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Delit þe Lombe for to deuise

Wyth much meruayle in mynde went

Best wat3 he blyþest and moste to pryse

Þat euer I herde of speche spent

So worþly whyt wern wede3 hys

His loke3 symple, hymself so gent

Bot a wounde ful wyde and weete con wyse

Anende hys hert þur3 hyde torente

Of his quyte syde his blod outsprent

Alas, þo3t I, who did þat spyt

Ani breste for bale a3t haf forbrent

Er he þerto hade had delyt

AgnusDei

To devise such delight the Lamb

went with much marvel in mind.

Best was he, happiest, and most to praise,

that ever I heard of in speech that was spent.

So worthily white were his clothes –

his looks simple, himself so noble.

But a very wide and wet wound could be seen

near his heart, torn through his skin.

From his white side his blood sprayed out.[i]

Alas, I thought, who did that spiteful deed?[ii]

Any breast for sorrow ought to have broken

before he had any delight from that.

(trans. Jane Beal)

[i]  This wound has its direct parallel in the piercing of Christ’s side on the cross.

[ii] It is significant that the Dreamer phrases this line as a question.  According to the gospels, historically, Christ’s side was pierced by a Roman soldier, but spiritually, according to Church doctrine, Christ’s sufferings on the Cross were caused by the sinful deeds of all humanity.

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THE POETRY PLACE

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is
nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the…

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Deep roots, high branches

SANCTUARY POET

mt120-winter-2016 My poem, “The Tree of Your Life,” now appears in Midwifery Today 120 (Winter 2016), 4.

POEM: 

The tree of your life
has deep roots in the earth
and branches sky-high:

like a mother’s placenta
imprinted dark red
on a white piece of paper –
like da Vinci’s Renaissance drawings of man:
a microcosm in the macrocosm
of the universe –
like an ancient parable of a mustard seed
that springs up into eternity
where souls, like birds, find their home.

Every green leaf of your tree
holds the veins of memory,
open and thriving with sap:

so that even when the leaf ages in autumn,
turns red, then golden, then brown,
and falls, crackling under careless feet,
a powerful wind comes and carries away
the precious molecules of your tree-dust,
in which every cell holds the DNA
of the past that fertilizes the future
and the new seeds, the…

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Beautiful in winter

Autumn Sky Poetry Daily

4curvysnowBeyond All Bearing

In winter, when pines weary,
When aligned limbs quiver with longing,
And the ground moans under gravity’s weight,
It’s then, through the northern night
That concentric silver circles radiate
Like wind-borne waves racing shoreward,
Beautiful beyond all bearing.
. . . . . . . .Swifter still—
God speeds across the cosmos
Earthward, arms open wide.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, December 7, 2015 — by Susan Delaney Spear

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

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SANCTUARY POET

literaturetodayMy poem, “The Ladder of Contemplation,” now appears in Literature Today 5 (2016), 27.

And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! Genesis 28:12


THE LADDER OF CONTEMPLATION

Sometimes the total madness of being human
makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.
Like that acrobat-girl I saw on a Cirque du Soleil stage
in San Francisco: surrounded by smiling performers,
she could not pretend.

The ladders on that stage reached into the heights
of the circus tent, and men and women climbed them,
only to jump down, dancing in mid-air,
or bicycling upside down, or flipping and spinning
and landing, feet-first, on the trampoline

and bouncing back, reaching out to catch the ropes
swinging above their heads, like angels

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How Can It Be?

How can it be that you are there
Quiet, hidden and at peace
In the long still silence of the monastery cell
And then, joyful and clamorous
In the eternal songs
Of thunder, waterfall and fire?

How can it be
That, from the first beginnings and beyond,
Your gentle love
Fills to teeming fullness and repletion
The atom and the universe, unceasingly?

How can it be that you gaze
Upon my frailty
Only to love
So deeply what you see?

Daniel Kerdin
Of Poetry and God (2016)

jean-francois-millet-the-angelus-l-angelus

L’Angélus de Millet

Conveyed there by an artist’s hand
In peasant garb, at harvest time,
A couple in the twilight stand
As church bells, in the distance, chime
And ring out to remind the pair
And others who are at their toil
That here and now is time for prayer
And time to leave the busy soil
And so the tools of work are laid
Aside, while labour turns to rest,
And there the Angelus is prayed
Her hands are joined, his cap is pressed
Against his breast, their heads are bowed
The sun sets silent as they say
The reverential words aloud
Which they repeat, this hour, each day:
An angel’s pledge do they avow?
Or does some grief inflame their prayer?
The basket holds its secret now
The unseen coffin, hidden there.

Daniel Kerdin
Of Poetry and God (2016)

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