Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September 28: Aurora Borealis, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Saint Marty's Day Bells"

Before the aurora borealis appears, the sensitive needles of compasses all over the world are restless for hours, agitating on their pins in airplanes and ships, trembling in desk drawers, in attics, in boxes on shelves.

Yes, as Dillard points out, compasses worldwide tend to go a little cuckoo when the aurora borealis is about to appear in the skies.  Their needles twist and flit and jump and agitate, as if they can't wait for the advent of green light in the skies.

People all over the world get the same way about Saint Marty's Day.  In seven days, citizens of the planet will be twisting and flitting and jumping and agitating in celebration of Saint Marty.  I must admit that it sometimes gets a little embarrassing, especially when I see people from the Salvation Army dressed up as Saint Marty, ringing bells on street corners and outside of Walmart.

Of course, my favorite moment of the entire Saint Marty's Day season is in church, at midnight.  The lights are dimmed in the sanctuary, candles are lit, and the organ begins to softly play a Saint Marty's Day carol like "O Come, O Come, Saint Marty" or "What Saint Marty Is This?"  The bells begin to chime, and everyone sings.  Quietly.  Reverently.

I have another famous Saint Marty's Day poem for you this evening.  

Saint Marty's Day Bells

by:  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I  heard the bells on Saint Marty's Day
    Their old, familiar carols play,
        And wild and sweet
        The words repeat
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Saint Martydom
        Had rolled along
        The unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day,
        A voice, a chime,
        A chant sublime
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
    The cannon thundered in the South,
        And with the sound
        The carols drowned
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
        And made forlorn
        The households born
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
        "For hate is strong,
        And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
        The Wrong shall fail,
        The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men."

Saint Marty's Day in Hawaii.  Aloha!

1 comment:

  1. I have a feeling that St. Marty is celebrated on worlds we don't even know about yet.