Meditationes in Psalmum 148

Laudate Dominum de caelis;
laudate eum in excelsis.

Sing ALLELUIA from the halls
of golden heaven, God’s high realm;
and echo forth with trumpet-calls
that blinding glory at the helm!

Laudate eum, omnes angeli eius;
laudate eum, omnes virtutes eius.

Sing ALLELUIA, angel hosts,
with roaring voice; ambassadors
and heralds, whose great message boasts
of Heaven’s hearth and Earth’s bright shores.

Laudate eum, sol et luna;
laudate eum, omnes stellae lucentes.

Sing ALLELUIA, sun and moon:
of generosity, of light,
of splendor changing shadows’ gloom,
to spite the fear of darkened night.

Laudate eum, caeli caelorum
et aquae omnes, quae super caelos sunt.

Sing ALLELUIA falling rain,
whose gentle pouring makes us vim,
replenishing the sparkling main
of bounteous waters filled to brim.

Laudent nomen Domini,
quia ipse mandavit, et creata sunt;

Sing ALLELUIA to the Name
which whispers through eternity,
who gives the nucleus its frame,
and radiant stars, paternity.

statuit ea in aeternum et in saeculum saeculi;
praeceptum posuit, et non praeteribit.

Sing ALLELUIA to the Liege
whose loving care does not decline;
whose Fiat death cannot besiege,
nor fading of the light malign.

Laudate Dominum de terra,
dracones et omnes abyssi,

Sing ALLELUIA even you
that slither in the gaping maw;
whom highest Beauty can’t renew
yet still were made to praise, in awe.

ignis, grando, nix, fumus,
spiritus procellarum, qui facit verbum eius,

Sing ALLELUIA, elements
of fire, of hail, of winds that race
and crash against our battlements,
that we may solely trust God’s grace.

montes et omnes colles,
ligna fructifera et omnes cedri,

Sing ALLELUIA, mountain-top,
and vineyard-planted hill; whose sights
are joy to patient eyes which stop
to hail your lofty, arbor’d heights.

bestiae et universa pecora,
serpentes et volucres pennatae.

Sing ALLELUIA fowl and beasts
who nurse your young and hunt for game;
munificent is God, whose feasts
suffice for man and faun the same.

Reges terrae et omnes populi,
principes et omnes iudices terrae,

Sing ALLELUIA, kings of all,
and low-born needy child as well,
you princes, judges, poor: recall
that He has come to reign and dwell.

iuvenes et virgines,
senes cum iunioribus

Sing ALLELUIA innocents,
who know not swords nor clash of shields,
nor death; and elders, who dispense
old wisdom from the well-tilled fields.

laudent nomen Domini,
quia exaltatum est nomen eius solius.

Sing ALLELUIA to the Lord,
whose love is blue Earth’s glorious guide;
whose slightest creature is a hoard,
the treasury of Heaven’s pride.

Magnificentia eius super caelum et terram,
et exaltavit cornu populi sui.

Sing ALLELUIA, ever, thus!
Adorn the Cosmos and Earth’s bounds,
for God gives fullest health to us
to tend and steward all His grounds.

Hymnus omnibus sanctis eius,
filiis Israel, populo, qui propinquus est ei.

Sing ALLELUIA little ones,
for all the ages, hymns and songs;
for you are each adopted sons.
The Lord unites your ancient throngs.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto,
sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.

Sing ALLELUIA to our God
who — one high Father, Son, and breath
of life, the Spirit — rules abroad
in every age: who knows not death.

Amen.

The Garden Angel

When our first head mistook Great Love
for false and idle rule,
and spurned our bright vocation then,
to trample on the jewel,

The multi-faceted, the joy
of all their duties there:
that Cultivated Peace,
which veiled the Garden’s air.

And as the Master of the World
did mercifully hide
his highest creature’s shame from Earth,
he took th’intended bride

And led us by the hand, with grief,
to see the barren field,
the rocky toil of all the world,
the harvest death did yield.

He set a certain angel there,
from of the Cherubim,
who, having seen this fall, did weep,
lament a sword so grim,

And wince at such a stern demand;
for this old blade was fire
that, if the bride would but approach,
would be a deadly pyre.

So as the soul and body, once
all full with deathless grace ,
removed itself from life by curse,
we said, before the Face:

“The angel bars our way back Home
with steel and flaming sting;
come, let us spite this fiery gate,
enkindled by the ‘King’,

And so we make our own abode,
and found our fiefs on pride,
to burn away the memory
of Eden’s peaceful tide.”

The single angel sighed for these,
though keeping to his post,
and watched the progress of that heart
which God had loved the most.

And all the glory of that plot
has passed from history;
man, thus removed, in faded days,
forgot the mystery.

From death to death they journeyed on,
the long travail of years
and tilled, as best, the barren soil
which shaped their vale of tears.

The ages of the world moved on,
and on went wars and spite,
and on went lifeless ages: on
and on with none to right…

Until a single, sunny day,
an average course of dawn,
when Life itself then had its say,
restoring what was pawned.

It went like this: a grieving band,
a good “man” lately dead;
when ill had conquered all; the clash
had come unto a head.

And in this lustrous morning mist,
which gleamed as precious stone,
a door was opened, rock rolled back;
and watching, there, not known

To these, a changeless person sat:
familiar to earth,
yet young and full of life; with hope,
his smile declared “new birth”.

He dwelt there, pondering the sun,
and, seeing that its rays
alighted on his rocky throne,
no longer felt its blaze,

For one whose mighty arm and hand
had won the victory,
went forth; and stout, this servant gave
death’s valedictory:

“Dear women: brides, and maids, and more,
his name is Adam, now;
or, Adam as he ought to be,
for truly, truly, how

Could He destroy you, whom He loved
these many centuries,
and not unlock these ancient tombs,
your penitentiaries?

I know you’ve groaned and yearned to smell
that Garden air again,
and long have all your faithful raged
and pushed against this grain,

Yet barren death and curse came near,
and I, appointed guard,
watched, lest in all your maddened rush,
it be forever barred.

But now the one who left these clothes
hasĀ  rushed headlong, thus blessed,
and gone to flow’ring Galilee
that death may be redressed.

Don’t wonder much that this has come;
for Old went out to fade
by way of Garden, Fire, and Rock;
the New has come to aid

by rock and fire and garden path,
the opposite of old,
yet mirroring the one he saved,
his face embossed in gold.

Back then I held the sword; now stone,
he bid, that I have moved;
of old I mourned the Man and Bride;
today, their love is proved.

Old Adam left for dust and death,
the New has brought you life;
The Old went out, and slashed himself;
New Adam broke the knife.

Old Lust had scorned the teeming grass,
and furnaced idol shrines;
New Love has pushed away the ore,
redrew the icon’s lines.

From life to death to life again
is not an empty round;
the First went in, the Last went out,
on firm and surest ground.

Go tell your sullen men, your bone
of bones and flesh of flesh:
not only is the union healed;
the King now reigns afresh.”

An angel stood to block the way,
that Garden be not tomb;
the same now heralds break of day,
that grave be Garden’s womb.

St. Clare

Do you, as human, seek the greatest wealth?
Imperishable means to Life, our gift?
Then hear, you bountiful, who know not health,
The deaf’ning whispers of a friend called Thrift.
And this is from the nat’ural heart, as well
as from divinity, for Christ,
with Seneca, rebuked the pride of Hell,
and showed how low are riches to be priced.
I even dare to call her Blessed Want;
for we’re upheld by all her humble souls:
who, lacking most the means of pride, can flaunt
the “accidents” of life; their empty bowls.
Again I call her blessed, who is Poor;
beholden not to fortune, she is More.

Evangelistarum

Consider words, with all their fragile might;
their holy beauty stirs the memory;
like “Evangelistarum”: emery
for cutting gems that vex the golden light.
Think, soul, how this pure, flowing sound has graced
the page: a crystal-clear and airy word,
that hovers in the firmament; unheard,
for its antiquity, not forged in haste.
But though unused, its lustre lives for ‘ere,
like Gandalf’s “Istari”, the noble seers
of wisdom; they whose understanding ears,
whose ragged clothes, disguised how they were fair.
And more, “Vangelis”, singing of the moon
and sky and distant oceans lapping shores;
or simply “stars”, to which we often soar,
among their billion friends, where hopes are strewn.
This image had no conflict that’s resolved;
it’s happy just to be a thought, evolved.

Double Sonnet “For Seneca”

Do you, O Man, still measure your own walk
by pace of strangers, busy with all things?
And lowering your voice, you loudly knock
on doors of tyrants, cheaply claimed as kings?
Do you yet gorge from golden platters laid
before you, clanging, when your hunger dims?
And, frightened from assertion, thus put paid
to tales of good and right; of anthems, hymns?
Have you forgot our life? Calm acts of Good,
the hero’s will? Have these in mind at all?
That, yes, despite being lost in darkest wood
our journey follows some old, quiet Call?
I offer remedy, you Overwhelmed, who, lacking
peaceful words, are noisome — so hear me:
Bear, now, your very self away and think:
“If I would lack the busy-ness of strife,
without the friend to text, or kitchen sink
to gather ’round and talk, would I have life?”
O Men, your wearied hearts are cast down low;
despising me, you revel in each high.
I am a friend of man; perceived a foe,
forlorn, but hope’s Great Ally. Who am I?
Pursuer of all men, with love, unto the end,
though, knowing not, you fret to meet my face:
the only help whose countenance will send
its seeker to its opposite’s embrace.
I am the deepest knell, the piercing doom that summons
fools to wisdom — my name is Silence.