you must labour in the sea

Found in the unfinished novel The Notion Club Papers, this is the “The Death of St. Brendan” by J.R.R. Tolkien: At last out of the deep seas he passed, and mist rolled on the shore; under clouded moon the waves were loud, as the laden ship him bore to Ireland, back to wood and mire,Continue reading “you must labour in the sea”

confirm our song and lead our feast

Excerpts from Royal Hours on the Eve of the Theophany (Epiphany). [Served on Friday, January 5, 2018. © 2006 The Orthodox Church in America.] The river Jordan was turned back by the mantle of Elisha, after Elijah had been taken up to heaven. The waters were parted in two, and the stream became a dryContinue reading “confirm our song and lead our feast”

a few lilies blow

Heaven—Haven A nun takes the veil       I HAVE desired to go       Where springs not fail, To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail     And a few lilies blow.     And I have asked to be       Where no storms come, Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,     And out of the swing ofContinue reading “a few lilies blow”

so named for Peter

Names never cease to amaze me. In the hands of this poet, two familiar stories flow out of one simple name, each informing the other. Petrel So named for Peter, the one who tried to walk on water. The Storm Petrel, small as a sparrow with a frantic, pulsing flight, stays silent at sea, patteringContinue reading “so named for Peter”

sanctified through the sword in a just war

Here warfare represents creation itself as a struggle, and finally the triumph, of order against the disorder of original Chaos. (War, moreover, is justified to the extent that it aims at eliminating a disorder and reestablishing the order demanded by the law of creation): Thou rulest the raging of the sea [symbol of the chaoticContinue reading “sanctified through the sword in a just war”

losing sight of land, we shall find the stars

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters ofContinue reading “losing sight of land, we shall find the stars”