Wednesday, March 28, 2007

La Semana Santa (Holy Week)

This picture is one of the hundreds of pictures that can be taken in the streets of my city during The Holy Week. Personally, this is my favourite image (La Piedad by Gregorio Fernandez). I'll try to take more pictures these days because, believe me, it's worth seeing.
Anyway, I posted this, because this Sunday will be Palm Sunday and because The Holy Week is about to start. As I don't know any Chesterton's quotes on this subject, I beg you, please, to share any Chesterton's quote about The Cross or anything. I'll be most grateful. (If I have any mistake, will you tell me? Thanks ! )

Friday, March 23, 2007

Poetry Friday-‘Eternities'

‘Elder father, though thine eyes
Shine with hoary mysteries,
Canst thou tell what in the heart
Of a cowslip blossom lies?

‘Smaller than all lives that be,
Secret as the deepest sea,
Stands a little house of seeds,
Like an elfin’s granary.

‘Speller of the stones and weeds,
Skilled in Nature’s crafts and creeds,
Tell me what is in the heart
Of the smallest of the seeds.’

‘God Almighty, and with Him
Cherubim and Seraphim,
Filling all eternity—
Adonai Elohim.’

This is getting rather boring to type every time but... thanks poem hunter.

snippets and questions

I just finished The Flying Inn--about ten minutes ago, in fact--and I thought I'd post a few parts I liked.
1) (on a man regarding a landscape): "On a second study, he was not sure it was so inhuman. Rather he felt that its beauty at least was half human; that the aureole of the sinking moon behind the woods was chiefly lovely because it was like the tender-coloured aureole of an early saint; and that the young trees were, after all, noble because they held up their heads like virgins. Cloudily there crowded into his mind ideas with which it was imperfectly familiar, especially an idea which he had heard called "The Image of God." It seemed to him more and more that all these things, from the donkey to the very docks and ferns by the roadside, were dignified and sanctified by their partial resemblance to something else. It was as if they were baby drawings: the wild, crude sketches of Nature in her first sketchbooks of stone."
2) "It flung faintly across the broad foliage a wan and pearly light far more mysterious than the lost moonshine. It seemed to enter through all the doors and windows of the woodland, pale and silent but confident, like men that keep a tryst; soon its white robes had threads of gold and scarlet: and the name of it was morning."
3) "The finding and fighting of positive evil is the beginning of all fun..."

There are, of course, a great deal of other parts that I liked but to post them all would be exceedingly impractical ^_^

I would like to know, though, has anyone else read The Flying Inn? If so, I'd love to hear what you think of it--and how you interpret it. Especially the ending, since I didn't really understand it.

I also read Manalive right before I read the Flying Inn, and I would definitely recommend it; I'll probably post more about it later...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Poetry Friday-A Little Litany

When God turned back eternity and was young,
Ancient of Days, grown little for your mirth
(As under the low arch the land is bright)
Peered through you, gate of heaven--and saw the earth.

Or shutting out his shining skies awhile
Built you about him for a house of gold
To see in pictured walls his storied world
Return upon him as a tale is told.

Or found his mirror there; the only glass
That would not break with that unbearable light
Till in a corner of the high dark house
God looked on God, as ghosts meet in the night.

Star of his morning; that unfallen star
In that strange starry overturn of space
When earth and sky changed places for an hour
And heaven looked upwards in a human face.

Or young on your strong knees and lifted up
Wisdom cried out, whose voice is in the street,
And more than twilight of twiformed cherubim
Made of his throne indeed a mercy-seat.

Or risen from play at your pale raiment's hem
God, grown adventurous from all time's repose,
Or your tall body climbed the ivory tower
And kissed upon your mouth the mystic rose.

And yes I did get this one from poem hunter.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Poetry Friday- Excerpt from book two of The Ballad of the White Horse

Up across windy wastes and up,
Went Alfred over the shaws,
Shaken of the joy of the giants,
The joy without a cause.

In the slopes away to the western bays
Where blows never a tree,
He washed his soul in the west wind
And his body in the sea.

And he set to rhyme his ale-measures,
And he sang aloud his laws,
Because of the joy of the giants,
The joy without a cause.

For the King went gathering Wessex men,
As grain out of the chaff,
The few that were alive to die,
Laughing as littered skulls that lie
After lost battles turn to the sky
An everlasting laugh.

The King went gathering Christian men,
As wheat out of the husk;
Eldred, the Franklin by the sea,
And Mark, the man from Italy,
And Colan of the Sacred Tree,
From the old tribe on Usk.

The rook crowed homeward heavily,
The west was clear and warm,
The smoke of the evening food and ease
Rose like a blue tree in the trees
When he came to Eldred's farm.

But Eldred's farm was fallen awry,
Like an old cripples bones,
And Eldred's tools were red with rust,
And on his well was a green crust,
And purple thistles upward thrust,
Between the kitchen stones.

But smoke of some good feasting
Went upwards evermore,
And Eldred's doors stood wide apart
For loitering foot or labouring cart,
And Eldred's great and foolish heart
Stood open like his door.

A mightly man was Eldred,
A bulk for casks to fill,
His face a dreaming furnace,
His body a walking hill.

In the old wars of Wessex
His sword had sunken deep,
But all his friends, he sighed and said,
Were broken about Ethelred;
And between the deep drink and the bead
He had falled upon sleep.

"Come not to me King Alfred,
Save always for the ale;
Why should my harmless hinds be slain
Because the chiefs cry once again,
As in all fights, that we shall gain,
And in all fights we fail?

"Your scalds still thunder and prophesy
That crown that never comes;
Friend, I will watch the certain things,
Swine, and slow moons like silver rings,
And the ripening of the plums."

And Alfred answered, drinking,
And gravely, without blame,
"Nor bear I boast of scald of king,
The thing I bear is a lesser thing,
but comes in a better name.

"Out of the mouth of the Mother of God,
More than the doors of doom,
I call the muster of Wessex men
From grassy hamlet of ditch or den,
To break and be broken, God knows when,
By God, but I know why.

"And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world's desire:
'No more comfort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.' "

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

TMWWT- Discussion Question

While the six detectives are chasing Sunday through the streets of London, he keeps throwing notes back to his pursuers, notes such as "Fly at once; the truth about you trouser stretchers is known" or "What about Martin Tupper now?".

So, why did he throw these notes? Did any of them have the slightest bit of rhyme or reason in them? If so what did they mean?

Any thoughts, additions, theories, answers ... next discussion questions? If so please do comment with them.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


If you are very observant you might have noticed that 'Syme' snuck into the 'contributors' list a few weeks ago, and proceeded to say absolutely nothing--an egregious fault which I'm here to fix by...barraging you with info about myself ^_^.

My name is Jessica, but I decided 'Syme' sounded more interesting. I would have taken 'Thursday' but that's too easy to confuse with the good Doctor who sometimes pops up...I'm 17, I'm a Christian, can go to my profile to see the things I like. I'll highlight a few though: Lord of the Rings (books and movies), Pride and Prejudice (book and old bbc movie, since Colin Firth is the consummate Darcy), and in the non-media realm, I love words, poetry, Latin (I'm taking my fourth year of it), what smattering of Greek I've taken, fiddling (I also play classical violin but Scottish fiddling is more fun), horses, And pretty much life in general.

But none of this is why I'm here--I'm here because I'm totally in love with Chesterton. I listened to The Man Who Was Thursday on tape many years ago, and was entirely intrigued by it...I have subsequently read it two or three times, and every time I am equally enthralled. (I might add that Chesterton is one of the few writers whose wit can make me laugh out loud when I'm reading ^_^.) The real infatuation came, however, when I read Orthodoxy: and realized that Chesterton was saying all the things I had somehow felt about Christianity (and life) but had never been able to wordify (ok, so wordify is technically an obsolete term, but who's gonna argue with its wonderful clarity?). His joy, his sense of adventure and romance and poetry, all match so well with my own intuition that pretty much all things Chesterton make me unbelievably happy. I have also read some Father Brown stories, most of All Things Considered (I reccomend 'On Chasing One's Hat'--from which comes the quote on my icon), some short stories I found online, a lot of poetry (amazing!!!!), and most recently, The Everlasting Man. All of which have been incredible...

And, since there was a sad absence of poetry on poetry Friday, I hereby declare a poetry Sunday and will post:

The Convert
After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white,
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead.

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

Kind of a fun little poem...

I would end with a few of my favorite Chesterton quotes, but it's way too hard to narrow it down. Basically everything I've read would qualify. One of the ones I think about a lot, though, is from TMWWT: "Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front..."

Well, I suppose I'll stop my cheerful blabbering now and go do some neglected homework...