Visage

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Visage

I stare at an image greater –

Than Homer’s “Rosy Fingered Dawn.”

A vast illumination –

The very face of God.

 

Was this the self-same scene –

That met the eyes of Saul,

On the fateful journey  –

On the road to becoming Paul?

 

Glorious shining visage –

A light beyond compare;

What should fill me with trepidation,

Instead removes my every care.

 

So, I’ll stare at the image greater –

Than Homer’s “Rosy Fingered Dawn.”

And hold in my heart forever  –

The very face of God.

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Abandoned Faith

 

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photo credit: Karen Roe

A few years ago while I was walking through the woods in Nowton Park, near Bury St Edmunds, I came upon and archway door, and an upturned font. These religious relics, overgrown and neglected,  profoundly affected me.  The following is a reflection prompted by the memory.

Abandoned Faith

This is England –

Land of Anselm, Becket, and Bede.

Where “Hallelujah” so moved a king –

As to rise him from his royal seat.

 

But now gone is Lent and fasting,

and memories of the martyrs who died;

Lonely Lindisfarne,  now beset –

By a different kind of tide.

 

Football and Sunday shopping,

Now, our time requires,

Faith abandoned for “the new and now”  –

Leaving forsaken, empty spires.

 

This is England –

Home of Lennon, Dawkins, and Fry.

Land of no “Hope and Glory” –

“Above us only sky.”

 

Padre

 

 

Over All that Flows

Here is a take on the prompts from Haunted Wordsmith’s challenge.

Over All that Flows

Poseidon in Hellas,

Neptune when in Rome,

But the true Master of the sea,

Makes all the cosmos His throne.

King over all the waters,

Able to calm the stormy seas,

His power so abundant,

Even waters from Him flee.

No Tsunami in its raging,

No flood in all its show,

Compares to the One eternal,

Who controls their every flow.

 

Padre

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Prompt: King, Power, Eternal

 

 

Pomegranate Queen

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The poem below was inspired by a visit to Peterborough Cathedral where Queen Katherine of Aragon is interred. Her emblem was the pomegranate, a Medieval symbol of fertility, yet she was cast aside for being unable to produce a male heir. She was nonetheless seen by the people of England as a pious and virtuous woman, and one which even many Protestants admired.

Pomegranate Queen

Spain rising on glory’s crest,

A new world freshly found,

England’s aim to share the wave,

Through a marriage to be bound.

 

Pomegranate Princess,

Her faith and virtue we applaud,

Whose home fires she left behind,

To serve both Spain and God.

 

A Pomegranate Promise,

To two princes wed – not just the one,

Constellation hope of stellar seed,

Yet not one of them a son.

 

So like her virtuous namesake,

the saint broken on a wheel,

Both confined and cast away,

At the whim of a Caesar’s will.

 

Pomegranate Queen,

Her virtue we still applaud,

Forsaken by a husband royal,

Yet still loyal to her church and God.

 

Padre

Visiting the Resting Place of Discarded Queens

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Grave of Katherine of Aragon

Peterborough Cathedral is interesting for many reasons, but one of them is the fact that it is the resting place of post-Reformation queens.  Not only this, but it is also a unusual as it is one of few Anglican churches which still celebrate occasional Catholic Masses.

Henry VIII had in his youth been a staunch Catholic, and an opponent of the Protestant Reformation.  He was even given the title “Defender of the Faith,” by the pope. He has, however, a pragmatist. He had married his brother’s widow, Katherine of Aragon, in part to cement the Spanish alliance. She gave birth to a daughter, but failed to provide a male heir to the Tudor dynasty.  This combined with other considerations such as the need for money, and the power of the Catholic Church in the affairs of England. Henry, therefore broke with Rome, proclaiming himself head of the Church of England.

This allowed him to divorce Katherine, and set her aside.  She was given an estate in the countryside, and lived out her life holding to her Catholic faith, and was noted by many for her piety.

Katharine died at Kimbolton Castle in 1536, and was buried at Peterborough Cathedral.  Her resting place is marked by an engraved slab, and is marked Katharine’s heraldic symbol, the pomegranate. The fruit had become her emblem when she was Princess of Spain, as it symbolised fertility, and the hopes for a dynasty.

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Emblem of Katherine

 

The second Catholic queen who was buried at the cathedral was Mary Queen of Scots. Though her remains have been re-interred elsewhere, Mary was initially laid to rest in Peterborough.

She had come to England in 1567 after having been forced to abdicate the Scottish throne by her Protestant subjects. She was given a sort of asylum by her cousin Elizabeth I, but was essentially a prisoner in various houses and castles across England. In 1586 she was charged with plotting against Elizabeth, and was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle near Peterborough in 1587.

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Peterborough Cathedral

The chapels and burial sites within the cathedral are brilliant pieces of history, both of the religious and political struggles of the Tudor period, but also of the lives of discarded Catholic queens.

Padre

The New Lord

 

It wasn’t much of a fortification, an old motte and bailey which had seen more than a little wear. But Leon was now its lord, it having been passed to him with the death of his uncle, Sir Ratimir. The keep was rather squat, and the skirting walls had a distinct touch of woodworm.

He gazed at his new domain, and wondered if he could live up to the responsibility intrusted to him. After all he had only seen seventeen summers. Putting his self-doubt aside, he summoned his Steward and the Woodward and ordered that the rotting timbers be replaced.

Padre

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“Castle” in 100 words

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word.  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Themed Tuna Salad

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I recently posted a recipe for basic tuna mayo salad. I noted then that I would be giving some more elaborate tuna based ideas soon.  So here is the first, it is a Mexican themed mixture that goes well as a salad topper, or as a sandwich filler.

Ingredients:

  • Tuna 2  x 160 g tins
  • Spring Onion 1
  • Bell Pepper 1/4
  • Guacamole 150 g
  • Kidney Beans 2 -3 Tbs
  • Sweet Corn 2 Tbs
  • Salsa 1 Tbs
  • Monterrey Jack Cheese 50 g
  • Cumin 1/4 tsp
  • Jalapenos 1 Tbs (optional)

Method:

Drain the tuna and fork into a medium sized mixing bowl. Dice the onion and bell pepper and add to the tuna. Add the beans and corn, and grate the cheese over the other ingredients.  Add the Jalapenos (if used). Spoon the guacamole and salsa into the bowl, and add the cumin.  Stir well and serve.

Padre

Finding Calm

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Finding Calm

Serene surroundings reflect,

Upon a glistening surface calm,

Unaware of any turmoils which may lie below

 

How like we  – with outward face,

Showing but tranquility,

While in our minds we are tossed upon billowing sea

 

Our lives are oft rapids rough,

Of mountain heights which blow,

But in our inward journey onward to the valley shall we go

 

The gleaming valley calls to us

In its shimmering waters our peace

Serene surroundings reflecting upon the glistening water calm

 

Padre

 


 

#writephoto

 

 

 

 

 

On Remembrance

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                                          On Remembrance

Tins rattled before our face,

Reminding us to buy,

A poppy red to remember them,

The men and w’m, who fought and died

 

We who served – do remember them,

and not just upon one day,

Their faces printed in our minds 

Forever there to stay

 

It’s more than poppies, flags, and horns 

our remembrance requires no prompts, 

For we who’ve served,  it’s part of us

shaped in deserts, seas, and swamps

 

It is right and good to remember them –

Those who served along our side

As years go on we’ll honour them –

those who fought and died

 

Padre


 

In honour and remembrance of HM3 David Worley (USN) [Beirut 1983] and Sgt. Patrick R. Kwiatkowski (USMC) [El Salvador 1985]

The Wager

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Blaise Pascal was a 17th Century mathematician, philosopher, and controversial  apologist for the Christian faith.  He is,  for many,  most known for the invention of the roulette wheel, and for “the wager.”

The wager put forward the idea that humans should believe and obey God as it is a rational act.  If God doesn’t exist, a person will have only lived their lives with the insignificant loss of some pleasures, or temporal gain. If God does exist, however, a person who follows a faithful life will receive an incredible gain for their efforts (heaven). The inverse is also true, if there is a God, whose ways are not followed, then the rejector of God’s path will face ultimate loss (hell).

Personally, while I find the formula compelling, I still find it wanting theologically.  It in a sense makes doing right a mercenary act, and reduces philanthropic altruism to an act of selfishness.  The two great commands of the Law – to love God, and to love your neighbour become just calculated strategies for one’s own advancement.

Our faith should be as the hymn suggests “based on Jesus’ love and righteousness.” We do not work our way to heaven, nor connive to avoid hell.  Salvation is a gift of God. As James’ epistle suggests, we work because we are saved, not to be saved. Our lives are acts of thanksgiving and of love. They should be no less.

The Wager

(the dilemma)

How shall I approach my life,

to live for ill, or well?

Should it be just what’s good for me,

some wager by Pascal.

All concerns – for me alone,

making others’ lives a hell,

Me, myself, and I  – come first,

Never a need to atone.

Even acts for others’ good,

the avoidance of acts untoward,

Seldom right for right’s own sake,

are but paths to some reward.

(My decision)

To serve God my creator

With heaven not the goal – main

For others’ blessings

I’ll strive to live, no matter what the pain.

This is no wager,

the roll of some cosmic dice.

It is but the right thing to do,

allowing no gains to entice.

Padre