Heraldry

b2ap3_thumbnail_MichaelMasCameoVictorian.png

from Guido Reni's painting of St Michael

 

On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas)

 
Is this how it should have been?
Day's conflagration bids farewell,
secedes from night's increase,
above the shadowed downs and hills
an ash of silhouetted leaves
and purple isles adrift in sheen-still seas

Fawns sporting soft suede pelts
consort in dappled shade
and flinch at crackling sound,
leap ditch and nettle-bed,
and teazles stand their ground
where angels pass among the thistledown

The seedheads' broken spheres,
like melting moons, float forms
upon the breath of destiny,
green bloom of wheat on purl-ribbed fields,
a silent, living testimony
of grace through winter's whining threnody

Unsheathe your sword, Crusader!
Halt rampaging gods of mammon
that rape the earth and starve the poor,
cohorts of a deviant Demon
whose scorched earth feeds no widened maw,
whose glamorous light beguiles Hell's door!

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_BotticelliAnnunciation.png

Botticelli - Annunciation

b2ap3_thumbnail_MorrisArchangels.jpg

William Morris tiled reredos, Clapham Church, West Sussex

poem from The Twain, Poems of Earth and Ether

Comments 7

 
Anonymous on Wednesday, 30 September 2015 00:54

Just out of bed from a long nap (my most recent pastime) I found this fine work, a fitting commemoration of the day. I'm still mentally trying out several possible pronunciations of "reredos". No need to panic considering I'll probably never see it again. But earlier in the day I was carrying on a conversation with Michael and his fellow archangels. I have a few souls, living and deceased, who might need his combative assistance. (Have you ever forgotten a word?)

Just out of bed from a long nap (my most recent pastime) I found this fine work, a fitting commemoration of the day. I'm still mentally trying out several possible pronunciations of "reredos". No need to panic considering I'll probably never see it again. But earlier in the day I was carrying on a conversation with Michael and his fellow archangels. I have a few souls, living and deceased, who might need his combative assistance. (Have you ever forgotten a word?)
Rosy Cole on Saturday, 03 October 2015 13:00

Thanks kindly, Charlie, for the endorsement. It's especially rewarding when readers enjoy a poem because it's personal in a way that fiction can't be.

Reredos - three syllables.

Must say I am impressed by the company you keep!

Yes, of course I forget words all the time. But I've always carried a mental thesaurus around with me:-) (There's nothing like learning from the original Roget. A work of monumental genius that has in latter decades been reduced to a synonym finder, and then reduced some more, and some more...) Alternatives, however, are not the answer for writing to be at its best. The word needs to match the spirit. Writing is spirit, not intellect, driven, nor even, primarily, emotion-driven.

Thanks kindly, Charlie, for the endorsement. It's especially rewarding when readers enjoy a poem because it's personal in a way that fiction can't be. Reredos - three syllables. Must say I am impressed by the company you keep! Yes, of course I forget words all the time. But I've always carried a mental thesaurus around with me:-) (There's nothing like learning from the [i]original[/i] Roget. A work of monumental genius that has in latter decades been reduced to a synonym finder, and then reduced some more, and some more...) Alternatives, however, are not the answer for writing to be at its best. The word needs to match the spirit. Writing is spirit, not intellect, driven, nor even, primarily, emotion-driven.
Anonymous on Saturday, 03 October 2015 17:22

I have a short list of people who I feel said the best things ever said. These would be Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker and W.C. Fields. It's hard to say who would come in first but Twain would make the others work pretty hard. He said, "the difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." John Ciardi said, "there are no synonyms." I don't trust a dictionary produced after 1970 when "what's the difference?" became the standard. In the 1960s English teachers who didn't know the subject themselves told students that "as long as you get your point across things like grammar, punctuation and spelling don't matter". I witnessed this. Webster's Intermediate of 1972 doesn't show "reredos"; the Oxford American does. Sorry to approach your poem from such a technical stance but that came last. Once again, you did send me to the books.

Just read it again -- out loud. The only way.

I have a short list of people who I feel said the best things ever said. These would be Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker and W.C. Fields. It's hard to say who would come in first but Twain would make the others work pretty hard. He said, "the difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." John Ciardi said, "there are no synonyms." I don't trust a dictionary produced after 1970 when "what's the difference?" became the standard. In the 1960s English teachers who didn't know the subject themselves told students that "as long as you get your point across things like grammar, punctuation and spelling don't matter". I witnessed this. Webster's Intermediate of 1972 doesn't show "reredos"; the Oxford American does. Sorry to approach your poem from such a technical stance but that came last. Once again, you did send me to the books. Just read it again -- out loud. The only way.
Katherine Gregor on Wednesday, 30 September 2015 07:56

A splendid poem, Rosy. Full of fire. I particularly like "Halt rampaging gods of mammon
that rape the earth and starve the poor," – very appropriate.

I have a particular soft spot for the Archangel Raphael, and his healing properties. Perhaps he might inspire you to write a poem, someday? :–)

A splendid poem, Rosy. Full of fire. I particularly like "Halt rampaging gods of mammon that rape the earth and starve the poor," – very appropriate. I have a particular soft spot for the Archangel Raphael, and his healing properties. Perhaps he might inspire you to write a poem, someday? :–)
Rosy Cole on Saturday, 03 October 2015 13:17

Thanks so much, Katia, for your appreciation of what I was trying to achieve by contrast here.

I might well muse on the theme of Raphael some time :-) The archangel is ever in my thoughts. In fact, the pseudonym I used for my first novel was Jane Raphael for that very purpose since I wanted, despite its theme of premature death, to offer hope and inner healing. As well as a story, it's an allegory. The first title was Next Year In Jerusalem but the 2007 edition has the title DREAMS OF GOLD. A further edition will be available early in the New Year.

Thanks so much, Katia, for your appreciation of what I was trying to achieve by contrast here. I might well muse on the theme of Raphael some time :-) The archangel is ever in my thoughts. In fact, the pseudonym I used for my first novel was Jane Raphael for that very purpose since I wanted, despite its theme of premature death, to offer hope and inner healing. As well as a story, it's an allegory. The first title was [i]Next Year In Jerusalem[/i] but the 2007 edition has the title DREAMS OF GOLD. A further edition will be available early in the New Year.
Ken Hartke on Thursday, 01 October 2015 15:08

Wonderful imagery and it took me back to thinking of one of my favorite spaces...dedicated to St. Michael. Thanks, Rosy.

Wonderful imagery and it took me back to thinking of one of my favorite spaces...dedicated to St. Michael. Thanks, Rosy.
Rosy Cole on Saturday, 03 October 2015 13:20

I'm so glad the poem inspired you and thanks for saying so. Perhaps we may hope for a blog post on that subject? :-)

I'm so glad the poem inspired you and thanks for saying so. Perhaps we may hope for a blog post on that subject? :-)
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