“Give Every Image Space and Air”

An Art Of Poetry

To Vincent Buckley

Since all our keys are lost or broken,
Shall it be thought absurd
If for an art of words I turn
Discreetly to the Word?

Drawn inward by his love, we trace
Art to its secret springs:
What, are we masters in Israel
And do not know these things?

Lord Christ from out his treasury
Brings forth things new and old:
We have those treasures in earthen vessels,
In parables he told,

And in the single images
Of seed, and fish, and stone,
Or, shaped in deed and miracle,
To living poems grown.

Scorn then to darken and contract
The landscape of the heart
By individual, arbitrary
And self-expressive art.

Let your speech be ordered wholly
By an intellectual love;
Elucidate the carnal maze
With clear light from above.

Give every image space and air
To grow, or as bird to fly;
So shall one grain of mustard-seed
Quite overspread the sky.

Let your literal figures shine
With pure transparency:
Not in opaque but limpid wells
Lie truth and mystery.

And universal meanings spring
From what the proud pass by:
Only the simplest forms can hold
A vast complexity.

We know, where Christ has set his hand
Only the real remains:
I am impatient for that loss
By which the spirit gains.

-James McAuley


October’s Bright Blue Weather

October’s Bright Blue Weather

    O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
        And flowers of June together,
    Ye cannot rival for one hour
        October’s bright blue weather;

    When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
        Belated, thriftless vagrant,
    And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
        And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

    When Gentians roll their fringes tight
        To save them for the morning,
    And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
        Without a sound of warning;

    When on the ground red apples lie
        In piles like jewels shining,
    And redder still on old stone walls
        Are leaves of woodbine twining;

    When all the lovely wayside things
        Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
    And in the fields, still green and fair,
        Late aftermaths are growing;

    When springs run low, and on the brooks,
        In idle golden freighting,
    Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
        Of woods, for winter waiting;

    When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
        By twos and twos together,
    And count like misers, hour by hour,
        October’s bright blue weather.

    O suns and skies and flowers of June,
        Count all your boasts together,
    Love loveth best of all the year
        October’s bright blue weather.

Helen Hunt Jackson

Reading Advice from Dorothy Day

“[Here are some] books [to read] in wartime: Labyrinthine Ways. To the End of the World. Kristin Lavransdatter. Master of Hestviken. Jeremiah. 1 Kings.

People live, eat, sleep, love, worship, marry, have children, and somehow live in the midst of war, in the midst of anguish. The sun continues to shine, the leaves flaunt their vivid color, there is a serene warmth in the day and an invigorating cold at night. Turn off your radio. Put away your daily paper. Read one review of events a week and spend some time reading such books as the above. They tell too of days of striving and of strife. They are of other centuries and also of our own. They make us realize that all times are perilous, that men live in a dangerous world, in peril constantly of losing or maiming soul and body.

We get some sense of perspective reading such books. Renewed courage and faith and even joy to live. And man cannot live long without joy, without some vestige of happiness to light up his day”

I’d Like To #bloginstead

After taking December off from any posting on The Homely Hours, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to start a personal blog — one where I could write about whatever I wanted to write and take myself less seriously.

When I was a piano major, deciding whether or not to switch to a Biblical Studies major, my beloved teacher gave me some advice that’s transferred to several different situations. She said, “Amanda, you should only be a piano major if you can’t be anything else.”

That instantly gave me clarity — I had to drag myself to the practice rooms for the 3 to 4 hours minimum practice per day. But on the other hand, I had friends who couldn’t leave — compelled by a deep joy in the music that remained even when they didn’t necessarily feel like practicing. Meanwhile, while I was laboring over my piano repertoire, I would be pining over the reading/researching and writing that I had been accustomed to in high school. Because at the end of the day, I’d always rather be reading and writing than doing pretty much anything else.

So, to bring it back to my teacher’s advice, I read and I write because I can’t do anything else. I process through writing (I’m not a healthy person if I don’t journal). I discover and adventure through writing.

That’s a bit about why I write, but why do I need to add to the internet clutter with yet another personal blog? Here it is, simply put: I just want to. I think it’s fun. I think it’s a good way to take myself more lightly. I have avenues for more serious writing, but I want to write about things like why I am among the 0.5% of women who adore Patrick O’Brian’s series about naval strategy and the Napoleonic Wars. I want to write about why I binge-read most of a book about body alignment last night. I want to write about how just now, my 3 year old was on a stool trying to reach for the bananas on the counter. When I grabbed one for her and started to pull back the stem, she cried, “No, I didn’t want you to peel it, I wanted to pretend it was my baby” (I don’t know where I really would go with writing about this, but I really enjoyed the moment).

In other words, I want to write posts about random topics that I used to write about on social media (and serious topics, too, that I’m working through). And that brings me to Melinda Johnson’s fantastic #bloginstead challenge. For the next 3 days, I’m joining in with a group of bloggers who are going to post on their blogs instead of social media. Then, we’re going to reflect and observe.

Even though this blog is still “under construction,” I decided to jump in and join in order to not overthink and get this going. And, with that, I’m also not going to overthink this post. I normally edit much more, but I’m going to let this be a stream-of-consciousness post in the spirit of forgetting-myself fun and getting on-board in the last minute.

[Update: The banana ‘baby’ is now very brown.]