Posts tagged ‘sea’

April 12, 2012

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 of the sea.

By Gerard Manley Hopkins.

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February 27, 2012

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,
pattering the water with its feet to feed.

Peter, venturing onto that first
unfurled swell, saw the black gyre
below and knew the darkness.

He flailed his arms for rescue
as thunder cracked
a seam of doubt down his center.

He was lifted unto the shore like a bird
thick with oil. And after each wing
was delivered and each feather realigned,

the black stench still lingered:
a line beneath each nail
an itch inside his throat.

By Kristin George. Published in The Cresset (Lent 2012), page 31. Naming and walking silently are kingly things.

January 16, 2012

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 chaotic powers]: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm (Psalm 88, cf. Psalm 103, Isa. 51:9).

From Divine Craftsmanship by Jean Hani (28). And a little further on with more on just war (30):

War, on earth, is nothing but the reflection of the heavenly battle of Light against Darkness, of Christ against the Serpent. A christian can be sanctified through the sword in a just war.

…This means that in a war and on the earthly plane the earthly knight, the Christian soldier, occupies the place of angels, the heavenly cavalry surrounding Christ in the struggle against Evil.

Note on the Psalms quoted above: many commentators connect the cloven heads of Leviathan, Rahab and the storm waves to the cloven (and yet impressively surviving) head of the beast that comes out of the sea to join the dragon in John’s Revelation.

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December 8, 2011

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 of life,
having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity,
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas,
where storms will show your mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes,
and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ.

Attributed – to Sir Francis Drake as he set out to circumnavigate the world, 1577.

November 11, 2011

where the waves grow sweet

A friend cited this passage in an essay that I read today. From Reepicheep in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

“Where sky and water meet, Where the waves grow sweet, Doubt not,
Reepicheep, To find all you seek, There is the utter East.” I do not know what it
means. But the spell of it has been on me all my life.

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