Archive | March, 2019

Aphorisms Are for the Birds

  Don’t count your chickens… the saying goes But I’m not counting, I’m imagining flocks of bids soaring, wheeling, roosting in the tops of the tallest pine trees. Who said anything about chickens, anyway? I’m dreaming murders of crows, murmurations of starlings, twitterings of sparrows, cooings of mourning doves, screechings of jays. I’m so enthused […]

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Reading Notes: January and February

Reading Notes January 2019 I joined two online reading groups and started reading Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and Trollope’s Can You Forgive Her? Ambitious? Yes. Foolishly so? Perhaps. Only time will tell. I abandoned The Bear and the Nightingale. I didn’t like where the story was going. I had no assurance I’d like where it ended […]

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First Words, First Poems

Among my pile of library books on poetry is one called The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. Today I jumped in to the first exercise: Try to recall a very early experience you had of reading or hearing language that interested or excited or […]

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First Sunday of Lent

Three things that caught my eye in today’s Morning Prayer. 1. “The Lord delights in his people” (antiphon, Morning Prayer, Sunday Week 1 of Lent) God is not angry, he is not sad, he is not fed up with us, or tolerating us. The Lord delights. The word delight makes me think of the way […]

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Difficulty as a Path Toward Concentration

“Difficulty itself may be a path toward concentration— expended effort weaves us into a task, and successful engagement, however laborious, becomes also a labor of love. The work of writing brings replenishment even to the writer dealing with painful subjects of working out formal problems, and there are times when suffering’s only open path is […]

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On Trying to Write Formal Poetry

I will put Chaos into fourteen lines And keep him there; and let him thence escape If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape Flood, fire, and demon — his adroit designs Will strain to nothing in the strict confines Of this sweet order, where, in pious rape, I hold his essence and amorphous […]

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As a mother comforts her son

“Oh that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort That you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! . . . As nurslings you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find […]

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