A Little Poetic Musing

Sharing some thoughts in verse(ish).

 

Woman, forest, beautiful woman, woman sitting beneath a tree

Perspective

I sit beneath the Oak

on a breezy summer day –

cloud-puffed sky,

sun through the leaves,

lichen growing on the rain dark tree –

all beautiful to me.

If I’m sitting in a wheelchair,

is the beauty of the moment less?

…Or is it more?

© 2018 Christina Chase


Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

Month of the Sacred Heart

I do love this gruesomely pretty picture:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Catholic image, Divine Incarnate

June is the month of roses and daisies, fresh-picked peas and strawberries, the summer solstice and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. How wonderful to remember my consecration to the Sacred Heart in the midst of this softly green and blossoming loveliness. In my posts this month, I’ve reflected upon the sacred power of little moments in our lives. We have the opportunity to touch the face of the Divine every day. If we lift our eyes and look… Let us not skim along the surface of reality, but rather plunge into the very heart.

On this last Thursday of June, I share again the words of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

“O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, all my thoughts, words, actions, trials, joys and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.

“I take Thee, Christ, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my advocate at the throne of Divine Justice, and screen me from the wrath which my sins deserve.  I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness.

“Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee.  Hold me in your Sacred Heart, O Jesus Christ, my Lord and Lord of all.  I implore that I may love You more and more.

“I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart – for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory: to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants.”

As I said four and a half years ago when I first made this act of consecration, I say now: Amen.

© 2018 Christina Chase

The Awakening

A Winter’s worth of snow is melting away,

for nothing living and new can Spring

from frozen soil. The white crystal kingdom

is becoming the watery realm of liquid rivulets and streams.

Everywhere beneath the sky is the slow, relentless

drip,

drip,

drip

of conversion,

while the sky itself

is breathing briskly with blue and white and winged things.

 

The living Earth is warming, waking,

in the light of the ever rising Sun;

the dormant things of snow and ice are dissipating

and, as they flow, are expiating anything dead they left behind.

Green spears will pierce the softened ground

and, soon, the crocus chalices are found

among the fading remnants of the shroud.

Where once the bare outlines of black and white

were all that slept within the hush,

there now will come the tender blush,

the violet flush, the yellow rush of blossoms

raised as from the tomb.

crocus in snow

Loose tendrils of azalea hair,

the fruitful blooms of apple, pear,

yawning, stretching open wide,

the ferns and flowers everywhere…

Oh wait beneath the weight of secret rest

and see the coming of the Morning Fair,

to which the universe and all attest,

the time perpetual and rare,

The Loving Heart at nature’s breast,

Who put the will to thrive in there –

Oh Beauty, ever ancient, ever new!

© 2018 Christina Chase


“O, Beauty ever ancient, ever new” – Saint Augustine, Confessions, Book X, Chapter 27

Lasting Words: The Book of Wisdom

Sacred Scripture on Beauty and Truth….

For the first reading at my funeral (read more about that HERE) I would like these words from The Book of Wisdom proclaimed.  This is God divinely understanding primitive beginnings of finding Him – understanding my own primitive ignorance, when I did not believe in Him and, yet, sought the truth through science alone.  I have always wanted the truth and been drawn to Beauty, loving the beauty of the natural world, even in my ignorance of God.  God was speaking to me – and I recognized Him not.  God is merciful.  (It is clear to me now how Saint Augustine was inspired to write what he wrote on the Beautiful One.)

When my body is in attendance at my last Mass, I want all people in attendance to be filled with the same desire of truth that filled me in my earthly life – and to receive Wisdom from God, as I mercifully did while I still breathed within God’s beautiful Creation of the natural world.  Let us  have mercy on those who still do not know the fullness of reality, that they may come to know God and the fullness of who they are as God’s beloved creatures!

(In case  you’re wondering, yes, I am working on my book – although this is prescheduled,  I trust in God’s mercy that progress is being made.  I will be checking on the comments, so please bug me! 🙂 )

Fire, coastline, nature, Book of Wisdom

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Two Poems of Wonder

This week, I’m sharing two little poems of mine (and I don’t claim to be a poet.)  The first is from a recent excursion with my parents to Rhododendron Sate Park, here in New Hampshire.  The second was written a few days later.  To all poets (official and unofficial) out there: Please share your observations, suggestions, and advice for improvement – thank you!

(Photos taken by my father.)


In the Rhododendron Forest

Rhododendron State Park, New Hampshire, forest

Embrace me in your beauty, Lord!

As I am sheltered, here,

within the blossoming bower,

let me know your love.

Thick leaves arching overhead,

on wild wood from tangled roots

in forest golden-brown;

white petals glimpsed through latticed-light

above, or fallen whole upon the ground.

Resting here in the quiet,

I wait for you, my Lord

and you do not disappoint…

I see you in the peace and hear you in the joy,

I linger in the loveliness within and all around.

 

When I’m come through this long and winding

wonder-passage of shade and green,

out into the brightness of the other side,

Embrace me in your beauty, Lord!

Your heaven’s delight of endless awe

surpassing earth’s imagining,

beyond the twigs and moss of time,

beyond

the loveliness I leave behind

that’s yours, O Lord… not mine.

Rhododendrons, flowers

© 2017 Christina Chase


My Life Is

wheelchair, forest, New Hampshire

 

My life is small,

tiny,

a grain of sand,

gritty and glittering;

a drop of dew,

globular weight and wonder,

cool and wet upon the green palm of time,

until…

it slips

from its leafy mooring,

form shattered,

essence absorbed

into the wider deep…

seen no more… but known.

 

My life is a wonder-passage,

a winged seed in flight,

a caterpillar taking up

the promised glory

bite

by little

bite.

© 2017 Christina Chase


Photo Credits: 

Embracing Beauty, © 2017 Dan Chase, All Rights Reserved

Rhododendrons, © 2017 Dan Chase, All Rights Reserved

Into the Woods, © 2017 Dan Chase, All Rights Reserved

You’ve Gotta Sing Your Song

barbershop quartet, Concord Coachmen

My father sings barbershop.  Yup.  Even worse, he’s a baritone.  What does that mean?  Well, in this four-part harmony, the lead sings the melody, the tenor takes the high notes, the bass takes the low notes, and the baritone gets the leftover bits and scraps.  To make the specific “barbershop sound”, sometimes those odd bari notes sound downright terrible.  Hearing him practice singing his part alone can be an exquisite irritation.

But, sing it he must.

As one of the members of his barbershop quartet reminded him, “You’ve got to sing your song.  Your part is your song.  It’s not anybody else’s, so you’ve got to learn it and make it yours.  Don’t worry about what other people are singing – sing your song.”  This is very good advice.  And not just for singing harmony – but also for living life.

We are all part of this world, this life, and God has given each of us a specific song to sing.  Just randomly making up our lives as we go along will not allow us to become part of something greater than ourselves.  The song given to us is suited to our distinctive talents and abilities.  I am unique and my song isn’t like anybody else’s.  Of course, there are many similarities to others’, for we humans share many things in common.  There are only a finite number of notes, after all – but with myriad combinations to make unique sounds.  We need to cooperate with God, thoughtfully, to find those combinations, discovering our true songs and striving to excel at singing them.

Sometimes, someone’s true song can be beautiful on its own – but, when others join in with their complementary songs, the sound of that first individual becomes deeper and richer than it was by itself.  And, then, there are those songs that just shouldn’t be sung all by themselves.  (I, a bit odd with my crippling disability, am certainly no good alone.)  However, what sounds awkward and aberrant when alone gains belonging and importance when joined by community.

The fact is that there is no barbershop harmony, there are no magical barbershop chords, without the odd and sometimes jarring song of the baritone.  In conversation with my father last week, we both recognized how this truth can be a lesson for everyone: we sound better together when we are true to our own songs.  A tenor can’t sing the bass’ part and a lead isn’t going to sing a baritone’s part for him.  If you are true to the song that is given you and sing it with heart, then you have done your part and done it well.  And if your true song seems pointless, weird, or lacking, then you must seek out others who need your song – who need it to make the music complete.

Maybe this little life lesson that my dad and I stumbled onto will make me better appreciate, and even come to love, the baritone part of barbershop being practiced all by itself.  Maaaybe

© 2017 Christina Chase

Beauty Hunger

I have always been drawn to beauty, as bees are called to nectar and deserts thirst for rain.  When I was an atheist, I found delight in the beauty of the natural world – which I would never have called God’s Creation, but only Earth or universe.  As a believing Christian, I now experience the beauty of the created world in a more personal and exquisitely intimate way, with true joy, as profound gift and Mystery.

life of pix,, tulips

 

Our Creator does not create with rigid rationing, but, rather, with generosity and full exuberance: 1000 seeds to bear one fruit tree, 1 million spermatozoa to bear one human being, 1 billion rocky planets to bear one earth…

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Brave

I feel very brave posting this.  Three and a half years of blogging here and I have been careful not to show pictures of myself straight on.  In fact, you’ll only find two.  Yet, here I am sharing a video of myself.

Why?  Right now, I’m really not sure!  A video of me reciting one of my poems with no makeup and no video touchup software?  (That would have to be some pretty awesome touchup software…)

But… there is something to be said about showing your wounds…

Being a Christian isn’t about standing on a soapbox yelling out quotes from Scripture or pointing at people “in sin” and warning them that they better change their ways.  Christianity is about Christ – and Christ is about love.  Christ is love incarnate.  So, if I want to share Christ with others, then I must not only love them in my heart and my actions, but also share with them my love – which includes my suffering.

When St. Thomas doubted the Resurrection, Christ came before him and showed him his wounds, let him put his fingers right into them.  We all have wounds.  We all have sufferings.  And we shouldn’t be afraid of them or even ashamed of them.  I am not proud of my defective gene (you won’t see me in any kind of SMA pride parade or whatever) but I am not ashamed to have a defective gene – or to even call part of me defective.  For that is the truth.

By sharing the truth of who I am – all of me – I hope that you may come to better know my love and, through that love, to know Christ.  God doesn’t make junk.  Everybody is sacred – every body is sacred.  And, sometimes, it is through our wounds that the glory of who we are is made known.

Now, remember mercy…

© 2017 Christina Chase

Different Women in 2 Works of Art

How connected are you to your background, how intimate with your landscape?

I love pretty things.  I’m very much of the “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes”[1] sensibility.  The turn of the twentieth century is my favorite time period with its lovely style of dress.  And that is probably one of the reasons why I love the art of Frank
Benson and have a copy of this painting, Summer, in my room:

New England, women, seashore, painting

Summer, Frank Benson

This New England scene of sun-bathed softness and breezy lightness pleasantly soothes me.  Even the colors match my summer decor.  But… in recently looking long at the print and studying it more closely, I found that I started to like it less.  There’s something about the expressions of the women in this impressionist painting that does not touch or move me at all.  I cannot imagine myself in that place with them because I don’t feel like they are really present in that place themselves. Continue reading

Cancer and Perspective

For my aunt’s cancer, angiosarcoma, to be removed from her body, her nose had to be removed.  After a year and a half of surgeries, nearly torturous radiation sessions, and more surgeries, her “new” nose is left permanently disfigured and dysfunctional.  At least, however, she had the knowledge that the cancer was gone and her life was safe.

But, the cancer has returned.

What looked like a bruise near her jaw is actually cancer.  And it, too, must be removed.  I imagine that more radiations… and uncertainty… will follow.

My poor aunt!  I feel awful for her and can’t even imagine what she must be feeling and thinking.  How will she get through this?  Where will she find the strength, the wisdom, the grace?  I find myself asking the same questions that I had when she first told me of her cancer on Christmas Day, 2014.  And my prayer for her now is the same as it was then.  Here is what I originally wrote – about my aunt the artist and about having divine perspective, even in the face of cancer:

Perspective   (click to read)

© 2016 Christina Chase