Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20: Gratitude Forty-Seven, Classic Saint Marty, New Cartoon

At my wife's church, on Easter morning, people greet each other with the phrase, "Christ is risen!"  And you are supposed to respond, "He is risen indeed!"  It's an old tradition in Christian faiths from what I understand.  Growing up Catholic, I wasn't familiar with this exchange until I started Easter services with my wife.

I love this tradition for some reason.  It really fills me with joy.  It speaks to things like salvation, hope, light, and rebirth.  When I hear this call and answer on Easter morning, I feel like the world really is an OK place, that all my problems and strife and worries are passing annoyances.  Renewal is on the way.

That's what I'm grateful for today:  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

Today's Classic Saint Marty comes from three Easter's ago.

April 24, 2011:  Happy Easter, Psalm 47, Amen

Easter Sunday.  The last psalm of my Lenten promise.  I never thought I would make it to this day.  I never thought I would have 47 poems of which I was proud.  I thought I'd get ten or eleven that were worth pursuing.  The rest, I thought, would be throw-aways.  But, somehow, I managed to write 47 new poems in 47 days that I consider decent, unembarrassing.

I started out this morning with the idea of finishing the series with a sestina.  If you're not familiar with the form, it's incredibly complicated, involving a very strict repetition of final words in lines in a very specific pattern.  I struggled with the poem for half a day.  I realized about an hour ago that I wasn't getting anywhere with it.  So, I sat down and took the basic premise of the sestina and wrote the following poem.  It fairly flowed out of me.  I'm happy with it.  I feel it is an appropriate conclusion to my book of psalms.

Saint Marty wishes you a happy Easter.  He presents his final Lenten psalm.  Amen.  Alleluia.

Psalm 47:  Easter Bread

My mother made it on Holy Saturday
In her bowl as green as Easter grass.
She'd mix water, salt, sugar, flour,
Shortening and yeast, fold it
With her hands, over and over,
Until dough took shape, white
As my winter skin.  Then she kneaded,
Pushed and pounded, picked it up,
Slammed it down on the kitchen table,
Made the room shake with violence,
Sounds like sledges and spikes,
Holy, Easter sounds.  After she was done,
My mother left the bowl on the counter,
Draped with a towel.  She waited
For the dough to leaven, the yeast
To work like prayer, make the dough
Rise higher and higher, swell, stretch
Like a pregnant womb.  My mother
Returned, kneaded, punched
It into submission, broke
Its will, began the process anew.
As night fell, the dough rose and rose.
Some time after I went to bed,
My mother sliced loaves, and baked. 
On Easter morning, I woke
To the aroma of fresh bread.
Resurrection, sweet and warm.

Warm bread

Confessions of Saint Marty

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