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Friday, 24 August 2012

The real meaning of retreat and the Thermopylae of Texas

I am retreating from Saturday through Tuesday. It is a real retreat. Every year, once a year, I try and go to a Benedictine monastery for a retreat. I love the hours, the silence, the chant, either in English or Latin.

But, this year, I am really retreating. I live on the border of Notting Hill and Bayswater, and I am escaping from the Carnival, which will literally come up to my door. It is horrible. The original meaning of this carnival, to unite the immigrant communities, is gone. It is money and sex, sex and money.

The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest in Europe. It has never been connected to a feast day, such as the carnivals for Mardi Gras or Epiphany. It is purely secular. Many of the locals have left for the weekend. The rubbish skips have gone since yesterday. I cannot even empty my garbage. All the parking is highly restricted, which it is anyway in this area. I can hear steel bands in the is all surreal.

I am retreating. I shall blog, but lightly. Perhaps I shall do three posts instead of six. And, JonathanCatholic has graciously written two posts for me so that I can retreat.

Otherwise, I would feel like James Bowie or Davy Crockett at the Alamo.

Here is poem for the heck of it from the newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register, August 9, 1836.

The Texan Marseillaise.

Texians, to your banner fly,
Texians, now your valor try,
Listen to your country's cry;
Onward to the field.

Armed in perfect panoply,
Marshaled well our ranks must be:
Strike the blow for liberty,
Make the tyrant yield.
Who is he that fears his power?
Who is he that dreads the hour?
Who is he would basely cower?
Let him flee for life.
Who is he that ready stands
To fight for Texas and her lands?
Him his country now commands,
Onward, to the strife.
Small in number is our host,
But our cause is nobly just:
God of battles is our trust
In the dread affray.