A Common-Place Jotting: “Lord, It Belongs Not To My Care”

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Richard Baxter was a 17th-century English theologian and Reformed pastor whose fruitfulness in ministry continues to inspire the church today. Most quoted is this advice to those in ministry which, given recent high-profile scandals, can use another dusting off:

Take heed to yourselves, lest you be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to others, and be strangers to the effectual working of that gospel which you preach . . . and lest you famish yourselves while you prepare food for them.

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor

Also a poet, Baxter summarized the manner of his preaching this way: 

I preach’d, as never sure to preach again,
And as a dying man to dying men!
O how should preachers men’s repenting crave,
Who see how near the church is to the grave?

Lightfoot’s Last Testament

If
one day
you are told
this was an accident,
caused by your increasing crescendo
of scorn, my darling,

don’t
spill

precious ink

tracking why?
in (what your sort) calls poetry.

Poetry is simply

breaking through walls.

photo ©Liz Young

[Addendum for Friday Fictioneers:]

United World Chronicle, 6/5/2100: Missing Woman.

Christina Lightfoot left this note and photograph for her fiancé, Lord Ettlesworth. After multiple crashes, she successfully flew her automobile into outer space. The vehicle reportedly runs on a nuclear-powered, zero-gravity generator. The World Authorities Commission Force (WACF) is requesting information in return for zero lifetime taxes on sales, income, property, and travel.

For Rochelle's Friday Fictioneers (100 words or less; click frog for more) 
and Sammi's Weekend Writing Prompt, 37 words, "Crescendo." 

Buggy Annals

image source – lovethispic.com

Nothing in you, nothing in me,
Nothing as far as eye can see
Nothing to say who made me,
Nothing makes itself plain to me
Nothing will be my guide and creed
No absolutes but what my thoughts decree
Ruler of my own destiny
Master of sky, land and sea
No limit to whatever desires mingle, set free
It’s all about me, from A to Z
I’m free to decide what’s best for me
What’s wrong for you may be right for me
Ask Mother Nature, what’s cruelty?
Evolution’s progress, look at me!
[SPLAT!]
– Last sounds of Nobigbug Butméé

PHOTO PROMPT © Miles Rost

Genre: Poetry
Word Count: 100

I’ve been rather under the weather lately but roused myself to participate in Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers and Eugi’s Weekly Prompt. I’ve read many of the entries already and am inspired. Eugi asks us to use any variation on the top photo or the word prompt (“mingle”). Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt (above) and limit our words to 100 or less. Check them out!

The Old Man and the Sea

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields invites us weekly to join the Friday Fictioneers in their creative quests of a hundred words or less, prompted by a photo. Click on the frog to join in!
 
 
PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

The Old Man and the Sea

“Bleu, bleu, l’amour est bleu,” crooned the old man beneath his cap
Remembering the promise he had failed to keep as a lad of nineteen
He stood before the sea, and his heart surged piteously
Remembering the promise he had failed to keep as a man of thirty-two
“Comme l’eau, comme l’eau qui court,” sang he, wading into surf
Remembering the promise he had failed to keep as a cavalier of fifty-four
His blood ran cold as a sea-voice joined in
“Fou comme toi et fou comme moi,”
then down he went
in a sea-embrace
till he sang
no
more.

Continue reading “The Old Man and the Sea”

You Have Been Good to Me, LORD

I’m loving the Psalms this morning, especially those whose words have sunk deep into my heart. Of them, Psalm 121 always comes to mind. And how it causes me to say, in the words of Psalm 13: 6, “I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.”

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121 (ESV)
Audrey Assad, “Good To Me” (lyrics below)

Good To Me (Audrey Assad)

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

And I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night – raise my head up to hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, yeah

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Yeah, Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I trust in Your promise

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Because You’ re good (You are good to me, good to me)
So good (You are good to me, good to me)
You are good to me

A Common-Place Jotting: “A low dishonest decade”

Auden in 1939

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden wrote “September 1, 1939” at the outbreak of World War II in Europe. It’s a poem that’s often quoted during times of crises such as ours, and only seems to highlight the recurring cycles of political dissimulation and media exacerbated fury that escalates into tragedy. While battling a virus, we’ve “cancelled” each other and branded each other racists and bigots. We’ve listened to politicians and oligopolies wildly denounce opponents of their agendas as terrorists. We’ve been witness to unchecked brutality this past year as our cities burned with mob violence during which thirty people were murdered, and neighborhoods and livelihoods went up in smoke while governors and mayors watched.

Auden began the poem with these words:

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

In the penultimate stanza he cautions: “We must love one another or die.” The same holds true today.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

excerpt from W. H. Auden’s September 1, 1939

Read the complete poem at poets.org. And hear the poet Dylan Thomas read it below.

Spatial Encounter

Hubble Telescope Image

I am not averse to reimaginations
Given you walked out of my conversation
As a noetic effect of its distillation

I am not chained to inharmonious juxtapositions
When salubrious angels gather in celebration
Of a desire prayed and given manifestation

I am simply thankful for your gravitation
Towards me, bindingly, irradiate sub-atomic fusion
Where once I envisioned only solitary annihilation

Yet this I wonder, and this in never-ending fascination
How in moments your eyes gray meet my brown it’s recreation
Of a space-time-matter continuum of conflagration

For dVerse's "Poetics:Look into my Eyes"
Click on Mr. Linky and join in!