White Roses on the Shore: Sea, ships and the bend of the coast
Ancona-"A star rises in midwinter"
Here, at this
I am beginning to forget you,
like we forget the histories of towns,
or the names of beautiful harbours.
But, memory, say the ancient holy ones,
can either aid us or be great rocks
in the heart and the mind-who recalls
the Valley of the Brambles, or
the Broken Bridge, or the Land
of the Grand Master. The henge is wrapped
in bureaucracy and
forgotten in silly action and false colours.
“But love, when perfect, is so powerful,
that we forget our own pleasure
in order to please God, whom we love”
wrote the Great Teresa—but what should
we keep in memory and what forget, as
I am forgotten in these walls? The sea and
the ships bring my heart back in waves to you,
in greys, whites, reflecting my Clairvaux moods.
How can I grieve, like Odysseus on Circe’s isle,
waking out of drugged slumber from the depths
? “They say the sea is
cold, but Middle
the sea contains the hottest blood of all.” This sea
holds mine and if I could send Love like ripples
to your shore, like tides to all whom I love, these
would be small white roses, riding on the dark sea,
small tokens lapping up on the far shores….
moving through time and memory, tossed over
the largest heart of all with a memory as old
as the song it sings, but it cannot sing the songs
of purged memory, the nocturnes of this day.
No white prayers come up from the deep, only
the praise of being warm in the cold, cold sea,
under the sail boats, under the rain and mist, the songs
vary outside my door—do those creatures on board
praise Him with persistent longing as the whales
below? What do they remember and what forget?
We have the missa and Word Incarnate, to remind
us of who we are and what we should remember.
Part Two: Telemachus- "They took a terrible vengeance"
Persistent love cannot be false, purified in the
gem polisher, made into some perfect stone
not born of passion, but compassion and pity;
not lust, but a reaching of the heart for completeness.
The young prince’s beard made mater’s decision
strong in pain and promise, being queen true to
her word, watching, weaving, weeping in the night
weary of those burning in envy and hatred.
Greed pitted itself against her age of fast happiness,
she wanted peace; but, cannot the past be washed away,
the blood purified cleansed by the Blood of Him
Who showed Himself to a tribe unknown to
Telemachus? “Love is as strong as death” could
have been mater’s song as well as the desert groom,
coming up from the sheepfold, coming into the tent
looking for her who was dark and comely. Remembering.
Youth’s ascendency tossed him into the
, sea of Mnemosyne
into Menelaus’ grand company, but no wisdom there.
Sailors brought the son back to miracles and a goddess
he did not know. He became a man, true, unlike others.
Wrapped in the courage of Pallas Athena, he did not see
like another youth of the sheepfold, He, Who broke the Seal of Death,
Ever-Young in the dawn of a foreign day. Did the bearded youth
look south, as I do today, towards the hot lands for courage,
missing the purple sea, far from this cold land of grey mist
this land rimmed by sunsets of orange and duck-egg blue?
Telemachus’ sun set quickly, like yours, fame for a thousand
years without a twilight, but there is no other way
than to be taught by one’s father the ways of war and wooing.
The Hyperborei knew this and blessed their bards, placing them
in the front lines of battle for fame and fortune. Such is the play
of poetry and war, youth and death, marriage and separation.
Part Three: Penelope- "How can I cherish my man?"
Orion’s Belt melts the clouds in this night’s brightness,
but Penelope’s constellation seemed smaller than mine,
this one who strides across the Bay and meets the hot
cliffs of the other lands of deeper waters and older tribes.
Memory and reflection were her gifts of love, she
affectionate emblem of faithfulness, like me, always
monogamous, notoriously faithful beyond waiting days.
A woman’s face grows old while the heart is purified.
She undid her weary work until minds of lust and greed
jackals, predators, circling her and showing themselves
not to be real men of the
but boys . While Middle Sea
she mourned the lion, the whelps played war.
Searching the shore in the grey mist of morning, she
with spring-love in her heart gave in for a moment, but
what we have is greater, stronger, divine Love holding
all in His Heart, Humanity reaching down to earth
like Orion capturing the sea. Penelope’s god was her
husband, but now God becomes the Husband, and even such
a man as her’s striving with
to get home, could
not compare with the Crucified One.
Odysseus of collective memory regained his bride through
suffering, a man purified in water and wind, Poseidon’s
plaything, until humility was learned and earned.
Some of us, like the Poet, are “rememberers”,
the bards with bow and arrow in the line of honour,
passing on the muir Desunt caetera, repetition, memory,
love in names and titles never to be forgotten unless
carved in foreign lands. We forget to our own peril.
The missing have forgotten who they are and were and
what they were supposed to be. Like Adam, thrust out
of the green home, reflecting in nine-hundred years of
remorse, waiting for death, and then the harrowing.
Profane love, like coal, becomes a diamond heart over time
and heat and pressure. The God of History changed all,
for Penelope, for me, renewing hope in the heart
making one young in vision and mastery.
Without memory, there would be no people,
no poem, no bard in the front line of fire;
no children to carry on the reflections of the
mater and pater; nothing but death.
Ithaca- "The soul of man"
I would sit quietly in the southern sunlight
and bring you tea, sitting not too close in
the heat of the day, in silence, where the
geraniums bloom under the low sierras
which hid the pain crying out for healing
and completeness. So much has been lost
in this generation lost to the confusion of
each Child of Our Time, like the sailors
stopping up their stubborn ears in order to reach
the wineskin of wind, of curiosity, destroying
years of peace and Odysseus’ domesticity, pushing
out again into the
none returned but one.
Love and will were separated. We threw away chances,
for completeness, renewable, yes, but not the same, like
the queen’s lost years of childbearing. But, there is
a greater mercy than Athena’ magic. The shore is in view.
from my cove, but love rides the white waves, regardless
of the temperature of the sea and shore. Odysseus’ soul
was healed before he found Penelope again. So, climb
up and see the small raft and like the man of the
come home to who you are. The New God is not Poseidon,
ruler of horses, but the One Who walked on the waves,
proving a new King of the blue sea not far from you.
The ships sail away. My heart stays with the Babe in the Womb
silent in waiting for the fullness of time, and here we have
our being, if we look in the same place for this healing God.
Find the raft hidden beneath the cliff and come home.
Part 5: The Unknown God-"I would know my shadow and my light"
The sons of Telemachus may have seen the sons
of the red-haired man, in the market place of
speaking the words of Epimenides for we are indeed,
people of memory; “Men of
Athens, I perceive that
in every way you are very religious,” or a varied translation.
Damaris and Dionysius heard with the blood of Odysseus
calling them home to a different Love, choosing a Known
God faithful to time and memory, the One Who entered history
again and again and again, changing the darkness into dawn.
in a Resurrection some derided. The long song of Homer
created a space for a new mimesis, heart, home, memory, will,
understanding, for new descendants of the wandering man.
The Blood washed away the obstacles, the encumbrances,
the imperfections of the tribe, purging our own hearts so
that we could decide to do something somewhere, somehow.
The Vulnerable God gave us His courage.
Spousal love so praised by Homer and Solomon becomes
the norm for you, for me, for those who care to listen
to the song. Love is now my occupation-let it be yours.
Let the heart follow us home….
Per lumen gloriae fit creatura rationalis Deiformis
Cum enim aligius intellectus creatus vidit
Deum per essentiam—ipsa essentia Dei fit intelligibilis
Deum per essentiam—ipsa essentia Dei fit intelligibilis
The waters by the dry sands will not let my voyage
be delayed—for we are humans, semper idem,
semper paratus waiting for God. And, “seven times
a day, I praise Thee for Thy righteous ordinances.”
Benedict took up the heart and home of the Known God.
“Let me live, that I may praise Thee.” And the God of
time and memory redeemed the grass, redeemed the springs,
and this near sea,
redeemed place. Middle
Small waves like white roses on the sea gather on the sand.
I would send them out again, in wind and sun to the south,
to lap up on another shore, like small prayers in the dark.
Yield, bend, gather the signs of memory at your feet in the waters.