Sole or Whole:

The Home Page of Karen Rae Keck

Today is 24 October, 2009, and 68 days of the International Year of Astronomy lie before us.

On this day, the church commemorates St. Elesbaan of Ethiopia.


Other Events:

  1. Member nations of the United Nations celebrate its founding.
  2. Residents of Pennsylvania celebrate Pennsylvania Day.
  3. Residents of Zambia begin a two-day commemoration of their independence.
  4. Ancient Greeks used to celebrate Thesmorphia, a three-day festival in honor of Demeter.
  5. The United Nations promotes Disarmament Week.
  6. Somebody with illusions or a sense of humor promotes Pastoral Care Week.
  7. The Guangzhou Autumn Trade Fair moves on.
  8. In Japan, followers of Shinto are forsaken during a Godless Month, the month in which the gods hold conference with each other.
  9. In Scotland and elsewhere, Grouse Season shoots along.
  10. Crawfish season runs on in Finland.
  11. Gazpacho Aficionado Time lasts until 31 October.
  12. Family History Month moves on.
  13. Alternate History Month skips on.
  14. The Month of the Dinosaur stomps on.
  15. The American Liver Foundation suggests observing Liver Awareness Month.
  16. Transformation Works promotes Listen to your Inner Critic Month.
  17. In Brazil, the month-long Festival of Penha floats on.
  18. Atlantic Hurricane Season lasts until 30 November.
  19. Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season runs until 30 November.
  20. Western Pacific Hurricane Season goes on.

Thought for the day:

The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear.
---Nelson Mandela

Guide to this site: Other Work:

That Lover of Maud Gonne

Willie Yeats would make himself a bard whether the world would or no. Knowing that words alone are certain good, he crafted extraordinary verse out of ordinary words. The longing to be a bard led also to his living in a tower and becoming a senator in the Irish Free State, but its best expression was his poetry. He did not, like Joyce, strive to forge his soul, but his verse shaped and was shaped by his experience.

In his early verse, he hides behind the persona of the Lover who wishes this and that for his beloved. As he grew in love (unrequited, in the main) for Maud Gonne, his poems became more mystical, more complex. The Rose of the Rose Poems is at once Maud and Ireland, the two growing together in his mind. Maud played Cathleen ni Hoolihan, the personification of Ireland, in Yeats' play.

A smatterer in search of unity, Yeats looked to Byzantium, a place where for him and certain Orthodox Christians all was perfect. Yeats saw in Byzantium the union of art and science; religion and politics; life and artifice. He saw in the emperor's mechanical bird a height never regained. His Byzantium was an archetype, a fantasy perhaps, but his interest brought him to an appreciation of the necessity of opposites.

Out of this experience of antinomy came such poems as "A Woman Young and Old" and "A Man Young and Old." In the Crazy Jane poems, Crazy Jane tells the Bishop that, "Fair and foul are next of kin,/ And fair needs foul." The sages in the Holy Fire taught Yeats a spiritual lesson, and his own bodily rage (a surprise to him as he grew older) taught him another. The wisdom and beauty of his verse come from both lessons.

A general poetry link:
Poems from the planet Earth

"I knew you were of the Pooka class, said the Good Fairy. . . ."

Yeats had far too much dignity to write "A pint of plain is your only man," so he left that to Jem Casey, the workman's friend in Flann O'Brien's delightful At Swim-Two-Birds. The novel, or not a novel, takes the theme of Bardic power very literally. It also addresses themes of the Irish Literary Renaissance and philosophical issues of the natures of reality and fiction. "Nobody knows whether they are there at all or whether it is all imagination."

O'Brien also created the colorful Sir Myles na gCopaleen (the da), a globe-trotter who can converse with the control tower at Shannon in several languages. His accomplishments are legion, but he is not well-regarded in literary circles because he lived in a newspaper column, instead of in a novel. In his column for the Irish Times, O'Brien also told many tales of Keats and Chapman, all of which end in an egregious pun, and he created the Brother, an out of the ordinary Irish relative. People dismiss O'Brien as an alcoholic journalist (and he was), but At Swim-Two-Birds, The Poor Mouth, and The Third Policeman show O'Brien as a gifted satirist.

O'Brien is infamous for disliking Joyce. He is not alone. Virginia Woolf called Ulysses tosh, and Maud Gonne told Yeats that she fell asleep over Portrait of the Artist. These reactions ought to tell us something, but we don't want the ears to hear.

Another True Story from West Texas

Not that one. . .this one: Butch Hancock is one of a talented generation who grew up in West Texas when Buddy Holly was West Texas rock and roll. Among his contemporaries are Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely, who was, until recently, the only one of the Flatlanders to have "earned" a star in the West Texas Walk of Fame around the base of the statue of Holly. Hancock and Gilmore were inducted 3 September, 1998.

Hancock's music seems more rooted (if anything can be rooted in such a wind-blown place) in the out of context experience of the Llano Estacado. "West Texas Waltz," fer sure, is the only yodelling song to trek across the High Plains, Lubbock to Idaloo, Idaloo to Turkey, too! "Own and Own" is the tale of a farmer whose family has land to call their own but ends up with too many things to call their own.

Ely wrote a song which asks, "Do you know why the trees bend at the West Texas border?" and which gives the correct answer, "Trees bend because of the wind. . . ." Hancock wrote the truth- in-song-writing revision, "Do you know why the tree bends at the West Texas border?"

Yeats would recognize Crazy Jane as a model of mercy in the still of the night and a monument to madness in the minutes of the broad daylight. He might raise his eyebrows, but he would see the connection.

Studying Physics without the Net

Growing up in West Texas makes people think about time and space, says Norman Hugh Redington when he hears echoes of his thoughts in the lyrics of Butch Hancock. Norman channels his curiousity about time and space into science and religion. He created the Net Advance of Physics, an MIT-based on-line review journal, and we founded the St. Pachomius Library of early Christian Fathers. We are also both editors of the Early Church On-Line Encyclopedia (ECOLE).

A Circle of Love is a Work of Art.

In Memoriam: Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

Any funeral is a paradoxical occasion: we who remain in the flesh feel grief, a measure of love, at the passing of a relative or friend. This passage seems more like an end to us than an entrance into a bourn from which only one traveler has returned. In our sadness, we forget that the beloved has gone to meet Christ and perhaps to join the banquet where the voice of those who feast is never silent. We miss the familiar relationship with its embraces and love; we begin an unfamiliar relationship with its prayers and love. However complete our sorrow and fears seem, joy is present: we have known the departed, and we celebrate this person's life as we mourn for his or her departure from this life.
At the funeral of Metropolitan Anthony, the subdued tones of the celebrants and the tears of the faithful expressed the sorrow at his being having gone from our midst. The white vestments and the sea of candles bespoke Paschal joy and the hope of the Resurrection.
The service proceeded through psalms, litanies, epistle readings, gospel readings, hymns, and prayers until the time for tributes to this remarkable man:
Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk praised Metropolitan Anthony in untranslated Russian. Archbishop Gregorios of Thyatiera and Great Britain talked of his brother hierarch whose life we rejoice in and who passing we grieve at. He added that even as Metropolitan Anthony lay on his sick bed, he had sent a message to Archbishop Gregorios and hoped for greater cooperation between the dioceses of Sourozh and Thyatiera, which share the island. The microphone went out, and although his voice was audible, his words were not always intelligible. His remarks called attention to the love of unity in the truth of Christ that Metropolitan Anthony often expressed.
Why, asked Bishop Basil, did I put a veil over the face of Metropolitan Anthony? This veil is not only a part of the ritual of a priest's funeral but also is a symbol of the veil of the Temple. That cloth is the precursor of the iconostasis: at both, the natural and the supernatural meet. On the side that the Jews saw were pictures of the created world, of all that we can experience with our earthly senses. What lay behind was not known. The High Priest went to the altar but once a year. Metropolitan Anthony was a man who could see beyond. He was a visionary in whom the natural and the supernatural met.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, commented that we all have a favorite saying of Metropolitan Anthony's that we come back to again and again; his is a remark that the one who undertakes pastoral care must make his soul a marketplace. In this agora are valuable things. A merchant found the pearl of great price and sold all that he had to obtain it. In the market of the soul, we find many things, some of which have immense value. Metropolitan Anthony lived as if his soul were a bazaar, wherein we can find pearls of wisdom.
The eulogies over, all began to venerate the relics of Metropolitan Anthony, to say good-bye in the flesh to a spiritual friend and leader. We kissed the cross and gospel he loved; some kissed the hands that had blessed them. His inner quiet was now an outer stillness. Each gave a last earthly tribute to a man whose love and prayers have inspired and will inspire us.
At the interment clergy and laity again joined in prayer. The man who returned to God, who created him, was returned to the earth from which God made man. Those gathered in spiritual fellowship put dirt in the grave; the clergy, choir, and laity sang the Paschal troparion. Metropolitan Anthony received in this life the Holy Fire, and through his written and daily ministries, he shared it with all. We are now called to pass that light to those around us.

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