Friday, March 30, 2012

Cum ramis palmarum

Jesus Enters Jerusalem, by Giotto
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week.  Long, long ago, in a religious tradition now (for me) far, far away, I sang in the children's choir.  The mass was still in Latin (yep, I'm that old!), and Christ's entry into Jerusalem was celebrated with an almost rowdy festiveness. It was the last time the organ or any instrument would be played in church until the Gloria at the Easter Vigil mass. So the music on Palm Sunday was fortissimo, rendering the silence that would follow all the more dramatic.

We practiced at lunchtime and after school for months to master the Palm Sunday music, and I took the responsibility very seriously. Getting dressed that morning I felt especially proud as I again donned the white veil that I had worn at my first Communion. Spring was more fickle back then, and I recall also having to don boots for my walk to church through the freshly fallen snow.

I took a divine pleasure in singing Latin. To this day I still remember one of the first antiphonal pieces we sang as the celebrant blessed the palm, enveloping it in a cloud of incense and sprinkling it with holy water:

Ingrediente Domino in sanctam civitatem,
Hebraeorum pueri resurrectionem vitae pronuntiantes,
Cum ramis palmarum: «Hosanna, clamabant, in excelsis.»

As the Lord entered the holy city,
The children of the Hebrews proclaimed the resurrection of life. 
Waving their branches of palm, they cried: "Hosanna in the highest."

Earlier this week I searched the Internet for that bit of nostalgia. To my surprise I found it, and to my even greater surprise I discovered that the setting we used to sing was composed by Franz Schubert!

So here it is:

We sang it a bit more andante but with the same sforzando. 
My spiritual journey has guided me to a worship space of exterior and interior calm and simplicity, far from music and other elaborate liturgical trappings. Yet those early experiences are a part of me still.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Blogger seeks apartment in ostrichland

Decided that I've had my fill of the accusations and counter-accusations, sound bites and counter-sound bites.  These do not constitute conversation or debate but only serve to inflame.  And, of course, everyone speaks in the name of the Almighty.  Funny how the Almighty is out to destroy or at least definitively confound so many of his/her children...and how those shouting most loudly at any particular time do not, of course, expect to number among the confounded.  And that goes for liberals as well as conservatives. Liberals need to stop trying to out-shout the neo-cons. What do you do when kids are making a racket and you want them to listen to you?  You lower your voice so that they'll quiet down to be able hear you.

  Ah...if we could only go back to the good old days, when everyone knew their place. When America was beautiful. Blacks --uh--Negroes-- had their own separate but equal (invisible) accommodations, women were in the nursery or kitchen, not competing in the workplace or occupying the majority of desks in college classrooms. Children all obeyed their parents and teachers, and they participated in air raid drills like good little Americans. Employees respected their bosses who paid their workers a living wage, and no one's medical bills were beyond their means. Men were men and girls were pure. No one had sex out of wedlock, and unwed pregnancies (however that managed to happen) were properly hidden away. Taxes were minimal, there was no welfare state, no bums except the occasional derelict on the occasional corner.  No one expected a handout...except maybe our foreign allies, but since they helped us fight the communist empire that was OK. There was no elite, no America-hating liberal left. Everyone worshiped at the Judeo-Christian institution of his/her choice. There were no atheists and who even knew about Muslims or Buddhists. Whether democrat or republican, we loved our President, a war hero who firmly upheld the divinely ordained system of capitalism, and we were all united against our one and only archenemy,  the USSR.....Why would anyone in their right mind not want to re-establish such a paradise on earth?

        Flip everything in the above paragraph to create the "bad old days," and you have the liberal take on the past.
        Where's the nearest ostrich community, and do they like Italian cooking?  I can make a mean eggplant parmigiana.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Life changes

Once upon a time
when I was but a paper doll
in a two-dimensional world

colors were but
splashes of ink

and roses
just splats of magenta

just brush strokes
like actors
pretending to sway
in a make-believe breeze

just tears that fell
bleaching a dark canvas

Now that I am
a woman in 3-D
with all necessary
fascia and ganglia

my eyes
squint in the sun’s

the rose’s perfume
makes me dreamy
and her falling petals
make me sad

plants submit
to my kitchen cutting board
for my nourishment

and the stars
the stars
are still
those far-away things
that I understand no better
than before

Inspired by an image posted on Facebook by Every Day Poems