Now forty winters have besieged this brow that bears the mark of ashes once again, its shallow furrows yielding to time’s plow as, on command, I turn and turn again. With every year the mark goes deeper still and stays there longer than the year before, reminding me, despite my flesh’s will, there comes a spring when I’ll be marked no more.
Yet still I bow and part my graying hair to make way for the dust that makes us all, the mortal touch, the cross traced in the air, the voice that tells me to regard the fall that each of us must know before we rise and raise unwrinkled brows to greet God’s eyes.
Psalm 96 issues an invitation repeated throughout the Old Testament: “Sing to the Lord a new song.” Today’s Christian musicians follow that call into vistas that David could never have foreseen, from Celtic folk to speed metal to reggae.
In the nightmare of the dark All the dogs of Europe bark, And the living nations wait, Each sequestered in its hate W. H. Auden
In this dark time, I want to make light bigger, to throw it in the air like a pizza chef, to stick my fists in, stretching it till I can get both arms into radiance to the elbow spinning it above us.
But oh, dark is such a genius at argument, using all the rhetorical figures. And you aren’t bad yourself, Mr. Auden, elucidating war, how it subtracts and subtracts light till each nation becomes a blind man alone in his own dark, gripping his cane, unable to cross to his lover who waits by the pizza parlor. Unable even to see her, unable to sing out to her the way a lover might sing out, Susan, it’s you!
In truth, the dark is that personal, fluttering like a red moth behind my eyelids. My Texas cousin lies dead this afternoon and his widow’s at the Funeral Home with their child, trying to explain where he went. Isn’t that the brilliant final move of dark, Poof! to separate us from each other? Between us, Mr. Auden, you and I have multiplied
the dark till some might say there’s no escape. But seeing darkness is seeing something. Maybe that’s why, as Susan crosses to the blind man, I notice the horizon begins leaking into the sky. Light reaches the treetops. It falls in chutes. And then, god help us, like everything, it breeds and breeds.
Readers of P. D. James’s novel Children of Men won’t be prepared for the emotional breadth of the film version by Alfonso Cuarón. Like most dystopian stories, the book is relentlessly grim, icy and pedantic.
Be present with your want of a Deity and you shall be present with the Deity. Thomas Traherne
Sometimes I lose you. Say you are a puppy and I’ve left the door ajar. Or I’m due someplace and can’t remember where. In my sticky-uppy hair and ripped work shirt, I ransack the place to find my datebook. Gone. Or I’ve dropped my glasses and I’m crawling on all fours to swab the floor with outstretched hands. I mop blindly, my heart stuttering with fear.
Don’t tell me you are not a puppy. I know. You’re not some destination. But I want to tell you what it’s like to hunt, although the words are clumsy. Vapor. What it comes to: You are the sky, the boat, the oars, the water. You are the soul that longs to row and you’re the rower.
The Annenberg Foundation has paid $530,000 for 24 sacred Native American artifacts for the sole purpose of returning them to the two tribes that tried but failed to keep them from being auctioned off at a Paris auction house. A lawyer for the Hopi and San Carlos Apache tribes had argued before a French court that as sacred objects, used in religious ceremonies, the artifacts should not be sold. A U.S. law that limits trafficking in Native American items holds no force abroad (RNS).