God Contracted to a Span: A Wesleyan Advent Hymn

Charles Wesley’s parents had 17 children before he came along. His premature birth was initially considered a still-birth because of his lack of vitality, a lack which continued through weeks of near silence.  There was no real reason for optimism. But, Oh, how he made up for that later in life! He preached twice to…

The Poetry of Architecture: the Library of Congress Gets Revised

In case you did not already know, this is National Poetry Month. This constitutes my obligatory poetry post. I recently saw two books that describe architecture as a poetic endeavor: John Ruskin’s 1893 Poetry of Architecture and Randall Alan Stauffer’s 1989 Architectural Poetry: Study of Spatial and Temporal Expression. If this analogy is valid, then…

Walling In and Walling Out

I’ve seen a lot of fences in the last few days. Those pretty fences one only sees in Kentucky’s horse country: flat stones stacked waist-high, with perpendicular ones laid along the top. Something about that is attractive to me: permanence, boundaries, strength. One of my favorite poems by Robert Frost is his “Mending Wall,” which…

John Donne and Don Quixote: Two Views of Death

In Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Sancho Panza (Quixote’s squire) describes the insatiable and indiscriminate appetite of Death in one of his classic sanchismos: By my faith, Señor,” responded Sancho, “you mustn’t trust in the fleshless woman, I mean Death, who devours lamb as well as mutton; I’ve heard our priest say that she tramples the high…

An Anonymous Ballad on the Resurrection of Christ, ca. 1660

While surfing Early English Books Online (our library recently purchased perpetual access), I found this anonymous ballad on the resurrection of Christ penned somewhere between 1658 and 1664. I’ve retained the original punctuation and spelling, though I have converted the typeset to modern lettering. Have a blessed Easter Day! A most Godly and Comfortable Ballad…

the time is now

All: thanks for your patience with me as I have slowly returned to the world of the upright from my recent … unpleasantness. I am still in something of a Nyquil haze, but the time to get up and be doing has arrived. I return with a quote from Longfellow’s Psalm of Life: Let us…

time for a respite

I’ve been battling influenza and pneumonia, and have therefore not be vertical enough to post anything in recent days. I think I’ve turned a corner, however, and should be back within a few days. If you pray for me, pray for my wife as well — she’s battling a stomach bug, caring for me, and…

truth, beauty, the chicken and the egg

I had some time between classes this evening, and so went to the library to spend it. I found this poem and thought, “that’s true–but only when talking about Truth and True Beauty.” On what level is Emily Dickenson correct, and where is she wrong? Is it a question of epistemology? Can we know beauty…

a cruel joy? anne brontë’s word to the calvinists.

Charlotte Brontë wrote Jane Eyre. Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights. Their sister Anne Brontë wrote this: A Word To The Calvinists by Anne Brontë You may rejoice to think yourselves secure, You may be grateful for the gift divine, That grace unsought which made your black hearts pure And fits your earthborn souls in Heaven…

commonplacing

Speaking of the Reformation, here’s a new book that just came through our library. John Spurr, The Post-Reformation: Religion, Politics and Society in Britain 1603-1714 (Harlow, England: Pearson, 2006). Publisher’s blurb: Spurr provides a substantial account of English, Scottish and Irish history from 1603 to 1714, and a unique portrait of the century’s religious life….

divine friendship & sonnet 30

I’ve been thinking much lately about the gift of friendship and God’s purposes in it. Community. Accountability. Encouragement. I’ve been thinking about David and Jonathon. Paul and Timothy. Ridley and Latimer. Inevitably, thinking on friendship will lead to reminiscence and, at least for me, reminiscence will lead to sadness and even regret. We reminisce about…