Some Whitman for a Cold and Starry Night

Tonight’s clarity of atmosphere and brilliance of heavenly bodies reminded me of some favorite Whitman.

A Clear Midnight

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
         themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

O Woodchuck, My Woodchuck!

With some birthday money, I picked up a copy of Christian Wiman’s most recent collection, Every Riven Thing. The thing I like most about his writing is the even dispersal of energy throughout his poems. Every line is capably load-bearing. Punch one in the gut as hard as you can when it […]

Still A Child

November 5, 2008

Somehow it has taken me
until today
to understand, as
the sun cupped my face
in its warm hands, the wind
turned back the corner
of a leafy blanket,
and a dove lulled the afternoon
with a song that
in thirty-eight years
has never made me mourn,
I am still a child; I am
larger than nothing.

Nearly four years later, and appropriate to the […]

Approaching Perfection

Bees work for man; and yet they never bruise
Their master’s flower, but leave it, having done,
As fair as ever, and as fit to use;
So both the flower doth stay, and hony run.

~from George Herbert’s “Providence”

Everybody's Grandfather

It would be hard for me to explain my affection for Robert Bly, but I’ll make one small attempt. You may be familiar with the passage in Genesis in which Joseph (shortly before he dies, perhaps) assures his brothers of his forgiveness to them; he, the King James states, “spake kindly to them,” the […]

O-Files Q&A, Hymnology Edition

Subsequent to this post, I became embroiled involved in an email conversation which I present below (lightly edited for ease of reading and public consumption).

Q: What makes a hymn a hymn? Generally I think of hymns being “(usually old) songs in the hymnbook,” but you’ve gone and said this fellow is writing hymns all […]

Epiphyte Bytes

Verse Wisconsin is a bit of a conundrum to me. According to Duotrope, they are among the most approachable poetry markets, publishing in the neighborhood of 40% of the work sent their way (nudgenudge, Joel), yet still managed to be respectably represented in the Pushcart Anthology. (By respectably I mean at all.) […]

However Cold I Be

This is one of my favorite Christina Rossetti poems. My wife and I occassionally sing the Craig Courtney setting in church. Oh, the longing.

None Other Lamb

None other Lamb, none other Name,
None other hope in Heav’n or earth or sea,
None other hiding place from guilt and shame,
None beside Thee!

My faith burns low, […]

Epiphyte Bytes

From the general to the specific:

1. Calling all would-bes, has-beens, and wish-I-coulds– Wanna be an artist? Steal like one.

2. A. E. Stallings’ manifesto on rhyme. Rather contra mundum.

3. A solid poem on the incarnation. Simple, rhyming, moving.

Reading Plan 2012: The First Ten

One of my goals for this year is to read 52 books. That’s not a book a week, but 52 books in 52 weeks. A fine distinction, I know, but this way, no false expectations.

No further adieu.

1. The Chronological Bible. For starters, I’m not sure I’ve ever read every verse […]