Tag Archives: poetry

Will Spring in New England ever come?

A day following 4 inches of snow in CT, today we are expecting 50 degrees and gorgeous sunshine. But as a New Englander the grandeur of God even flames out with snowfall. But, it is time for spring!!! I think of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “God’s Grandeur”, especially the first line, is a good way to appreciate the day.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
“Poems and Prose” (Penguin Classics, 1985)

Remembering Gerard Manley Hopkins, priest


On this date in 1889, Jesuit Father Gerard Manley Hopkins died. He was a convert and a poet. Hopkins struggled with having good physical and mental health.

Hopkins’ poetry is extraordinary and innovative in the use of language and form. It is said the was influence more by the Franciscan school than the Thomists.

O God, You did raise Your servant, Gerard Manley Hopkins, to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ, according to the Order of Melchisedech, giving him the sublime power to offer the Eternal Sacrifice, to bring the Body and Blood of Your Son Jesus Christ down upon the altar, and to absolve the sins of men in Your own Holy Name. We beseech You to reward his faithfulness and to forget his faults, admitting him speedily into Your Holy Presence, there to enjoy forever the recompense of his labors. This we ask through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Versed in Prayer: a poetry reading by Rita A. Simmonds

Tree Tops.jpgTo celebrate faith and culture in this Year of Faith, Rita A. Simmonds, a friend, is reading her poetry in a program Versed in Prayerat St. Malachy’s-The Actors’ Chapel in NYC on 28 November 2012, 7pm.

Rita’s poetry is frequently featured in the monthly MAGNIFICAT magazine. Her work is award-winning.
Versed in Prayer is MAGNIFICAT’s way of celebrating the Year of Faith following upon the invitation of Pope Benedict: “Faith is God’s gift and transforms the person deep within. Confessing with the lips in turn implies public testimony.”
Versed in Prayer will be moderated by MAGNIFICAT’s Editor-in-Chief Father Peter John Cameron, OP with the abled assistance of Jonathan Fields on guitar and photography by David Galalis.
The event is free. No tickets required. More info found here.
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Pelican Inspiration.jpeg

PELICANUS is the word for a certain breed of bird

    Who truly is a crane;

    Egypt is his domain.

    There are two kinds there-of;

    Near to the Nile they live;

    One of them dwells in the flood, the fishes are his food;

    The other lives in the isles on lizards, crocodiles,

    Serpents and stinking creatures, and beasts of evil nature.

In Greek his title was Onocrotalos, which is longum rostrum,

    Said in the Latin tongue instead,

    Or long break in our own.

Of this bird it is known that when he comes to his young,

    They being grown and strong,

    And does them kindly things,

    And covers them with his wings.

The little birds begin fiercely to peck at him;

    They tear at him and try to blind their father’s eye.

    He falls upon them then and stays them with great pain,

    Then goes away for a spell, leaving them where they fell.

On the third day he returns, and thereupon he mourns,

    Feeling so strong a woe to see the small birds so

    That he strikes his breast with his beak until the blood shall leak.

And when the coursing blood spatters his lifeless brood,

    Such virtue does it have

    That once again they live.

Know that this pelican signifies Mary’s Son:

    The little birds are men restored to life again by that dear blood

    Shed for us by our God.

Now learn one morning more, revealed by holy lore:

    Know why the small birds try to peck thie father’s eye,

    Who turns on them in wrath and puts them all to death.

Men who deny the light would blind God’s blazing sight,

    But on such people all His punishment will fall.

    This is the meaning I find:

    Now bear it well in mind.

              — from an Anglo-Norman Bestiary of 1120 by Philippe de Thaun;

                this version from “Things of this World” by Richard Wilbur

Paul Quenon: man, Trappist, semi-hermit, poet

Br Paul Quenon.jpgBrother Paul Quenon, OCSO, has been a monk for 52 years. That is, he’s been trying to live in God and by learning to deepen one’s capacity to love in community; that’s how he describes life as a Trappist monk. A one-time spiritual son of Father Louis (Thomas Merton), Brother Paul lives a contemplative life –that is, on the margins of society but at the center of the Church. His witness is a life of proclaiming the beauty of Christ from an abbey of the Strict Observance of Cistercians. Religion and Ethics Newsweekly‘s Judy Valente interviewed Brother Paul recently at his home, the Abbey of Gethsemani.

The interview can be viewed here.
Brother Paul continues his conversation with some extra questions and answers noted here. Here he talks about Father M. Louis — Thomas Merton: his personality and life, his call, the spirituality he lived and taught, and the mystery of what he sought.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms



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