Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30: Lamplit Evenings, Heavenly Host, Galway Kinnell, "To Marty Our Lord"

Oh, it's mysterious lamplit evenings, here in the galaxy, one after the other.  It's one of those nights when I wander from window to window, looking for a sign . . .

What is Dillard looking for in her mysterious lamplit evening?  What sign?  Well, if it's the beginning of October, she's probably looking for the seraphim choir that heralds the coming of Saint Marty.  You're all familiar with the story.  A group of itinerant mimes sleeping in their RVs one night are woken up by celestial voices singing "Glory to Saint Marty in the highest!"  And the mimes stumble outside to see a heavenly host in the sky, looking very much like the musical group ABBA.

Of course, the mimes are sore afraid, and then go running through the streets of a nearby city, miming to all what they had witnessed.  Of course, nobody paid any attention to them.  After all, they were mimes.  So the whole world missed the advent of Saint Marty.

Tomorrow night, I'll tell you the story of the three wise men from the Wisdom Department of an eastern university who followed a star to pay homage to Saint Marty.

In the mean time, I'm going to share one of my favorite Saint Marty's Day poems from one of my favorite poets.

To Marty Our Lord

by:  Galway Kinnell

The legs of the elk punctured the snow's crust
And wolves floated lightfooted on the land
Hunting Saint Marty's Day elk living and frozen.
Indoors snow melted in a basin and a woman basted
A bird spread over coals by its wings and head.

Snow had sealed the windows; candles lit
The Saint Marty's Day meal. The special grace chilled
The cooked bird, being long-winded and the room cold.
During the words a boy thought, is it fitting
To eat this creature killed on the wing?

For he had shot it himself, climbing out
Alone on snowshoes in the Saint Marty's Day dawn,
The fallen snow swirling and the snowfall gone,
Heard its throat scream as the rifle shouted,
Watched it drop, and fished from the snow the dead.

He had not wanted to shoot. The sound
Of wings beating into the hushed morning
Had stirred his love, and the things
In his gloves froze, and he wondered,
Even famishing, could he fire? Then he fired.

Now the grace praised his wicked act. At its end
The bird on the plate
Stared at his stricken appetite.
There had been nothing to do but surrender,
To kill and to eat; he ate as he had killed, with wonder.

At night on snowshoes on the drifting field
He wondered again, for whom had love stirred?
The stars glittered on the snow and nothing answered.
Then the Swan spread her wings, cross of the cold north,
The pattern and mirror of the acts of earth.

Even he can't resist Saint Marty's Day

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