Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The very worst time of the year?

Back to Ordinary Time with a vengeance! Christmastide is over and the realities of life begin to hit home after the festivities. Here the weather is cold, dark and dismal, temperatures are hovering just above zero, with a very slow thaw of lying snow, making walking around a rather precarious business! Yet parish life goes on, the offices are said, masses are offered and, despite the uncertainties of the age in which we live, these words of Austin Farrer remain true: "If you are faithful, the love of God will be stronger in your veins next year than this. It takes no staleness from the passage of time....." 
The music by Lauridsen, and the poem by Edward Thomas looking forward a few weeks to late winter, should help bring some light into what is, perhaps, in terms of the climate anyway, the very worst time of the year.

O Nata Lux - Morten Lauridsen

The Manor Farm

The rock-like mud unfroze a little, and rills
Ran and sparkled down each side of the road
Under the catkins wagging in the hedge.
But earth would have her sleep out, spite of the sun;
Nor did I value that thin gliding beam
More than a pretty February thing
Till I came down to the old manor farm,
And church and yew-tree opposite, in age
Its equals and in size. The church and yew
And farmhouse slept in a Sunday silentness.
The air raised not a straw. The steep farm roof,
With tiles duskily glowing, entertained
The mid-day sun; and up and down the roof
White pigeons nestled. There was no sound but one.
Three cart horses were looking over a gate
Drowsily through their forelocks, swishing their tails
Against a fly, a solitary fly.
The winter's cheek flushed as if he had drained
Spring, summer, and autumn at a draught
And smiled quietly. But 'twas not winter--
Rather a season of bliss unchangeable,
Awakened from farm and church where it had lain
Safe under tile and latch for ages since
This England, Old already, was called Merry.

Edward Thomas

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