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Friday, 23 April 2010

From the Grimestone Lyrics: The Glory of the World Is


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File:Chrysomus ruficapillus -Costanera Sur  Nature Reserve,  Argentina-8.jpg




Gloria mundi est;
Als a se flouwende
Als a skiye pasende
Als the sadwe in the undermel
And als the dore turnet on a quel.



the glory of the world is
as a flowing
as a passing cloud
as an early afternoon shadow
as the closing of a door











Gloria mundi est (The Glory of the World Is): from The Commonplace Book of John of Grimestone, c. 1372

Chrysomus ruficapillus (Chestnut-capped blackbird), Cortanera Sur Nature Reserve, Argentina: photo by dfaulder, 2010
Lightning and lava flow over Eyjafjallajokull, Sunday, 18 April: photo by Olivier Vandeginste, 2010

10 comments:

Curtis Roberts said...

Good early morning. This popped up like a gift when I was reviewing another poem on Beyond The Pale; I mean it suddenly appeared and displaced what I was reading on the screen. I see that the fleeing man has now vaporized. The smoke has taken him and is subsiding. The blackbird is alert, vigilant and will outlast us, the acrid ether, the flying rocks, the lightning and the darkness. I only recently learned the etymology of “sky” and its relation to “cloud”. The Middle English words and sounds (to the extent I’m pronouncing them at all correctly) amaze me.

TC said...

Morning, Curtis.

You have stated the case precisely.

I am told the fleeing man may well have been an archetype.

(They vaporize and rematerialize without any logic, it seems.)

This I believe is the Middle English part of the day (still dark here, but birds beginning to awaken).

TC said...

The inhouse mediaevalist, drifting past, has helpfully suggested a "you might also like".

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Thanks, the chestnut-capped blackbird pops into view just as the golden-crowned sparrow does here ("as if in a temporal setting, "figure' and 'ground'," all things ultimately and variously missing, being missed) - - -

4.23

grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, profile of sparrow on fence post
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

as if in a temporal setting,
‘figure’ and ‘ground’

form, evidence which limits
this, various missing

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
line of pelicans gliding toward horizon

Skip Fox said...

"sic transit gloria mundi" (thus passes the glory of the earth), originally the title of an elegy for a dead pope, was later used as a generalize elegaic "address." Thus passes, indeed, . . . yet remains--bird, storm cloud, fleeing man--at least before the closing of a door, blinking of an eye.

Curtis Roberts said...

Please thank the inhouse mediaevalist. I liked it very much.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Some things here seem to resonate w/ some things there -- that parallel universe of things. . . .

4.24

first grey light in sky above still black
of ridge, owl hooing from branch in left
foreground, no sound of wave in channel

founded in the fact that is
that itself, of being

looked at, distance, across
space between figures

grey-white fog against invisible ridge,
circular green pine of tip of sandspit

TC said...

Gloria mundi indeed. Dead popes and papists in the middle distance abruptly clutter one's ruminations....Ah, sick transit to the liturgies of morn! The darkened churches of one's childhood, hushed antiphonal litanies in the cool midwestern afternoon!

Skip's and in fact everyone's words gave thought.

I recalled (as twere yesterday) the stormy dawn of the seventh century, when the venerable Bede, in his monastery at Yarrow, recorded the words of the thane of Northumberland, discoursing on the transit of old to new gods (that is, the necessity of history).

No volcano out of Revelations to release the apocalyptic archetypes back then, but one can be sure the weather coming ashore off Iceland was hardly much better then than now.

In a discussion, recorded by Bede, at the great hall of Edwin, king of Northumberland, a priest stands up and gives a short (and one supposes tentative) sales pitch for Jesus. This is followed by comments of local lords and chieftains. Addressing the king, a certain thane renders his opinion on the new god on the block, with a sort of parable.

"The life of man on earth, My Lord, in comparison with the vast stretches of time about which we know nothing, seems to me to resemble the flight of a sparrow [profile of sparrow on fence post], who enters through a window in the great hall warmed with a blazing fire laid in the center of it where you feast with your councilors and liege men, while outside the tempests and snows of winter rage. And the bird sweeps swiftly through the great hall and flies out the other side, and after this brief respite, having come out of the winter, he goes back into it and is lost to your eyes. Such is the brief life of man, of which we know neither what goes before nor what comes after..."

Marguerite Yourcenar comments on that:

"...the image of the bird come out of nowhere and gone back into nowhere is a fine symbol for man's brief and inexplicable passage on earth. One might even go further and make another, equally poignant symbol of the hall besieged by snow and wind, lit up for a brief moment in the depths of the mournful greyness of winter: a symbol for the brain, that lighted chamber, that generating fire [volcano], placed for each of us temporarily at the center of things, without which neither bird nor storm would be either imagined or perceived."

Charlie Huisken said...

And speaking of passing (sic transit): Cassie Carter who maintains the website Catholic Boy to celebrate the life and the legacy of Jim Carroll has informed us that you've produced a lovely chapbook in memory of Jim.

We at This Ain't The Rosedale Library would love to get this tribute into stock, but we're not sure how to go about it.

TC said...

Thanks for the good word, Charlie. As to my Jim memoir, it's a bit of a mystery to me, you probably know as much about it as I do, or possibly even more. There has been conflicting information and the last word public word out of the publisher came here but I get the feeling this too may be subject to revision.