Each of the select will be marked with a seal, ash on the on the chosen one’s forehead signifying all grief and guilt consumed, reduced to the ashes of this burnt-out sign.
Dust to dust and ashes to ashes, for of dust are we made, and though the embers may glow for a little while, that ash will soon grow cold. Words are quick forgotten yet memories linger.
They wander among celestial fields of glory where nimbuses of nebulae crab sideways to claw-crack veiled mysteries in an effort, often vain, to reveal them and lay them bare.
Bird song, far below, flickering fading, luminous confusion of son et lumière, infused with the ineffable joys of paradise and time eternal, successive yet simultaneous.
Birds in the branches of the Tree of Life gather its fruits with multitudinous song.
Forgotten offerings litter the hidden path, trodden by the few wise men who in the world did live. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh may not be accepted. The offerings are we ourselves, for a broken and a contrite heart will not be despised.
A statue of St. Francis stands in the corner of the roof garden. He holds out his hands for Plaster of Paris birds to settle upon them.
St. Francis wears a brown, sack-cloth cassock bound at the waist by a knotted, white cord. Living birds would come to him, if he called, but he is silent. He knows the birds by their names, not the Latin or Spanish names, nor their names in Mixtec or Nahuatl. He knows their true names, their own ineffable names that grace each of them and brightens their songs of colored glory.
Brother Sun, by day, and Sister Moon, by night, bless him with their soft-feathered gifts of light. Alas, he is bound to this earth by Brother Donkey, the flesh and blood body he once wore and now wears in effigy. Of the earth, earthy, his thoughts are bent on beating this sackcloth body down and raising his mind in birdsong that will reach up, higher and higher until it achieves his Kingdom Come.
In front of him, the Bird of Paradise offers him that which he most desires, a return to earth in avian form, winged like a miniature angel armed with a golden harp and an aura of song.
Meditations on Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time
Time Beyond Time
Time beyond time and the eternal ever-present in the quotidian.
When the Seventh Angel sounds his trumpet, time will be no more and this earth will be pulped, like an orange, in an almighty hand, clenched into a fist.
Thus it is writ, and sundry have read the words. repetitive forms cycle and recycle themselves, diatonic chords disassociated by duration. Laud, bless and praise always the vivid joy, light and color lighting up the skies in an aurora borealis seldom seen.
Indefectible light, unalterable peace, rhythmic repetition, time’s serpent circling around itself and devouring its tail in assonance and dissonance, the utmost beauty of raindrop birdsong, its liquid forever decanted. Infinitely slow, ecstatic is the message.
“Laud, bless, and praise him all thy days for it is seemly so to do.” Old One Hundredth. Click on the link below for Roger’s reading.
Meditations on Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time
Here, in the abyss, where song-birds pluck their notes and send them, feather-light, floating through the air, here there are no tears, no fear of shadow-hawks, for all blackness is abandoned in the interests of sunlight and song.
Here, the crystal liturgy surges, upwards from the rejoicing heart, ever upwards, into the realms of light, where color and sound alike brim over with the joy that, yes, brings tears of release to head and heart.
Here, the seven trumpets will sound their furious dance that will announce the end of this singer, the end of time, but not the end of song itself.
Here, seven-stringed rainbows reign. Here, the harp is tuned and plucked. Here, the everlasting music cements the foundations of earth and sky. Here, the master musician conducts his eternal choir, their voices rising, higher and higher, until they reach the highest sphere, and song and voice inspire, then expire, passing from our eyes and ears into the realms of everlasting light.
Meditations on Messiaen. Quartet for the End of Time.
I cast a stone into the sea. A round, flat stone, it skipped from wave to wave and refused to sink.
My heart sank within me as I counted each bounce: five, six, seven… then the stone sank bearing with it my seven deadly sins and I wept no more.
I, who have lost all that I had, mother, father, brothers, land of my birth, I laid them all to rest and I dried my tears, forgot my fears, and counted my blessings as I walked, no longer alone, along the shore.
Thursday is thought day, but what on earth am I thinking about? Well, yesterday I talked about open and closed imagery in poetry. I also talked about direct meaning and indirect meaning. So today’s thought is in Spanish and I have taken it from a poem of Federico García Lorca (1898-1936). “En la noche, platinoche, noche que noche nochera.” Sense and nonsense: what on earth does this mean? A literal translation gives us “in the night, silver-night, night which en-night-ens (more?) night”. Sense or nonsense? We shall find out. First, I would like you to read this article: https://moore.lib.unb.ca/Scholteach/platinoche.htm
Quite simply, the article discusses the difference between plain speech and poetic language. However, language has a tendency to simplify itself, to reduce itself downwards. Sentences become shorter. Ideas are simplified. Slogans replace thought. Emotion replaces reason. How and why this happens is a mystery, but I can assure you that it has happened throughout history. Just think of the breakdown from Classical Latin to Vulgar Latin to the various Romance Languages and Dialects that have replaced Latin in the areas where it used to be spoken. Break down, eliminate, simplify.
Thursday’s thoughts: why does this happen? How does it happen? Is it accidental? Is it deliberate? Should we follow meekly along and reduce our own thought and verbal processes? Should we just go gentle into that dark, but simplified, night? Should we resist? How can we resist? The answers to those questions will vary considerably. Each person who takes the time to read this will have a different set of reflections. That said, those answers are important, not just to each one of us as an individual, but also to us human beings as an inter-linked chain in society. All poets, all philosophers, all those who care about language, must reflect deeply on how they can preserve it, care for it, and make it mirror the depths, not of their own education, because not all of us privileged enough to be deeply educated, but our own intelligence. I have lived in places where people neither read nor write. It is so easy to dismiss them as ‘stupid’. I can assure you that they are not ‘stupid’ and to think of them is such is to ignore totally the oral tradition, the wisdom tradition, the cultural traditions from which these people come. We underestimate them at our peril.
What can we do? As poets, we can preserve the traditions and dignity of the depths of meaning, logical, emotional, sub-conscious, that is included in poetry. As writers, we can concentrate on using words with care and attention, of making our meaning clear, of elaborating our thoughts in such a way that others can follow them. As readers, we can look at inner structures, the deeper meaning of words, the emotional forces that try to persuade us, sometimes dishonestly, that this or that is best for us. As human beings we can extend our vocabularies, pay attention to words and their effects, and we can stand up for the linguistic and cultural traditions into which we were born, or in which we have chosen to live.
Now, always with your consent and permission, I will offer you the link to yesterday’s blog post https://rogermoorepoet.com/2021/07/28/22862/ Here you will find, if you choose to click on it, and it is always your choice, a discussion on meaning in language that will run parallel to this one.
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Vets A Thursday Thought
I met her unexpectedly in a restaurant in St. George. I was masked, but she knew me right away. She hadn’t changed. How could she have? She is as she is. Straight forward, upright, honest, true to her words and her values. Ex-military. A United Nations Peace-Keeper. A Blue Beret. World traveller to some of the roughest, toughest, ugliest, craziest spots. Everywhere she went, she helped keep the peace.
She came back home to find out what she already knew: that rural New Brunswick was as wild as anywhere she had been. She was anonymous, here, was just another number in a book, a casualty in a nameless war of attrition after which the winners rewrite the history of events, twisting them this way, that way to suit themselves and their own instincts and interests.
“Best of the best,” I wrote in the book I gave her. Fortuitous, it was, finding her again, finding that copy close to hand, reserved for her alone. That book and this poem are my tribute to her for her courage, her fortitude, and her strength of will. They are also a tribute to her role in making the world a safer place in which others, less fortunate, can create, without fear, their lives.
Comment: There is very little more to be said. Each former soldier is an individual with a history and personality of their own. This is my tribute to a very good friend who served her country and the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces with pride and distinction. Mary Jones, I, an academic, a writer, and a non-combatant, salute you for all the positive values which you have brought into this sometimes troubled world of ours. You and your well-being are in my Thursday Thoughts.
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Chaos theory: it states that we don’t know what we’re doing and it wouldn’t really matter anyway, even if we did, because life lacks meaning, chance rules, and Lady Luck with her lusty locks attached to her forehead and she, all bald and hairless from behind, must be caught as she arrives, because later is much too late, and when past, she’s gone for good and our good luck’s gone with her, and we’re left for ever, sitting there, head in hands, bemoaning all that milk spilled before we ever had a chance to actually taste it.
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