Monday, June 13, 2011

In Spiration

Yesterday was a very important day in the Catholic liturgical year: It was Pentecost. Fifty days after Easter we celebrate the descending of Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had promised his disciples. With this arrival the disciples went from being afraid, isolated and inactive to being bold, mixing with people from many different cultures and proclaiming the freedom and truth that they had received.

Although not as dramatic, I felt a profound sense of fearlessness and joy yesterday, as I gathered with a group of others my age for an hour of praise and worship. Growing up I was afraid of the strange things that would happen to people when they "gave way to the spirit". I didn't understand it and I avoided it as much as I could.

Last fall I had the opportunity to go to a similar event of worship, called Duc in Altum (Latin for "Put out into the deep"). I was hesitant but I thought I should go. One of the things that usually happens to me at these emotional confrontations with God is I would uncontrollably begin to cry. And that is perhaps one of my greatest fears (and probably why I really disliked going); I was afraid to show my insecurities and vulnerability to others. I removed myself to the back of the church. I didn't leave, since I felt prompted to go to confession. I went to talk to a priest but I couldn't hold back the tears and I felt incredibly embarrassed. He comforted me though. He didn't judge me. He understood that I was hurt deep inside and that I needed the healing I was avoiding, because I didn't want to risk opening myself for anything. In the end he blessed me and gave me a poignant penance: to love myself and pray for healing.

I think something incredible began that misty, Autumn evening. Something that I can see unfolding little by little and that particularly struck me yesterday. Yesterday I was not afraid to cry and sing. Past bitterness and pain and anxiety seemed to be just washed away. The spirit is like the wind. He's always there, gently stirring, but He can't do much for us if we don't have our sails unfurled. We get so scared that we will be hurt again in this hurtful, confusing little world. But it is only in diving into the deep that we can find healing, from the one that will never disappoint or harm us. Once we do that we can be free of our fear and open our selves to the "fear of the Lord" instead, which is the beginning of spiritual growth (I want to explore this idea in a future post). Like many great things, it all starts with inspiration!

This year on Pentecost I felt very inspired, that is, filled with the Spirit. Not only did the presence of the Holy Spirit feel very close but He brought with Him many wonderful treasures. Just like the artists of old waited for their muse to bring them their inspiration, the Spirit leads us, gives ideas and prompts action. So besides joy, peace and healing I was so filled with artistic ideas yesterday, from things I want to sew to ideas for paintings. Now I just need to get some motivation!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Feat of Fondant

I had wanted to make fondant for a while. I researched it and the first method I found looked rather daunting, since it uses many rare-sounding ingredients. But then I found one that simply entailed melting marshmallows (or using a jar of "fluff" spread) and then mixing a whole load of icing sugar into it. So that is what I did and it basically became of soft mass that was essentially an uber-sweet, giant marshmallow. I had to work with it chilled because as soon as it warmed up it was too soft of even lift onto a cake. I also hand to cover my hands with butter and roll it on tons of confectioner's sugar. It was an interesting process and I loved the way the cakes looked (even though I didn't have the patience to iron out all the bumps and make it perfect). But due to the fact that it was mind numbingly sweet and a bit of s sticky mess I don't think I'll be doing it again in the near future. It was definitely worth the try though!



After I baked and cut one of the cakes into a square I had a bunch of samll pieces left. So I thought I'd make it an island in a little, tropical scene.



I made a rainbow cake for my boyfriend's birthday because the theme to our relationship is "In rainbow and storm, together no matter what the weather" ^^



Here is a "shoe shot" of me with me birthday cake, followed by a close-up. I made it light pink with a white bow to look like a present. The raspberries are the real deal.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Celebrate and Stabilize

This is a poem I wrote last January and
just unearthed from my e-mail. It may not
be April any more, but I'm still in the
mood for poetry.
--------------------------------

Dear Celebration,

Looking at your picture, taking it in
Warm hues and comforting glance
A sign of hope written on skin
Spark of inspiration, like a dance

Much beauty and goodness, God-given
Even when ashen agonies take you
Know that in me joy you enliven
Many blessings are shown true

Messenger, of heaven-sewn tidings
Crystally shown in you for my eyes
Matters not what are other's findings
For you is where my love lies

Love,
Stability

Saturday, April 30, 2011

JABBERWOCKY

By Lewis Carroll

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Good Friday Reflection: The Crucifixtion in Art

Fr. Barron's Word On Fire has been such a rich source of solid teaching and inspiration for me recently. His articles and videos are so relevant and deep. Here is a particularly poignant article from his site:

http://www.wordonfire.org/WoF-Blog/WoF-Blog/April-2011/Holy-Week-Lingering-at-the-Foot-of-the-Cross.aspx

Hallelujah

Today instead of a poem I'd like to post a link to a song, one that is very appropriate for Easter. Based on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," this is a beautiful song about Christ's death and resurrection by the very talented Kelley Mooney.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guhr0Vh2hE0

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fern Hill

by Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Ups and Downs, The Changing Seasons of Life...

This poem resonated with me since I think it really
captures the bittersweetness of growing up.


---------------------------------------------------
Spring and Fall: To a Young Child
---------------------------------------------------
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

MARGARET, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie.
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

(http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/hopkins1.html)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let Go of Your Worries

by Rumi


Let go of your worries

and be completely clear-hearted,

like the face of a mirror

that contains no images.

If you want a clear mirror,

behold yourself

and see the shameless truth,

which the mirror reflects.

If metal can be polished

to a mirror-like finish,

what polishing might the mirror

of the heart require?

Between the mirror and the heart

is this single difference:

the heart conceals secrets,

while the mirror does not.


(http://www.rumi.org.uk/love_poems.html)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nothing

by Reinhold Niebuhr

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime;
therefore, we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense
in any immediate context of history;
therefore, we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;
therefore we are saved by love.


(http://www.panhala.net/Archive/Nothing_Niebuhr.html)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

in Just-

by e.e. cummings

---------------------------------------------------
I dedicate this to Brian, who introduced
it and so many wonderful poems to me.

---------------------------------------------------

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little lame balloonman


whistles far and wee


and eddyandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
spring


when the world is puddle-wonderful


the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing


from hop-scotch and jump-rope and


it's
spring
and
the
goat-footed


balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee

Monday, April 11, 2011

Muzeum (The Museum)

I discovered this Polish Nobel Prize winner's poems recently. This is one of my favourites. I'm working on my own translation, and will post it soon.

--------------
Muzeum
--------------
by Wisława Szymborska

Są talerze, ale nie ma apetytu.
Są obrączki, ale nie m wzajemności
od co najmniej trzystu lat.

Jest wachlarz - gdzie rumieńce?
Są miecze - gdzie gniew?
I lutnia ani brzęknie o szarej godzinie.

Z braku wieczności zgromadzono
dziesięć tysięcy starych rzeczy.
Omszały woźny drzemie słodko
zwiesiwszy wąsy nad gablotką.

Metale, glina, piórko ptasie
cichutko tryumfują w czasie.
Chichocze tylko szpilka po śmieszce z Egiptu.

Korona przeczekała głowę.
Przegrała dłoń do rękawicy.
Zwyciężył prawy but nad nogą.

Co do mnie, żyję, proszę wierzyć.
Mój wyścig z suknią nadal trwa.
A jaki ona upór ma!
A jak by ona chciała przeżyć!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Lady of Shalott

My first brief introduction to this poem was through the Anne of Green Gables movies, which I have loved ever since I can remember. But after studying The Lady of Shalott in depth in University I have come to really like this poem and appreciate it's subtleties.

---------------------------------
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;
Down to tower'd Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott."

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armor rung
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, burning bright,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance --
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right --
The leaves upon her falling light --
Thro' the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
And around the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

When the Holy Thaws

by St. Teresa of Avila

A woman's body, like the earth, has seasons;
when the mountain stream flows,
when the holy
thaws,

when I am most fragile and in need,
it was then, it seemed,
God came
closest.

God, like a medic on a field, is tending our souls.
Our horns get locked with desires, but don't hold yourself
too accountable; for all desires are
really innocent. That is what
the compassion in His
eyes tell me.

Why this great war between the countries -- the countries --
inside of us?

What are all these insane borders we protect?
What are all these different names for the same church of love
we kneel in together? For it is true, together we live; and only
at that shrine where all are welcome will God sing
loud enough to be heard.

Our horns got locked with the earth and sky in some odd
marriage ritual; so what, don't worry. We should be proud of
ourselves for everything we helped create in this
magic world.

And God is always there, if you feel wounded. He kneels
over this earth like
a divine medic,

and His love thaws
the holy in us.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

February

This is a poem I wrote last year. I'm thinking
about revising it or writing a second part soon.


Lingering on, February
So many memories to visit.
Strange. So distant yet
So near.

Three daisies behind Glass.
Colour of snow. White cinders
Of anguish's Fire. But yellow,
Too, like the Sun.

Hot Sun, bright star. Source
Of warmth yet flares writhing.
More alive than metal moon.
Giving away it's spare light.

But hard metals turn to daisies
in a shoe box. What about hard
Times? Is there a box for them?
Place where it doesn't hurt.

Walking, talking, laughing,
crying. Food, paper, excavating
rants and rambles. Eyes locked.
Together, even when afraid.

But what about in February?

Ides after Ides. Never the same.
Stepping forward, stepping back.
Dance of life. But you never liked
dancing.

Guilt, pain, going insane.
Without you. Acceptance,
detachment? How? Pain, is
a parasite, kills the flower.

Month after month
This the shortest.
Who knew? Not a dance
but a ride.

Never on a ride together
except the one that matters.
So suffering matters too,
after all. Reblossom.

Changing, growing, sinking.
Daisies dying. But bloom
will come again. Nature
is constant - like love.

Even in February.

Monday, April 4, 2011

April is Poetry Month

Why? Why not! But seriously I feel that as spring gets going a time of renewal and reflection is appropriate. I haven't read much poetry in the past but having a boyfriend who loves poetry is beginning to influence me. Also, just going through a lot of changes in my life right now I somehow just turned to poems, music and, of course, prayer.

I'm going to try to post a poem everyday in April. Enjoy~

-------
X&Y
-------
by Coldplay

Trying hard to speak
And fighting with my weak hand
Driven to distraction
So part of the plan
When something is broken
And you try to fix it
Trying to Repair it
Anyway you can

I dive in at the deep end
You become my best friend
I want to love you
But I don't know if I can
I know something is broken
And I'm trying to fix it
Trying to repair it
Anyway I can

You and me are floating on a tidal wave
Together
You and me are drifting into outer space
And singing

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Darkling Thrush

by Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Gleam of Sunshine

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time's flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;
There the green lane descends,
Through which I walked to church with thee,
O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees
Lay moving on the grass;
Between them and the moving boughs,
A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,
And thy heart as pure as they:
One of God's holy messengers
Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees
Bend down thy touch to meet,
The clover-blossoms in the grass
Rise up to kiss thy feet,

"Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Of earth and folly born!"
Solemnly sang the village choir
On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Poured in a dusty beam,
Like the celestial ladder seen
By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind,
Sweet-scented with the hay,
Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves
That on the window lay.

Long was the good man's sermon,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,
And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For in my heart I prayed with him,
And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene
With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
Like pine-trees dark and high,
Subdue the light of noon, and breathe
A low and ceaseless sigh;

This memory brightens o'er the past,
As when the sun, concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs
Shines on a distant field.