Strange Mercy

"... and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

Location: Mid-Atlantic Sprawl, United States

I'm a former idealist turned 'defensive pessimist' who has concluded, after living on two coasts, two continents, and an island, that most of us spend our lives as prey, economically and psychologically. Awareness is the key to understanding this; but once we understand it, we may transcend it, choosing, when we can, to be neither prey nor predator.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friend, in the Desolate Time

~~Erik Johan Stagnelius
[Translated from the Swedish by Bill Coyle]
Friend, in the desolate time, when your soul is enshrouded in darkness
    When, in a deep abyss, memory and feeling die out,
Intellect timidly gropes among shadowy forms and illusions
    Heart can no longer sigh, eye is unable to weep;
When, from your night-clouded soul the wings of fire have fallen
    And you, to nothing, afraid, feel yourself sinking once more,
Say, who rescues you then?—Who is the comforting angel
    Brings to your innermost soul order and beauty again,
Building once more your fragmented world, restoring the fallen
    Altar, and when it is raised, lighting the sacred flame?-—
None but the powerful being who first from the limitless darkness
    Kissed to life seraphs and woke numberless suns to their dance.
None but the holy Word who called the worlds into existence
    And in whose power the worlds move on their paths to this day.
Therefore, rejoice, oh friend, and sing in the darkness of sorrow:
    Night is the mother of day, Chaos the neighbor of God.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

An Easter Carol

[Mk 16]

ad majoram Dei gloriam

A morning cold, a world gone gray;
Three shadows in the dawning day
Drew near his grave with one accord;
"We shall anoint our dear dead Lord."

We tell this tale and fail to see
The depth of love and bravery
That brought them to this bitter place,
Despite their fear and His disgrace.

Criminal nailed to a tree,
Hoisted aloft at Calvary,
Left there to die alone, in shame;
But still their Lord. To Him they came.

And there the growing light revealed
A mystery. The stone that sealed
The sepulchre was rolled away;
His grave stood open to the day.

Then, braver still, they ventured in,
More mystery to find within;
There sat a stranger, clothed in white
Who spoke to them: "Take thee no fright;

He, whom thou seekest, is not here;
Put off thy mourning, take good cheer.
Vacant the place where once He lay;
He lives again this Sabbath Day.

Tell His disciples they shall see
Their Lord once more in Galilee."
Trembling, they fled a truth so vast
They feared to speak of what had passed.

But then to each again He came;
With gentleness He called each name,
Until they knew with certainty
He who had died stood risen, free.

Two thousand years and more beside,
It is another Eastertide;
While darkness mocks, the quiet brave
Remember still that empty grave.

Through death He strode; for us He came.
He hath no need of gold or fame.
With naught but our own souls to bring,
We reverence the Risen King.

-- Stormchild, 23 March 2008