have lost their worth. Hopkins saw Gods beauty and presence in everything, not just in his wonderful descriptions of a God charged nature, as in his most famous poems, but also in patterns of urine in the snow, over a little child’s first communion, the death of five nuns in a shipwreck, in music and paintings, in Duns Scotus and a lot more that we will never know about; until his naked and bare stripped poems from his depression, at the end of his life. His poems do not deal with lost faith at all, as I see it. Rather the opposite. In all of his poems the world is charged with the grandeur of God.

Sometimes it’s like Christians can’t be depressed misfits or rational humans with ups and downs… It’s like we are supposed to be those cheerful, innocuous proper groups of people overfilled with joyful feelings from an ever happy and harmless Holy Spirit.

Measure-The-Presence-Of-Christ-By-The-Smile-On-Your-Face kind of folks… Otherwise someone comes along and tells us that we are doubting our faith.

Well, I was feeling moody late one night, pondering Hopkins, me and my mum, thinking about my faith and my world. 😦 Then I wrote this poem and posted it here on the blog. The next day, on the same day we celebrated John the Baptist btw, Ann from Poetry, Prayer and Praise made a reference to John 3:30 in a comment. This clarified a lot to me of what it was about.

And as I spoke earlier of living texts, well, I just had to change the text in the poem.

People often speak of the importance to “kill your darlings” when you write a text. Well, sometimes you have to incorporate them. 😉

So here’s the new and improved comforter poem.

I hope someone will find it enjoyable. It’s alive and kicking. 🙂

 

 

 

Comforter, where is your comforting?

Comforter. Where is your Comforting?

Sometimes I strip myself to the bones and take a dip in the Mourn & Displease. The Lord steps back and it seems as I’m left with my own.

What else to do, when you’re tired of struggling than to keep on, on your knees? What’s left, when you’re emptied and flown?

The more destitute the better, less makes room for more. Known attainments are not to start off with. You must increase. Let me decrease.

Should I embrace the dead end, even of my efforts? Should I let thrown be thrown? Am I here for comforts? Is this a gift of sun breeze – and ease?

Or not?

Comforter 2

Found a photo from Port Meadow in Oxfordshire that I first thought was the actual poplars that Hopkins wrote about in his poem Binsey Poplars. The Binsey poplars where felled in 1879.

After a bit more research I found that Port Meadow is just beside Binsey. The Thames divide them. So it seems that these poplars where very very close, but is not the actual ones. After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.

The photograph is a picture of a similar copse, in the same area, in about the same time – as in the wonderful poem Binsey Poplars (see below) by Gerard Manley Hopkins S.J.

Poplars

In the photograph you can see two young schoolgirls. They are crossing a small bridge over a stream in Port Meadow sometime between 1860 to 1922. (This is the time when the photographer Henry Taunt was active and the photograph must have been taken). *

Schoolgirls at Port Meadow

 

 

    MY aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
    Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
    All felled, felled, all are felled;
    Of a fresh and following folded rank
    Not spared, not one
    That dandled a sandalled
    Shadow that swam or sank
    On meadow and river and wind-wandering
    weed-winding bank.
    O if we knew but what we do
    When we delve or hew–
    Hack and rack the growing green!
    Since country is so tender
    To touch her, being so slender,
    That, like this sleek and seeing ball
    But a prick will make no eye at all,
    Where we, even when we mean
    to mend her we end her,
    When we hew or delve:
    After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
    Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
    Strokes of havoc unselve
    The sweet especial scene,
    Rural scene, a rural scene,
    Sweet especial rural scene.

* The photograph can be found at The English Heritage NMR. The reference number is BB72/06698. You can see some more recent photographs of the area here: Oxfordinciter

Since I posted my last post – From the land of the OT – earlier today, I have tried to gather some more information about the Chaldean church. It is one of the ancient churches of the Eastern rite within the Roman Catholic Church. There are a couple of hundred thousand (depending on sources between 380 000 to 800 000) members scattered throughout the world. Their official website is: www.kaldu.org

RAGHEED

As recently as in the beginning of this month a priest (Fr Ragheed Ganni) was hit by gunfire in front of his church in Mosul. Three deacons, who served as his aides, were also killed. Before opening fire on Fr. Raghhed Gani and his three deacons, the killers demanded their conversion to Islam. They are truly martyrs and our beloved pope Benedict expressed his deep and heartfelt condolences and called the tragedy a costly sacrifice which will inspire in the hearts of all men and women of good will a renewed resolve to reject the ways of hatred and violence. Read more about it here and here. This was not the first time clergy was killed in Iraq during this war.

Please pray for their souls.

In Asianews I found several articles about the horror the Christians in Iraq faces on a daily base. Somewhat a glimpse of light was the article about Hani Abdel Ahad, another priest who was released yesterday after being kidnapped for 12 days. Read more about it here.

 


The Assault on Assyrian Christians in Iraq

 

I remember a party in the early 90’s. Desert storm was on cnn 24/7. At the party an acquaintance of mine from England met someone else’s acquaintance who was from Iraq. No one had thought of this when we where inviting people. It turned out they both had brothers fighting in the war, one on each side.

Very quickly they became friends. They understood each others situation better than any of us stupid Swedes could. It was amazing to be a witness of this. Friendship comes out of brotherly love and it runs deeper than the hatred that comes out of war. Whenever I hear the expression Brothers in arms I think of this.

Please remember all the people, both civilians and soldiers, Christians and Muslims in your prayers. We are all children of God.

Mother of God

but currently resided in the UK, comes this interesting blog about the Iraqi Christians. Please don’t forget to pray for all the modern martyrs in the middle East as well as in China and other places around the world.

And by the way: Do you know why there is the letter I, in sin or what the twelve promises of the sacred heart was?

Check out this blog : The dream of a voyage to peace.

Iraq

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