Tuesday, April 30, 2019
The Wound Before the Tomb of Walt Whitman
Translated by Carolyn Forché
You who saw the vast oceans
and the peaks of the mountains,
who communed with all the sailors of the world
and you who saw Christ eat the bread of his last supper among the
and the elders,
you who saw the executioner of Europe
with his ax soaked with blood,
You stepped on the scaffold
and the fields in which mothers cried to their dead children.
Tell me if it is still
possible to announce triumphant justice
and deliver the lessons of the new world.
I’m going to kiss your lips,
they are cold and taste like the word America.
About This Poem
“Great Again. How to recover the greatness. Adjectives are circumstantial, but the nouns are chests that keep safe the essence of things, their moral dimension. What is America? This is the big question. What is the America that we want? Does a unique America like the one Whitman imagined exist? What is the great America that the slogans refer to? Is it the America of Walt Whitman or Charles Whitman? Is it the America of the person who shot a rifle from the sixth floor of the Book Depository in Dallas or the America of the one who received the bullet?”
Fernando Valverde is author of several poetry collections, including The Insistence of Harm (University Press of Florida, 2019) and Poesia (1997-2017) (Visor, 2017). His work has been translated into several languages, and he is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia. He lives in Charlottesville, North Carolina.
Carolyn Forché is the author of What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance (Penguin Press, 2019). She is a University Professor at Georgetown University.
Monday, April 29, 2019
Sunday, April 28, 2019
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. (KJV) (Ecclesiastes 3:12)
Do you acknowledge your happiness? Often times, we don't recognize our happiness in the moment but instead look back years later saying it was the happiest time of our lives. Take joy in your current happiness, even if it is circumstantial. Let's do a better job of realizing our happiness and not be a person who walks around happy and not even knowing it. What makes you happy today?
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Friday, April 26, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Why I Love Thee?
by Sadakichi Hartmann
Why I love thee?
Ask why the seawind wanders,
Why the shore is aflush with the tide,
Why the moon through heaven meanders
Like seafaring ships that ride
On a sullen, motionless deep;
Why the seabirds are fluttering the strand
Where the waves sing themselves to sleep
And starshine lives in the curves of the sand!
Sunday, April 21, 2019
During a Christmas break while I was a student at the University of Washington, I tuned in to a show that influenced the trajectory of my faith, quite by accident. It was a broadcast of an hourlong “Firing Line” interview in 1980 between William F. Buckley Jr. and Malcolm Muggeridge, the British journalist who late in life converted to Christianity.
In the course of the interview, Mr. Muggeridge used a parable. Imagine that the Apostle Paul, after his Damascus Road conversion, starts off on his journey, Mr. Muggeridge said, and consults with an eminent public relations man. “I’ve got this campaign and I want to promote this gospel,” Paul tells this individual, who responds, “Well, you’ve got to have some sort of symbol.” To which Paul would reply: “Well, I have got one. I’ve got this cross.”
“The public relations man would have laughed his head off,” Mr. Muggeridge said, with the P.R. man insisting: “You can’t popularize a thing like that. It’s absolutely mad.”
This was an excerpt from a very thought provoking article just in time for Easter: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/opinion/god-good-friday.html
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"-and that he had said these things to her.
Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, is Christianity's most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn't fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.
For Jesus' mother, his disciples and his followers, Jesus' death was a tragedy. You can imagine that all hope was naturally gone. We today can face the same feeling. Many times in life, with homophobic politicians, the increasing rise of anti-gay homophobic groups, and everything that is going on in the world — war, famine, disease, natural disasters, discrimination, and hate — there can be a loss of hope and faith. Yet the resurrection gives us hope that no matter what has happened in our lives, no matter how much faith and hope we have lost, we can experience hope, we can overcome and regain whatever we have lost in our lives.
Our hope includes the knowledge that evil does not win. Sometimes today, it seems that the bad guy often wins. Sometimes it seems that the one who cheats, the one who lies, the one who steps on others to get ahead, is the one who prospers. Far too often, I read of this person cheating or that one (or catching a student cheating) or another kid, gay or otherwise, who has been bullied, lost hope, and committed suicide. How often do we read of politicians cheating, or working to make sure their businesses get the good contract? It seems that there is no hope for the little guy, the one who lives right, to ever get ahead.
With a positive attitude that through God we can accomplish anything, we truly can make the world a better place. With hope that springs eternal, just as the flowers in spring show the rebirth of the earth, we can be assured that God's promises will deliver a better day, a rebirth our faith. The promise that Jesus would rise from the grave on the third day is remembered every Easter Sunday, it is the greatest sacrifice God could give for our sins. When we are baptized, it is done in symbolic reverence as our old body dies in its watery grave to be reborn and rise from the dead as Christ did for our sins.
Saturday, April 20, 2019
Friday, April 19, 2019
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
After I left, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things for mama. Unbeknownst to me, Tuesday is old folks day at Publix (the grocery store here). These old folks are so rude. The just either stand and stare and won’t let you get to what you need or push you out of their way to get what they want. And when something is on sale, they buy it in ridiculous quantities.
After Publix, I went to the mall. My watch quit working so I took it to JC Penney’s, which is where I bought it in Vermont. I haven’t had the watch a year. The lady there, after making me wait forever, got my watch open and changed the battery. Then she couldn’t get the back on it again. So I had to go to a jewelry repair shop on the other side of the mall to get it fixed. At least he was able to fix it even if he told me she’d put in the wrong battery. He also charged me $10 which I think JC Penney’s owes me, since it should have been free there.
Then I went to Spencer’s (a novelty store) to check out what nipple jewelry they had. I got some new rings. I also bought a set of little daggers that go in your nipples. They are so cute. I don’t know if I’ll wear them or not, but maybe. The guy tried to sell me a pair of bars that had balls on the end. On the balls, one said lick it; the other said suck it. The guy was really cute showing me the different nipple rings they had, like the set of dinosaurs or the ones that cover your nipples. I told him I liked them to be played with not covered up. He just laughed.
Mama had called while I was at the mall. There was a major wreck on the interstate so I had to take the long way home, but at least I didn’t get stuck in traffic. When I got home, Daddy had barbecued some pork ribs on the grill. They were pretty good. Many mama makes the best bbq sauce from scratch. Mama made baked beans and slaw to go with it. And for bread, we had crescent rolls. It was a delicious meal. I’m looking forward to breakfast this morning: eggs, grits, and bacon. Yummy.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Edgar Allan Poe
byTimothy Thomas Fortune
I know not why, but it is true—it may,
In some way, be because he was a child
Of the fierce sun where I first wept and smiled—
I love the dark-browed Poe. His feverish day
Was spent in dreams inspired, that him beguiled,
When not along his path shone forth one ray
Of light, of hope, to guide him on the way,
That to earth’s cares he might be reconciled.
Not one of all Columbia’s tuneful choir
Has pitched his notes to such a matchless key
As Poe—the wizard of the Orphic lyre!
Not one has dreamed, has sung, such songs as he,
Who, like an echo came, an echo went,
Singing, back to his mother element.
Monday, April 15, 2019
Sunday, April 14, 2019
We all want to go to heaven and experience eternal life. Jesus teaches us that our belief in Him, as the Son of God, leads to heaven. If you have doubts about this truth, you're not alone. Christians continue to have this struggle but ultimately believe. On the days you have this struggle, just remember that you are not perfect. That's what faith is…not knowing for certain, but trusting.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Thursday, April 11, 2019
A bill to eliminate marriage licenses in Alabama and instead have couples file an affidavit that probate judges would record as part of a marriage document moved a step close to becoming law today.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill by Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range. Albritton has tried to pass similar bills since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015.
After the Supreme Court decision, probate judges in some Alabama counties stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether because they did not want to license same-sex marriages. Albritton said his bill would eliminate the discrepancy.
“This will allow everyone to be married in their home county,” Albritton said.
The Senate passed Albritton’s bill by a vote of 26-0 on March 21. Today’s approval by the House Judiciary Committee puts it in position for final passage by the House.
Current law says couples wanting to get married must obtain a license from a probate judge. The law says probate judges “may” issue licenses but does not require them to.
“There’s still counties that will not issue marriage licenses,” Albritton said. “They take the word may to the extreme, if you will.”
Albritton did not know exactly how many but said there were probably about seven such counties.
Albritton’s bill said probate judges “shall” record each marriage if couples provide the proper documentation. That includes affidavits saying they are of legal age, are not already married, are not related and are competent to enter a marriage.
“I would suggest this is the end of the state telling people who they can and cannot marry. A license is permission,” Albritton said.
His bill would also eliminate the requirement in current law to hold a ceremony to “solemnize” a marriage. Current law requires the minister, judge, retired judge or person otherwise authorized to perform a ceremony to sign the marriage license before it is recorded as a certificate or marriage.
The committee approved the bill on a voice vote today. Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, voted against it. Coleman said she opposed the bill because of its origins, the resistance of some probate judges to licensing same-sex marriages after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
“I do remember the original dialogue where it came from,” Coleman said. “So that was my no vote. It was still one of those kind of protest votes against what I felt was the original reason why we were here with this bill in the first place.”
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
by Craig Morgan Teicher
Well, I guess no one can have everything.
I must learn to celebrate when I fail.
Inner growth and fortitude follow the sting,
right? Won't I rise with holy wind in my sails?
Yet they always seem to get what I want,
door after door flung open. Why are
the keepers of doors, who haunt
the hopeful halls of fate and desire
so partial to them, but not to me?
Yes, I do feel sorry for myself—don't, brother,
pretend the bitter blanket of self-pity,
hasn't warmed your bones. It's not lovers
or fame I crave, nor even happiness, particularly.
Only to be lifted, just once, above all others.
About This Poem
“Poetry is, among other things, a place to let my demons graze. This, alas, is one of them: the voice of someone not inured to the regular wrist slaps of rejection that are part of the writer’s life. It’s also one of many sonnets I wrote during a period of time when I became a bit addicted to them. Beware of sonnets; they can be habit-forming.”
—Craig Morgan Teicher
Craig Morgan Teicher
Craig Morgan Teicher is the author of three books of poems, most recently The Trembling Answers (BOA Editions, 2017), winner of the 2018 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and We Begin in Gladness: How Poets Progress (Graywolf, 2018), his first book of essays. He works in publishing, teaches at NYU, and lives in New Jersey.
Sunday, April 7, 2019
No one ever wants to be told they are living in sin. Nor do people want to feel condemned. It's a fine line on how to handle sin in others' lives. We can choose to follow God's leading in the same way He has treated us, that is, with patience and kindness. The greatest influence we can have on other peoples' sin is through leading by a humble example.