Contentment

If everything is lost, thanks be to God

If everything is lost, thanks be to God
If I must see it go, watch it go,
Watch it fade away, die
Thanks be to God that He is all I have
And if I have Him not, I have nothing at all
Nothing at all, only a farewell to the wind
Farewell to the grey sky
Goodbye, God be with you evening October sky.
If all is lost, thanks be to God,
For He is He, and I, I am only I.

-Julian
A Severe Mercy

To Margaret Atwood et. al.

I just saw an ad for The Handmaid’s Tale and looked it up.

I was vaguely aware it was something assigned to large swathes of public schooled kids, but I never expected something that…yrch.

First, I feel nauseous. Second, I feel furious. How dare you take the symbols of the Puritanism and the word of God, and twist it so. You sick puppy.

I believe in women’s rights but I’m ashamed to be called a feminist because of the likes of You, who sit around fantasizing about rapist men so you can enjoy feeling hateful and heroic.

You who created the campus rape culture, when you tore down all traditional propriety, and now gleefully rejoice in all the sexual carnage as you raise your new damaged generations of hurt girls who can hate on God and fatherhood and men.

So you made this mess. And of course you don’t raise a finger to fight real humans’ rights abuse around the world.

Margaret Atwood and all her ilk, I am damn sick of you. You shame women beyond anything a chauvinist could have come up with. You have defiled the word feminist. You’ve made men into pigs.  Enjoy your paradise, because we both know this is exactly what you want.

Running through syrup

Sometimes life feels like running through syrup. It takes so much effort to keep on going. I guess this is why my mother insists we pay respect to the old. They’ve kept on the hard work of living for so long. It is really hard work.

A cloud was on the mind of men
   And wailing went the weather,
Yea, a sick cloud upon the soul
   When we were boys together.
Science announced nonentity
   And art admired decay;
.
The world was old and ended:
   But you and I were gay;
Round us in antic order
   Their crippled vices came—
Lust that had lost its laughter,
   Fear that had lost its shame.
.
Like the white lock of Whistler,
   That lit our aimless gloom,
Men showed their own white feather
   As proudly as a plume.
Life was a fly that faded,
   And death a drone that stung;
.
The world was very old indeed
   When you and I were young.
They twisted even decent sin
   To shapes not to be named:
Men were ashamed of honour;
   But we were not ashamed.
.
Weak if we were and foolish,
   Not thus we failed, not thus;
When that black Baal blocked the heavens
   He had no hymns from us
Children we were—our forts of sand
   Were even as weak as we,
High as they went we piled them up
   To break that bitter sea.
.
Fools as we were in motley,
   All jangling and absurd,
When all church bells were silent
   Our cap and beds were heard.
Not all unhelped we held the fort,
   Our tiny flags unfurled;
.
Some giants laboured in that cloud
   To lift it from the world.
I find again the book we found,
   I feel the hour that flings
Far out of fish-shaped Paumanok
   Some cry of cleaner things;
.
And the Green Carnation withered,
   As in forest fires that pass,
Roared in the wind of all the world
   Ten million leaves of grass;
Or sane and sweet and sudden as
   A bird sings in the rain—
Truth out of Tusitala spoke
   And pleasure out of pain.
.
Yea, cool and clear and sudden as
   A bird sings in the grey,
Dunedin to Samoa spoke,
   And darkness unto day.
But we were young; we lived to see
   God break their bitter charms.
.
God and the good Republic
   Come riding back in arms:
We have seen the City of Mansoul,
   Even as it rocked, relieved—
Blessed are they who did not see,
   But being blind, believed.
.
This is a tale of those old fears,
   Even of those emptied hells,
And none but you shall understand
   The true thing that it tells—
Of what colossal gods of shame
   Could cow men and yet crash,
Of what huge devils hid the stars,
   Yet fell at a pistol flash.
.
The doubts that were so plain to chase,
   So dreadful to withstand—
Oh, who shall understand but you;
   Yea, who shall understand?
The doubts that drove us through the night
   As we two talked amain,
And day had broken on the streets
   E’er it broke upon the brain.
.
Between us, by the peace of God,
   Such truth can now be told;
Yea, there is strength in striking root,
   And good in growing old.
We have found common things at last,
   And marriage and a creed,
And I may safely write it now,
   And you may safely read.

Rage in the afternoon

I was walking down the street and ran into this “community watch alert”:

20170425_164555

I should probably add that the only reason it was torn was because I tried to peal it off unsuccessfully.

 

Is police brutality something that should be carefully monitored? Yes. But this is an anarchic attack on the concept of police itself. This sign is literally a third of a mile away from where I was when I phoned the police after hearing someone in the dark park screaming “no” at the top of their lungs about 50 times. It sounded like a sexual assault. I ran like hell till i was safely out and then phoned 911. The dispatcher sent out a policeman immediately, minutes later I was safely in my friends’ apartment, on the phone talking to a policeman as he walked  through the dark park with a gun.

In that moment, I couldn’t have loved him more if he was my own brother.

This hippie-hipster revolt against power-as-protector is intrinsically disordered. They insist all power is bad… as if shallow indignant hatred, the yapping of the protesters, is what holds back violent chaos.

There must be a place for the protector in society. Peace cannot exist without it. And yup, it’s usually male and has a gun. But the universe isn’t by default a safe space, and we should not attack the ones who make it safe for us. We might even think about thanking them.

 

World is more full of weeping than you can understand

……………..COME AWAY
WITH THE FAIRIES, HAND IN HAND,
FOR THE WORLD IS MORE FULL OF WEEPING
THAN YOU CAN UNDERSTAND.

— “The Stolen Child”  by  W.B. Yeats.

The Mortal Answers:
From the Wood of the Old Wives’ Fables
They glittered out of the grey,
And with all the Armies of Elf-land
I strove like a beast at bay;

For they came with chains of flowers
And lilies lances free,
There in the quiet greenwood
To take my grief from me.

And I said, “Now all is shaken
When heavily hangs the brow,
When the hope of the years is taken
The last star sunken. Now—

“Hear, you chattering cricket,
Hear, you spawn of the sod,
The strange strong cry in the darkness
Of one man praising God,

“That out of the night and nothing
With travail of birth he came
To stand one hour in the sunlight
Only to say her name.

“Falls through her hair the sunshine
In showers; it touches, see,
Her high bright cheeks in turning;
Ah, Elfin Company,

“The world is hot and cruel,
We are weary of heart and hand.
But the world is more full of glory
Than you can understand.”

I believe in the resurrection of the flesh

I believe in the resurrection of the flesh, and the life of the world to come.

It seems too wonderfully good to be true. But then, so does starlight, and my nephew and nieces’s existences.

If I could not fathom their precious little souls, it stands to reason I can’t fathom the resurrection either.

I’m going to see all the people who are gone now. We will stand on the mountain of God, grass and spring flowers and wind, and I’m going to hold their hands, and feel the knuckle-bones and the tendons and the flesh. Not some half-imagined vibe or whisper, but their actual, physical, warm real hands.

I believe in the resurrection of the flesh, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.