the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking

Advent Patrick Kavanagh We have tested and tasted too much, lover— Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder. But here in the Advent-darkened room Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea Of penance will charm back the luxury Of a child’s soul, we’ll return to Doom The knowledge we stole […]

compared to the celebrations we like to hold on Twelfth Night

New Year’s is still a minor observance for us, and nothing to compared to the celebrations we like to hold on Twelfth Night, the eve of Epiphany, when the last of the Christmas presents are opened, games are played, and the decorations come down from the tree. (I know many Americans think of Christmas as […]

Advent Reading of George MacDonald’s Lilith

George MacDonald’s Lilith is almost entirely populated by mothers and children. Therefore, it was natural to think often of Mary and her child while washing dishes and listening to Lilith during this Advent season. (I used an audio recording made by Pete Williams for LibriVox supplemented by occasional references to a free text download from Project Gutenberg.) Lilith: A Romance was […]

that trinity of eating, drinking and praying

Dickens had in his buffoonery and bravery the spirit of the Middle Ages. He was much more mediaeval in his attacks on medievalism than they were in their defences of it. It was he who had the things of Chaucer, the love of large jokes and long stories and brown ale and all the white […]

what it means to have a past

But over the decades you have provided for us such incomparably beautiful Christmases that my thankful remembrance of them is strong enough to light up one dark Christmas. Only such times can really reveal what it means to have a past and an inner heritage that is independent of chance and the changing of the […]

our hearts burst open in the heat

The Magi We kick our camels’ sides and curse, but they refuse to rise, as if this house were the only oasis in a trackless desert, and this child, playing in the doorway, the owner of the well. They swing their ponderous heads slowly from side to side. Their silver harness bells tinkle, their vermillion […]