A Little Monastery, Monasticism

Death in the Little Monastery

Last week we lost our pet hamster, Everest.  She was our youngest daughter’s friend, and she’s passed on to the big hamster wheel in the sky, so to speak.

We found her dead in her cage while our daughter Miss Bouncy was finishing up with bath time, so I made a coffin out of half of a toothpaste box, filled it with pretty gift tissue paper, and wrapped it with white paper.  After bath-time Miss Bouncy came out and we had to explain to her that Everest had died and that she needed to say her goodbye.  So, she drew a nice picture of her and Everest on the coffin, and the other children wrote their names on the base of it, and we let her hold Everest’s body for a little while and then placed Everest in her resting place and closed the lid.  Miss Bouncy didn’t want to bury her just yet, so we let her sleep with Everest next to her bed and then buried her the next day next to our Japanese Maple tree, at the Easter edge of our property.  Everyone agreed it was a good spot.  So, I said a couple of words, Miss Bouncy said a couple of words, and then we placed Everest in the hole and covered her up and that was that.


Rhythmic Poetry

Rains Descend

Rains descend upon my head
The sky grows dark and chill
The rush surround my mind and soul
To freeze my halting will

Clouds move o’er the dawning sun
And halt the marching light
My vision dims throughout the morn
And shrinks into the night

Fogs envelope mind and frame
The world becomes a haze
The hues of life are bled and dried
My eyes are dark and glazed

(featured image source)

Free Verse

She Calls to Me

She calls to me. The fair island.


Her fragrant scent,
so sweet,
so full of death and growth,
flows o’er the oceans vast
that stretch so tautly on
our mother’s swollen womb
with dark and melancholy
distending in a body’s sullen soul
by resonating peals;
a paradox, a pox
of reeling brews
that ply a healing trade
on dour thoughts and funny feelings paining
through unholy nights;
through songs sung sadly
through the ages’ deaths;
her wars whirl gayly in merry, Faerie step;
her people weave
into the dirt and grass and trees,
tied ever to her lovely, bloody land
by langauge’s lilting
rugged lullabies –
bog-born brogues of soil’s
ferocious raw-bred tenacity,
bred on love and sorrow’s teats –
raised in seas and rolling mountains green with growth,
maturing in the mouths of saints
and scholared bards
(a full and heady brew,
drunk and read and writ
by literary sages
singing in their happy


Persistently she calls to me,
sweet Eire fair, until her bloody end.


The Hound of Heaven

The classic poem, “The Hound of Heaven“, by Francis Thompson

I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;	
  I fled Him, down the arches of the years;	
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways	
    Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears	
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.	
      Up vistaed hopes I sped;	
      And shot, precipitated,	
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,	
  From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.	
      But with unhurrying chase,	
      And unperturbèd pace,	
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,	
      They beat—and a Voice beat	
      More instant than the Feet—	
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’	
          I pleaded, outlaw-wise,	
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,	
  Trellised with intertwining charities;	
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,	
        Yet was I sore adread	
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside).	
But, if one little casement parted wide,	
  The gust of His approach would clash it to.	
  Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.	
Across the margent of the world I fled,	
  And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,	
  Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars;	
        Fretted to dulcet jars	
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.	
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;	
  With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over	
        From this tremendous Lover—	
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!	
  I tempted all His servitors, but to find	
My own betrayal in their constancy,	
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,	
  Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.	
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;	
  Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.	
      But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,	
    The long savannahs of the blue;	
        Or whether, Thunder-driven,	
    They clanged his chariot ’thwart a heaven,	
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—	
  Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.	
      Still with unhurrying chase,	
      And unperturbèd pace,	
    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,	
      Came on the following Feet,	
      And a Voice above their beat—	
    ‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’	
I sought no more that after which I strayed	
  In face of man or maid;	
But still within the little children’s eyes	
  Seems something, something that replies,	
They at least are for me, surely for me!	
I turned me to them very wistfully;	
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair	
  With dawning answers there,	
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.	
‘Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share	
With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;	
  Let me greet you lip to lip,	
  Let me twine with you caresses,	
  With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,	
  With her in her wind-walled palace,	
  Underneath her azured daïs,	
  Quaffing, as your taintless way is,	
    From a chalice	
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’	
    So it was done:	
I in their delicate fellowship was one—	
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.	
  I knew all the swift importings	
  On the wilful face of skies;	
  I knew how the clouds arise	
  Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;	
    All that’s born or dies	
  Rose and drooped with; made them shapers	
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine;	
  With them joyed and was bereaven.	
  I was heavy with the even,	
  When she lit her glimmering tapers	
  Round the day’s dead sanctities.	
  I laughed in the morning’s eyes.	
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,	
  Heaven and I wept together,	
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;	
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart	
    I laid my own to beat,	
    And share commingling heat;	
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.	
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.	
For ah! we know not what each other says,	
  These things and I; in sound I speak—	
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.	
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;	
  Let her, if she would owe me,	
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me	
  The breasts o’ her tenderness:	
Never did any milk of hers once bless	
    My thirsting mouth.	
    Nigh and nigh draws the chase,	
    With unperturbèd pace,	
  Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;	
    And past those noisèd Feet	
    A voice comes yet more fleet—	
  ‘Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me!’	
Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!	
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,	
    And smitten me to my knee;	
  I am defenceless utterly.	
  I slept, methinks, and woke,	
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.	
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,	
  I shook the pillaring hours	
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,	
I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—	
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.	
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,	
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.	
  Yea, faileth now even dream	
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;	
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist	
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,	
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account	
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.	
  Ah! is Thy love indeed	
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,	
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?	
  Ah! must—	
  Designer infinite!—	
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?	
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;	
And now my heart is as a broken fount,	
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever	
  From the dank thoughts that shiver	
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.	
  Such is; what is to be?	
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?	
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;	
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds	
From the hid battlements of Eternity;	
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then	
Round the half-glimpsèd turrets slowly wash again.	
  But not ere him who summoneth	
  I first have seen, enwound	
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;	
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.	
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields	
  Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields	
  Be dunged with rotten death?	
      Now of that long pursuit	
    Comes on at hand the bruit;	
  That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:	
    ‘And is thy earth so marred,	
    Shattered in shard on shard?	
  Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!	
  Strange, piteous, futile thing!	
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?	
Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),	
‘And human love needs human meriting:	
  How hast thou merited—	
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?	
  Alack, thou knowest not	
How little worthy of any love thou art!	
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,	
  Save Me, save only Me?	
All which I took from thee I did but take,	
  Not for thy harms,	
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.	
  All which thy child’s mistake	
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:	
  Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’	
  Halts by me that footfall:	
  Is my gloom, after all,	
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?	
  ‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,	
  I am He Whom thou seekest!	
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’	

Blank Verse

Transitory Dreams

All my dreams have slowly slipped away
I stand before the massive maw
Naked in the fog of future’s present past
Memory confused and lost

Hope has flown beyond the setting sun
Night has come with beasts in tow
Clouds preclude familiar silver light
On a darkened rocky path

Life has lost its special taste and joy
Complexity confuses all
Color fades beneath the darkened clouds
Vision is removed

I am frozen in decision’s grasp
A slave of choice’s hold
All my paths are open to the void
Curled on the floor

(featured image source)