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Archive for January, 2008

I’d like to respond to a comment a reader made about the Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnet posted yesterday, which begins, If I should learn, in some quite casual way. She feels the poem is callous and unfeeling.

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It is hard to separate the historical Brigid, who died in the first quarter of the sixth century, and whose feast we celebrate on Feb. 1, from the spiritual Brigid, who has affinity with the mother of the Celtic gods.

The problem is accentuated by the fact that her festival falls on the day of Imbolc, the Celtic season that marks the coming of light after the dark days of winter.

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When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

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I have been thinking lately about poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). We were reciting her poems for each other one morning in Vermont.

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
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From An Atlas Of The Difficult World

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
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The White Owl

This morning when I woke, there was a white owl sitting on a limb outside my window. I looked up and saw it in the branches right before it flew away.

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Humility

Today in the Rule of St. Benedict I once again started the chapter on humility. Benedict puts such emphasis on humility because he believes it is the glue of relationships.

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