Saturday, March 31, 2018

Faith and Ceremony

G. K. Chesterton, originally Protestant, then a convert to Catholicism, defends his church against Iconoclasts;  his remarks do equally well in defense of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Though of course these shows and pageants  meant immeasurably much to me, and profoundly affected my emotions,  yet I do not base my belief on such emotions, still less on such pageants or shows.   I was myself received into the Catholic Church  in a small tin shed, painted brick-red, which stood among the sculleries and outhouses of a Railway Hotel.
-- G.K. Chesterton, The Resurrection of Rome (1930)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Eschatological Monostich

The soul   does not die by sin,  but by impenitence.

-- G.K. Chesterton, The Resurrection of Rome (1930)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Journée mondiale de la procrastination

Bienvenus sur notre site, pour célébrer  la Journée mondiale de la procrastination !

Actually it was yesterday -- no wait, several days ago, by now.  We’d meant to post something, but didn’t get around to it until now.

Tableau neige et lumière

… lifted into a clearer  and a colder air …
a phase where light has transcended colour,
as in the hueless dawn of creation 
when the first light     was as strange
as the first snow …

-- G.K. Chesterton, The Resurrection of Rome (1930)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Feasts of Spring

We had breakfast guests this morning on the deck;
some with feathers, some with fur.
Sunflower seeds bright black  atop the snow.

[For a similar vision  from around this time two years ago, try this.]

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Substitutionary atonement

It is a repeated motif of the thriller-series “24”, that Jack Bauer offers himself up as a sacrifice -- in Season Six, for one specific hostage.   We marveled at that them here:

Against the background of all the other whiz-bang implausibilities of that show, this one was not the most far-fetched, but it still seemed a stretch.

And yet now we have a real-life authentic hero of law enforcement, who did exactly that during yesterday's terror attack in France, and died for his pains:

Arnaud Beltrame

The  Christian doctrine with which such acts are blessed, is called “Substitutionary atonement”.  

Jack Bauer received no thanks for his gambit; les gendarmes de France are likewise best appreciated by the bobos-gauchos  when letting themselves be stoned or shot at, rather than firing back.   A few of them have been getting somewhat annoyed:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Butch monostich

    … le sévèr-e Char-lus    tout de noir  habillé …

[ -- Proust, La Prisonnière (1919), p. 212]

Code Red !

            Code -- Red!
            Rest in bed.
            Time to soothe
            your sleepy head.

{ for more about the lovely snow,
   gently press …    here …. }

{ for further glimpses into the wonderful world of Office Life,
    zestily press ...  here ... )

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Journée internationale de la francophonie

In celebration, we link to our roster of over a hundred essays relating to French language and literature:

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Devonshire mini-hemi-monostich

… the thin   Devonian   rain 

[--Edmund Gosse, Father and Son (1907)]

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Lost Lament of Sir Walter Ralegh

Re banished Ralegh’s  unpublished plaint to Elizabeth, known as “Cynthia”:

There are many fine passages,  none finer than the line

     Of all which passed,  the sorrow only stays

-- Ward & Waller, eds. The Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. IV: North to Drayton (1909), p. 54

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Scenes from Office Life

Today -- March 14 -- our office celebrated International Pi Day(***), by bringing in a whole bunch of pies.  (March 14 --  3   1   4 -- get it?   Not funny, just fun.)  Apple, cherry, banana cream, pecan -- you name it.   And amazingly, for every single one of those pies, the ratio of its circumference to its diameter was -- you’ll never guess -- more or less 3.14 !!   Thus proving the theorem.

(***)   Actually Interplanetary Pi Day, since the value of that transcendental constant  is invariant throughout the universe.

[For further glimpses of our office life, click here.

For more mathy funnies,  here.]

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

More on “the Eternal Feminine”

Das Unbeschreibliche
hier ist getan.
Das Ewig-Weibliche
zieht uns hinan.
[-- Goethe, Faust]

A late-Elizabethan version:

Nó wórds fór it --
Yet ‘tis done.
A woman’s Forever
beckons us on.

[ -- Anon.  The “B” manuscript substitutes “Whatever” for “Forever”:
scholars are divided upon which is the valid reading.]


To the psychologist, the emotional differences between the sexes  appear small in a laboratory,  but enormous during a quarrel with his wife.
-- Theodor Reik, Of Love and Lust (1949/1957), p.412

Monday, March 12, 2018

“Like Shining from Shook Foil”

Portrait of Lawrence : 

The eyes were blue and piercing,
and the very fine hair,  a little on the reddish side of golden,
fluttered up  at every movement, every breath of wind,
like wisps of blown flame.
[--Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point (1928), p. 93]

Sunday, March 11, 2018

mournful monostich

the cheese


a-lone  . .    .      .      .

[For additional  minimalist glimpses
 into scenes of desolation,
 here .]

Tableaux de nostalgie

   Across the grass,     a peacock stalked,
   dragging its tattered tail

-- P. D. James, The Skull Beneath the Skin (1982), p. 121

   Beyond the half-open window,
   a tideless Mediterranean
   lay open to the moon.

-- P. D. James, The Skull Beneath the Skin (1982), p. 134

Saturday, March 10, 2018

“Dottie’s Dimple” hemi-monostich




        [--Mary McCarthy, The Group (1963)]

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Tableau avant-tempête

au-dessus de la ville …
un de ces immenses ciels crus  et gros de menaces
amoncelées de drame,
pareils à certains ciels,
de modernité presque parisienne,
de Mantegna  ou de Véronèse,

et sous lequel  ne pouvait s’accomplir
que quelque acte  terrible et solennel,

comme un départ en chemin de fer
ou l’érection de la Croix.

--Marcel Proust, A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (1919)

A hard rain’s gonna fall

Pour une vue d’ensemble cinématographique 
de la psychologie (in)tempestive,
consultez :