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Πρωτόκλητος

To Kathleen Wilson, for the novena

The tepid sea detained our staggered fleet
As empty nets adorned the running gunwales
The way a village woman’s temple veils
Would dry on stone in summer’s wrinkling heat.
My brother’s bark felt hollow, incomplete,
Its luckless holds reduced to hungry holes;
So casting eyes ashore I watched the gulls
Harangue a man. Sharp-eyed as an egret
He saw me look. I knew him once, and yet –
As I bobbed like bait fish on gentle swells
And Galilee embraced our rotting hulls –
If asked, is it really something I’d admit?
He turned to catch me watching once before
And hooked me good: “What are you looking for?”

Comments

  1. Πρωτόκλητος.
    And, BTW, nice poem.

  2. It started off better than it ended.

  3. But it’s a nice picture, and what does the word mean?

    • Churchill.

      Shucks. Can’t win them all, I suppose.

      The word is Greek for “The First-Called” – a Greek Church title for St. Andrew the first apostle to be chosen by Christ.

      JOB

  4. I love it, JOB! Thank you so much, my friend.

  5. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

    ‘My brother’s bark felt hollow, incomplete’

    I see what you did there.

  6. Jonathan Webb says:

    Liked it a lot and it ended quite strong.

    Makes me wish I was there.

    Yes, gulls are bad.

  7. Southern Expat says:

    I only understand 50% of the comments but I enjoyed the poem very much.

  8. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

    Question for the Kollektiv and the Kommentariat in these final hours of St Andrew’s Day:

    Can anyone recommend a good one or two brands of Scotch whisky that are not too expensive, but also not too bad-tasting? I don’t mean it has to be a work of art, just that its flavor should be good enough to enjoy.

    • Define “not too expensive.” And what do you have against Bourbon?

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

        By ‘not too expensive’, I’m just sort of intuiting… less than $35 for a generous-sized bottle. Still too vague? I really don’t know the market. I just know I don’t want to spend more than two hours’ wages on a bottle of booze unless the proceeds go to a monastery.

        I don’t have anything against Bourbon (except Wild Turkey tastes like gasoline smells; I bought a bottle of WT to sample back around September, after stumbling across JOB’s recorded readings of Swimming with Scapulars; and don’t worry, I stumbled across the recordings the week after I spent my $20 Pauline Media gift card on a copy of the book, so it’s not like I’m stealing food out of the Lickona larder… or wine out of the Lickona cellar… but that’s neither here nor there).

        I don’t have anything against Bourbon. But I’ve been invited to a party this Saturday at which each guest is supposed to bring a bottle of some tipple from his ancestors’ native lands. And while I do have roots in Dixie, I think it would be more in keeping with the spirit of the invitation to follow those roots back across the ocean. I figured the liquor stores should make it relatively easy to salute my Scottish ancestors with something available, affordable, and drinkable. I just don’t know what. Which is why I’m asking.

        Though if anybody can recommend a good Welsh, Irish, French, Dutch, Danish, or Vietnamese liquor (or liqueur), I’ll gladly entertain the suggestion.

        • Black Label blended is good – and I don’t know what prices are like in your state, but you can find a .75 for less than $35 methinks.

          There’s always Dewars, too, or Chivas Regal.

          As for single malts, that might be a bit trickier, but I seem to remember being able to make a go at Glenlivet for less than $35.

          Sorry, real sorry, to hear about your experience of WT. Maybe in another lifetime…. Glad to hear someone’s still digging and digging into my CRI reading of SWS. The things you do for (self)love…

          Of course, I probably don’t need to tell you how much of a splash this will make at the party: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_wine

          JOB

          • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

            Snake wine! I’d forgotten about that! Might provide an opportunity to quote that one bit from Mark’s Gospel, i.e. an excuse for evangelization! Brilliant, JOB.

            But the whiskies you name are really helpful, too. Just on the off-chance that I need a fallback. Many thanks, sir.

          • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

            Mr JOB,

            I got back from the party, and owe you an update:

            Per your suggestion, I sampled Black Label, and the flavor greatly impressed me — especially that good, big, whisky/malty aftertaste. I also belched up that nice flavor 10, 11, and 12 hours after drinking, which, in my book (which book, remember, has many Scottish pages), means better value for money. Your recommendation was excellent.

            Even so, experience suggested that Scotch whisky might appeal rather less to the ladies at the party than to the menfolk. And since I am, like Casanova, a feminist, I decided to pick a complex liqueur with color and sweetness that both sexes might enjoy: Chartreuse.

            Also, unlike with whisky, which belongs to only a single, albeit strong, strand of my heritage (recall that the party invitation requested one to bring a drink from one’s ancestral lands), I reckoned that I had a triple claim to this verdant nectar of the French Alps:

            1) By blood: My mother’s (Huguenot — LOL) ancestors fled their native France for Ireland in the late 17th century;

            2) By geopolitics: My father was born in Vietnam while it was still a French suzerainty; and

            3) By baptism: The Trappist fathers who distill Chartreuse are colonists of that same Kingdom of God of which I, as a Catholic, through Christ, am subject and citizen.

            Suffice it to say, the Chartreuse was a hit. Guests appreciated the complex, pleasant flavor, the vivid color, and the strength of the spirit. I believe it may have brought some credit, among the gentiles, upon Holy Church. Will follow up on this, for sure.

            But Black Label will have its day, Deo volente. It really did taste great, and the price was not unconscionable. Thank you very much for aiding my education, sir. If only I could have followed up on your suggestion of Vietnamese snake wine….

            Thank you again, JOB. And thanks for your CRI work, too.

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