Archive for the ‘Poetry’ category

Ballad of the Goodly Fere

December 16, 2009

Here’s a great poem that I’d like to share.  It’s by Ezra Pound entitled “Ballad of the Goodly Fere.”  It is about Jesus (a fere being a companion).

Simon Zelotes speaketh it somewhile after the Crucifixion

Ha’ we lost the goodliest fere o’ all
For the priests and the gallows tree?
Aye lover he was of brawny men,
O’ ships and the open sea.

When they came wi’ a host to take Our Man
His smile was good to see,
“First let these go!” quo’ our Goodly Fere,
“Or I’ll see ye damned,” says he.

Aye he sent us out through the crossed high spears
And the scorn of his laugh rang free,
“Why took ye not me when I walked about
Alone in the town?” says he.

Oh we drunk his “Hale” in the good red wine
When we last made company,
No capon priest was the Goodly Fere
But a man o’ men was he.

I ha’ seen him drive a hundred men
Wi’ a bundle o’ cords swung free,
That they took the high and holy house
For their pawn and treasury.

They’ss no’ get him a’ in a book I think
Though they write it cunningly;
No mouse of the scrolls was the Goodly Fere
But aye loved the open sea.

If they think they ha’ snared our Goodly Fere
They are fools to the last degree.
“I’ll go to the feast,” quo’ our Goodly Fere,
“Though I go to the gallows tree.”

“Ye ha’ seen me heal the lame and blind,
And wake the dead,” says he,
“Ye shall see one thing to master all:
‘Tis how a brave man dies on the tree.”

A son of God was the Goodly Fere
That bade us his brothers be.
I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men.
I have seen him upon the tree.

He cried no cry when they drave the nails
And the blood gushed hot and free,
The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue
But never a cry cried he.

I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men
On the hills o’ Galilee,
They whined as he walked out calm between,
Wi’ his eyes like the grey o’ the sea,

Like the sea that brooks no voyaging
With the winds unleashed and free,
Like the sea he cowed at Genseret
Wi’ twey words spoke’ suddently.

A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea,
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.

I ha’ seen him eat o’ the honey-comb
Sin’ they nailed him to the tree.


Merton on November

November 1, 2009

Fr. Louis OCSO

Thomas Merton [aka Fr. Louis], the best known modern Trappist Monk, once wrote a poem called ST. MALACHY.  It is a reflection on the days of November and the end of the Church Year.  I find it a beautiful and melancholic consideration of these days when we think about death and the consummation of all things.  With “All Souls Day” tomorrow, I invite you to this meditation.

St. Malachy

In November, in the days to remember the dead
When air smells cold as earth,
St. Malachy, who is very old, gets up,
Parts the thin curtains of trees and dawns upon our land.

His coat is filled with drops of rain, and he is bearded
With all the seas of Poseidon.
(Is it a crozier, or a trident in his hand?)
He weeps against the gothic windows, and the empty cloister
Mourns like an ocean shell.

Two bells in the steeple
Talk faintly to the old stranger
And the tower considers his waters.
“I have been sent to see my festival,” (his cavern speaks!)
“For I am the saints of the day.
Shall I shake the drops from my locks and stand in your transept,
Or, leaving you, rest in the silence of my history?”

So the bells rang and we opened the antiphoners
And the wrens and larks flew up out of the pages.
Our thoughts became lambs.  Our hearts swam like seas.
One monk believed that we should sing to him
Some stone-age hymn
Or something in the giant language.
So we played to him in the plainsong of the giant Gregory:
Oceans of Scripture sang upon bony Eire.

Then the last salvage of flowers
(Fostered under glass after the gardens foundered)
Held up their little lamps on Malachy’s altar
To peer into his wooden eyes before the Mass began.

Rain sighed down the sides of the stone church.
Storms sailed by all day in battle fleets.
At five o’clock, when we tried to see the sun, the speechless visitor
Sighed and arose and shook the humus from his feet
And with his trident stirred our trees
And left down-wood, shaking some drops upon the ground.

Thus copper flames fall, tongues of fire fall
The leaves in hundreds fall upon his passing
While night sends down her dreadnought darkness
Upon this spurious Pentecost.

And the Melchisedec of our year’s end
Who came without a parent, leaves with out a trace,
And rain comes rattling down upon our forest
Like the doors of country jail.

while jogging this evening

August 24, 2009

man versus himself

man versus machine

man versus the world

mankind versus me


the struggles go on

the wisdom I lack

the burdens keep piling 

up on my back


so hard to breathe

to take the next step

the mountain is high

I wade in the depths


yearning for grace

and hoping for peace


dear God increase  

Holy Haiku 4

August 9, 2009

From the Twitter feeod of the Nunblogger:

Owning Truth Alone

speaking just to or of God,

Dominic went forth.

Holy Haiku 3

August 1, 2009

From the twitter feed of the excellent Nunblogger:

Let the Commandments

fall into your heart’s good soil

and bear fruits of life.

Holy Haiku 2

July 30, 2009

From the twitter feed of the excellent Nunblogger:

God wrote it clearly

But the people ignored it

So now — parables.

Holy Haiku!

July 28, 2009

From the twitter feed of the excellent Nunblogger:

Face to Face with God

No wonder Moses was the

meekest man on earth.