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Archives for December 2014

Christmas

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To the Korrektiv Kollektiv

…cujus coelesti mysterio pascimur et potamur.

No blood would pass, and maidenhead unabridged
Retained a purity beyond all words –
All words but One of course. Yet double-edged
To spit her heart and turn her sorrow, swords
Would point her toward another moment cradled
By wood before she lifted up and coddled
His body once again. While Bethlehem
Will drink the blood not his, Jerusalem
Remains in shadows not his – for King Herod
Will wait. He rests in peace. But innocence
Today awakes this hour of recompense
For evergreen and blood’s more fragile merit;
Each announces in a tremendous way
The tone and hue that colors Christmas day.

Advent, the Twenty-Fourth Day: The Lost Distilleries Blend – Batch #4

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…et mane videbitis gloriam ejus.

The tabernacle lamp, a poinsettia
That blooms within the sanctuary’s cave
Of solemn air, suggests its diaspora
Among the mass of shadows won’t survive –
Its gleaming spokes of crimson lamed by rhythms
Of pulsate night. So earth’s own crowning kingdoms
Are powerless; yet healing spirits pour
Again for us this day of twenty-four,
The last of Advent. Inspiration’s vision,
Like what had found The Lost Distilleries,
Now blends with wounded flesh and verifies
The tiny glow that grows to conflagration:
Tomorrow’s light – no darkness yet has found
A way to overcome or comprehend.

TIP of the Iceberg

Over at National Review online, Kathryn Jean Lopez has interviewed Father Paul Loverde, the bishop of the Catholic diocese of Arlington, Va., who recently wrote the pastoral letter “Bought with a Price.” The letter is just one way he has witnessed to the problems presented by pornography over the years—during the Christmas season no less than at any other time. He explains why, and a good many other things. Read all about it here.

Advent, the Twenty-third Day: Macallan Amber – 1824 Series

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Coeli enarrant gloriam Dei…

The spheres compose their starry music’s montage
To spin along etudes by latitudes
This day, the twenty-third of Advent’s voyage.
But winter’s skies resist such platitudes
This Yule – for snow like ash descends from leaden
December overcast. An Armageddon
Of angst is aggregating all its might.
The hemispheres of mind and flesh are split
Apart like rotten oranges and fallen
To false distinction’s blade. Yet time grows ripe
And night is brief; the hourglass reshapes
Its tapered hours – the way this gold Macallan
Assumes the glowing form of goblet’s bowl –
As diamonds coalesce from midnight’s coal.

Alphonse is…oh, never mind.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.25.27 AM

Photo source.

Sigh.

Sometimes Ruysch took his preserved specimens and arranged them in miniature scenes. His favorite subjects for these displays were the tiny skeletons of fetuses. He liked to pose them, fully articulated, in miniature gardens, whose every element was fashioned out of various pieces of preserved organs…Ruysch’s favorite subject was lamentation. In one scene, a skeleton plays a violin, made out of diseased bone, with a bow of dried artery. “Ah fate, bitter fate!” he sings, while another skeleton conducts music with a baton set with kidney stones. A third skeleton, wearing a belt of sheep intestine, grasps a spear made of a hardened vas deferens. In others, the skeletons hold mayflies or scythes. In another tableau, two skeletons standing on a mountain of kidney stones, surrounded by miniature trees made out of the branching fronds of hardened arteries, weep into handkerchiefs made from abdominal membranes. The message these tiny figures convey is all the same: that their first hour was also their last. Ruysch took special care in preparing the membranes to make to make their delicate blood vessels look like embroidery. They reminded him of Psalm 139: “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”

Joe Cocker, RIP

 

God bless and rest his soul – at the very least for doing more with this song than it deserved.

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Advent, the Twenty-Second Day: MacKinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt – The Journey

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…et excussit flammam ignis de fornace…

The blinkered blankness of Antarctica’s waste,
A wind-blown tabla rasa, presses back
Against our human footprints – some erased
Like flame by ice and some, like fossil rock,
Embedded in the permafrost. The Nimrod,
Before Endurance sailed, escaped the ramrod
That stove her sister’s frozen skeleton…
The lesson learned by Ernest Shackleton? –
Defeat can be defeated: aged MacKinlay
Thus understands that patient courage cures
Impurities – and freeze or burn – endures,
This twenty-second day of Advent, aye,
As faith withstands whatever winter brings
And writes the hope that’s fanned with phoenix wings.

Pious Editions and Other Accretions…

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Regarding Ms. O’Connor and her struggle with the ultimate tension of any fictionist – nature and grace – Paul Elie has a new shot soaring across the secular bow here.

 

 

 

Advent, the Twenty-First Day: Mortlach Rare Old

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Et pax Dei, quae exsuperat omnem sensum…

The bottle-works and butcher shops of Elgin
Are far from battle’s business: Bloodshed robs
Each father’s son his ghost as hungry cannon
And starving bullet hunt the fare that Hobbes
Had placed upon this strange and modern menu.
Like tripe and haggis, Scotsman’s offal venue,
The meat of war, MacBeth and Duncan know,
Soon festers maggots. Fostered graces grow,
Though, fixing faulted flesh and blood, and signal
A different theme: that sword would cross with scythe
This Advent day, the twenty-first, and faith,
Its harvest steep as Mortlach’s (meaning “big hill”) –
Would render blood a second’s passing peace
To shine like Eve renewed in Adam’s face.

Advent, the Twentieth Day: The Girvan Patent Still No. 4 Apps

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Ego baptizo in aqua…

For twenty-eight resplendent miles the River
Of Girvan strolls its way from village bridge
Through hamlet green to ocean’s great forever.
With lazy glide perhaps unfit for barge
And tow, its current speaks a gentle whisper
Of how the barley grain began to prosper
Above the town of Girvan proper: steam
That columned stills had harnessed – like a stream
That mills the bran– can turn its mash to liquid
Expressions, and gives the spirit’s vent
This day, the twentieth of Advent: Sent
To sanctify such ebb and flow depicted
In nature’s naked grain, only God would dare
Appear on earth so cold, so bare, so true, so there.

Advent, the Nineteenth Day: Timorous Beastie

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…pusillanimes confortamini, et nolite timere…

And Burns again – whose tag I thought was Shakespeare’s,
The one about the plans of mice and men –
Corrects my mortal thoughts. His wit deducts hairs
That bless my beard – as needlepoint design
Unravels from its loom or raftered scantling
Unwinds from central beam. Dismantling
Such doom, I sip at Timorous Beastie, neat
As Robbie’s lines: “…beneath the blast Thou thought
To dwell till – Crash! The cruel coulter past” and,
Alas, a homeless thing… But solace lifts
A glass, this Advent’s nineteenth day, and gifts
Awaiting be upon us – glad and chastened
To know that God provides for men and mice
No better plan than what will best suffice.

Advent, the Eighteenth Day: Arran Batch 4 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

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…ecce Deus noster veniet, et salvabit nos.

This red-eye retail, emporium of essence,
And holding house of heaven’s holy hooch –
That’s Arran – that’s the place of plain old nonsense
Which Robbie Burns would practice, sing and preach:
“O Whisky! Soul o’ plays and pranks!” As the poet
Declaims – so Harold Currie makes a go at
Installing Arran’s first distillery
(Not watched by moon alone) this century,
When paired and golden eagles play a prank to
Delay the work a year, their rare-aired roost,
A legal brief and stay. Thus, Holy Ghost,
Bestow – this Advent’s eighteenth day – a thank you,
We pray, on Arran’s heights, for making room
Among such rocks as God will soon call home.

Advent, the Seventeenth Day: Nikka Whisky From the Barrel

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Ipse est, qui post me venturus est…

The distant lotus pond is to the wadis
Of Palestine as Scottish firth and loch
To Shinto shades of lavender on Fuji’s
Majestic peak. Yet earth, a rounded crock
To fill as well with scotch as saki, grew to
Suffuse in Masataka Taketsuru
A love of Hebrides and Highland malts.
Kimono silk thus dresses tartan kilts
For international acclaim to tailor
This Advent day, the seventeenth that’s passed.
The seamless unity of east and west
In Nikka fashions textures to fulfill her
Epiphany – the rose of paradise
Engrafting petals on the compass rose.

As long as we’re making lots more Star Wars movies…

…let’s make the only one that matters:

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The story of how Han won the Falcon from Lando. Starring 48 Hours-era Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy.

 

Advent, the Sixteenth Day: Tullamore D.E.W. – 12 Year Old, Special Reserve

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Aurem tuam, quaesumus, Domine, precibus nostris accommoda…

O’Brien’s Public House was first erected
The year that Eden got it’s seedlings down
Through sheer imagination. Derelict, odd,
And sitting in its corners, older men
Bedecked in shabby tweed and stale tobacco
Are gazing out its single weary window –
As if their youth were waiting half a mile
And forty years back down the road. They smile
And sip from chipping tumblers full of Tullamore –
To irrigate their eyes. This sixteenth day
Of Advent lets their silence have its say:
“Nostalgia’s pulled at my leg but can pull n’more
My ear. Just let a fellow follow through –
He’ll seek out nothing wiser than his due.”

If Walker Percy Had Kittens

Dots and Spots

“Mom, when I was playing with the kittens, I was thinking that the brain is the engine of their Selfs.”

– Expat Minor, Age 6
Recipient of Kittens

At The Jesuit Post – “You Will Become Catholic”

This popped up in my Twitter feed today via Michael B. Dougherty (who is a reason to not un-join Twitter):

It is a Friday in Lent and you have been fasting all day to be in solidarity with Guatemalans and now you hate Guatemalans. Your wife is away, the house is empty. You wander into your younger daughter’s room. She long ago took down all the old posters and pictures. The walls are nearly bare. This happens to be a time in your life when the faith you once held so easily seems to be, not totally lost, just empty. The God whose presence was once felt is now just an idea “assented to”. Truthfully, it hurts. Does it hurt as much as if, say, you lost your mortgage? Who knows? But it does hurt, more than you let on to yourself. It makes everything dark.

You Will Become Catholic

Advent, the Fifteenth Day: Rock Town Arkansas Bourbon Whiskey

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Erit radix Jesse…

A razorback misnomer; still, it passes
The test that cuts across the industry
And shaves Kentucky’s competition – thick as
These wiry tufts and bristled hairs must be
To stand on corny ground, this juice of Rock Town.
The tale gets knocked around as locals knock down
A bottle – snout to screwy tail – just how
The natural state of bourbon, Arkansas
Had seen, presents this runty piglet portion
For Advent’s fifteenth day. “So bite the bit
And take a sip,” this whisky says. It’s right
That expectation should exceed aversion –
So winter’s branch on Jesse’s barren tree,
Will stump to prove its root’s nativity.