A Medieval Christmas Carol

(written about 2016)

A Nativity scene at night with an angel moon lighting the scene as Mary adores and Joseph sleeps: this painting in rich jewel tones resembles a more modern style despite its age (1423). This is fitting, because music is new but sounds medieval.

Gentile de Fabriano, Nativity, 1423, Wikipedia Commons

 Angels sing on Christmas morn
When Christ our Savior comes to be born.
The angels bow in awe before Him 
Who comes to take away our sins.

And Mary His mother ponders it all
To see David’s heir born in a stall. 
She knows her Son has a high destiny, 
But what that might mean she has yet to see.

The Babe so tender in His mother’s arms
Rests peacefully now, safe from all harms.
His Father stands in guard over Him 
Who comes to take away our sins.

Sweet Mary rejoice at your Son’s birth
The Lord of all come down to earth.
For all is made new by your assent, 
Creation renews its great Amen.

Oh Living Splendor of God Most High,
How is it that You come to die?
Tis love outpoured upon the earth
That brings our Savior to His birth.

And we for our part do give thanks
Along with the angels’ heavenly ranks.
The Immortal Wise God asleep on the hay
To bring salvation to us today.


Lux Dei

This video was made to support the piece of music, which was a poem set to music, and written for choir and orchestra. Since it was mixed and mastered by computer there was no choir to sing the lyrics. I needed video to render the words. The images help to express the music but are not primary.

Lux Dei means Light of God. This is my imagining of the beginning of creation, before there was life. The music paints a picture of emptiness, then an explosion of energy and the sudden appearance of light–then the stars and the planets.

Joy Comes in the Morning

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

Psalm 30

A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
    and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
    restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.[a]
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
    his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Home At Last

 Homesick hungry weary lonely
Hearts beleaguered, yet unbowed
‘Still we seek thee ancient beauty
Shining prospect glimpsed through cloud.
Bright horizon, distant city
Where our joy cries out ,”Believe!”
Where our hearts are stilled and gentled
Love the atmosphere
We breathe.

Hearts that long for such a morning
Find no ease in emptiness—
Ancient beauty sate our yearning
Slake our thirst for holiness
For with thee the new day dawning
Soft and sweet all dread now ceasing
Peace and righteousness shall kiss 
And joy will ring out love’s
Great Feast.

Poetry and Philosophy

It might seem odd to introduce a poem by pointing toward a blog on philosophy, but when the poem and the blog are read the connection will be clear.

I deal in controversy, in discourse that is sometimes freighted with more than disagreement. So I wrote the poem on this page 40 years ago while a graduate student, based on a sharp disagreement I had with a friend. She believed one thing and I believed another, and the two could not both be true.

It seems now that my life deals in this situation even more, only the rhetoric and emotions are are stronger, more caustic even.

How are we to deal with this conflict?

Photo by Miraage.clicks at Flickr,
CC BY-ND 2.0


What does epistemology have to say about solving disputes?

“As can be seen, there is no single correct response or strategy to take toward actual cases of disagreement. The unsurprising irony is that the epistemology of disagreement has managed to give rise to a whole new set of disagreements.”

And then, after discussing religious disputes, the articles comes to this conclusion:

 “disagreement must be dealt with in the ordinary way: I’ll state reasons, provide arguments and pinpoint evidence, and you’ll do the same.”

On Truth

The line twixt truth and lies is difficult to see-
It winds and doubles, blurs the mind,
And vanishes unseen.
How then as mortals who would hope
To know the truth can we
Presume to judge on simple lines and clean?
I had a friend who spoke her truth
That was no truth to me.
Whose lies were these, and where
The line to separate between?
For just as I, with pain, had grasped
My truth, she held to what she knew.
And with our private truths like whips
We flailed, to find the root
Of discord and of pain.
No hope in that: the pain did not
Delineate, our differences remained,
And Truth lay somewhere, savaged, in between.

The Exchange

A carved rugged cave whose walls ae red and purple. Light enters it from above, The cave represents the carved heart of Jesus
Photo by Ignacio Palu00e9s on Pexels.com
Lord, save me. Gripping sorrow
Blinds me. I stumble pathless, lost,
Bewildered, buffeted, storm-tossed.
Mother Mary, carve some hollow for
My aching heart, so I can see.

Wrung, remorseful, aching,
Blame eats my bones--where find you, Lord,
Within this deep’ning wound?
Mother Mary, carve some hollow for
My aching heart, so I can heal.

I lie upon a knife of my own making,
Etched by accusation.
My only hope your cross.
Mother Mary, carve some hollow for
My aching heart, so I can trust.

Carve the hollow where I hide
within His Heart.
He heals us by his wounds.
Mother Mary, Be my companion
In the dark, until the dead arise
And empty be the tomb.

Where the Waters Are

We have almost forgotten, this nation of faucets,
The nature of water,
But it has not forgotten us.
Hissing below the surface
It streams and bubbles from depths
Leaping upward into light
Or oozing, trickling,
Dripping past our guards.
We have forgotten wells,
Those still pools
That can only be found by digging,
Where silence reigns,
And sound and light
Are swallowed,
Then given back doubled,
Showing us ourselves.
We have hidden our springs,
Sealed them up for profit,
Making a commerce of them.
But the waters cannot be forgotten.
Rich in silence
Drawn from the deeps
They pour forth in torrents
And fountains.
When I think of you
I think of waters—
A small pool with lilies adrift,
Catching the overflow of the world,
Or the drops that nestle beaded
Among the mosses.
A place of ferment
Where change is constant,
A place of stillness,
Of quiet generation,
Where I am reflected back at myself
And forced to listen—
Waters that go down to the depths,
Springing out of the bones of the earth