Melancholy Beauty

Maybe it’s the days spent in a caravan in YnysMon or the news of late, but I’ve had an appettite for Melancholy beauty this evening. This is my smorgsbord of findings.


Beautiful, Haunting Music

Some thoughtful writing by John Donne… Meditation 17

Empty Tomb

Empty Tomb - Unknown Artist

And a sonnet from John Donne:
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Thoughts & Prayers for Calan Haf

By the combination of the timing of the church calender, my purchasing the Daily Office of SSF and it being posted at a certain time, and however biblegateway decides its verse for the day… today there were some readings and prayers that were really bang on for where I’m at and also for celebrating the beginning of the summer season.


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

(Romans 12)




You, O Lord, are my lamp; you turn our darkness into light.

The light and peace of Jesus Christ be with you (and also with you)


Blessed are you, Sovereign Lord,

the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;

to you be glory and praise for ever.

From the deep waters of death

you brought your people to new birth

by raising your Son to life in triumph.

Through him dark death has been destroyed

and radiant life is everywhere restored.

As you call us out of darkness into his marvellous light

may our lives reflect his glory

and our lips repeat the endless song,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

Blessed be God for ever.


Let my prayer rise before you as incense,

the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.


That this evening may be holy, good and peaceful,

let us pray with one heart and mind.

As our evening prayer rises before you, O God,

so may your mercy come down upon us and cleanse our hearts

and set us free to sing your praise,

now and forever Amen.




The Lord is my light and my salvation;

the Lord is the strength of my life.

The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness has not overcome it.




Alleluia. Mary Magdala said to the disciples,

I have seen the Lord!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia.


Lord Have Mercy. Christ Have Mercy. Lord Have Mercy.


Risen Christ

To whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:

open the doors of our hearts,

that we may seek the good of others

and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,

to the praise of God the Father.



May the risen Christ grant us the joys of eternal life. Amen.

Beltane Eve Meanderings

A posting from the Community of Aiden and Hilda got me thinking about this season, which so far for me is bringing many changes. I’ll copy and paste it here, to give a flavour:

Tonight (April 30th) is Beltane eve, drawing us through the night to the dawn of the season of Beltane, the season of the sun. For the next three moons the Celtic calendar was focused on the warmth and light of the sun, of the strength of light over darkness with the summer solstice in the middle. It was the season of celebrations and feasting, but also of war and reclaiming what may have been taken from you, and of battling the enemy.

For the Celtic Christians this celebration and season lost none of its potency. It was a celebration of the Sun of Righteousness (a prophetic term for the Messiah), who comes, according to the prophet Malachi, with healing. It is a celebration of the strength of the Light of the world over spiritual darkness, and of reclaiming through ‘the Sun of Righteousness’ all and any parts of your life which have been taken from you by spiritual darkness, or ‘the enemy’.

Happy Beltane!
May the Great Light overcome all your inner darkness
May the warmth and healing of the Sun of Righteousness be with you and within you
And may you know the overcoming of ‘the enemy’ and a reclaiming of any part of your life or inner self which has been lost.

This last part of the prayer in particular struck me. It particularly reminded me of a short “statement of faith” I clung on to a few years ago, love is never wasted. Recently I was reminded of this by this meme from Action for Happiness:

There’s something both strong and bittersweet about this reflection, and I think that links well to this post:

Of course after listening to that I had to find a version of the song in question to actually listen to…


Somehow this mix of the broken and the beautiful is so apt for humanity. I particularly therefore appreciated these two reflections on “unlikely characters” that God had good purposes for:

The hotch potch of real people in the bible gives me real hope at times!


To end, I had looked to the Carmina Gadaelica (online here: ) for a Beltane Blessing, but decided on just picking a few segments from the possibilities for today:

“…The strength of the Triune be our shield in distress,
The strength of Christ, His peace and His Pasch,
The strength of the Spirit, Physician of health,
And of the precious Father, the King of grace.

…Be the Cross of Christ to shield us downward,
Be the Cross of Christ to shield us upward,
Be the Cross of Christ to shield us roundward,
Accepting our Beltane blessing from us,
Accepting our Beltane blessing from us.”

“…Bless everything and every one,
Of this little household by my side

Place the cross of Christ on us with the power of love,
Till we see the land of joy,
Till we see the land of joy,…

Thou Being who didst create me at the beginning,
Listen and attend me as I bend the knee to Thee,
Morning and evening as is becoming in me,
In Thine own presence, O God of life,
In Thine own presence, O God of life.”

Not quite there yet, but looking forward to Calan Haf…


Fire Blessing

In discussing possible appropriate prayers for the day a friend composed this on the spur of the moment, and it seems absolutely apt:

 In honor of the Four Fires of St. Brigid:

Thanks be to God for the fire of the Hearth–may my home always be warm and welcoming.

Thanks be to God for the fire of the Smith–may my labors always bear good fruit.

Thanks be to God for the fire of Inspiration–may the good Lord Jesus always kindle my imagination.

Thanks be to God for the fire of His Holy Spirit–may I always seek and understand God’s guidance.


(composed by Dolores… also known as Dreamdeer… other writings collated here.)

of Love and Poetry

Fear not… I’m not about to make my scribblings public reading, but two things struck me today… I didn’t know (until friends via facebook told me so) that today is St Dwynwen’s day… and that she is a welsh “saint” with a largely legendary (and variable) life story, who nevertheless is patron saint of lovers… and sick animals. Fortunately the tribe of rodents are well, so I turned to the other aspect she represents. It actually made me think of how broad love can be, how many aspects of different friendships and relationships it encapsulates in one little word. Which made me all soppy so I gave a bunch of people a facebook Cwtch… oh dear… I shall have to work harder if I am to achieve grumpy old woman status.

Then there’s been this thing… to flood facebook with poetry… which meant I discovered this outstanding poem:

A Blessing for one who is exhausted:

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

by John O’Donohue


Too many thoughts swirling…..

so this is a rambling, all over the place kind of post.

Decided to get out for a walk this afternoon. Glad I did. More glad I ended up at some artistic events, where I exchanged the following short story for a book. I think I got the bargain (though so far I’ve only read the first couple of pages of the book)!

Once upon a time there was a young man. When he was little he had been cursed by his evil stepmother. Whenever he looked in a mirror, an evil creature hiding in his shadow would twist the image, so he could only see his shadow self. He hated this shadow self, but could never escape the face staring at him from the mirror.

One day he met a beautiful fairy who showed him a way to defeat his shadow. She shattered the mirrors and banned them from the land. But one sad day, he walked past a murky pond, and the shadowy depths acted like a mirror in the bright sun. He leant over, fascinated by the grey image staring back.

They found him floating and bloated the next day.


Following on from the story session, I got to looking at some lovely ceramic art in a makeshift gallery.

At the far end was, essentially, a dressing up stall, with loads of edwardian regalia. They said it was all for a photographer to take arty pictures of people dressed in period costume… but I knew it for what it was… an excuse to dress up and be silly and have fun. So that’s what I did… except I ended up (after trying on a few costumes) in Mourning Dress. And realised when I was told to look sad that I didn’t have to pretend, just remember how I was feeling. It felt like such an effort to switch modes back at the end.

To help me process, on the way out of the park, I took some pictures of these beautiful plants with red leaves/flowers shaped like little paper lanterns. The were beautiful and eye catching, but some had already started to break down so you could just see little patches of the veins, and one or two, that was all that was left. Reminded me of Ecclesiastes, or bubbles.

And I continued walking, and the sky was beautiful and changeable, and then sun shone on the trees and the stream running next to the path helped to wash the sorrow away, for a while.

But I found myself this evening, parked up by a larger body of water, watching sleepy water birds and listening to sad songs on the radio. Had a good cry. But then a fox came. A beautiful, wary, lithe young fox, investigating cautiously. Somehow the fox and the moon were comforting enough to drive home with a sense of stillness again. But still just ate a tonne of icecream.


Like I said rambling. Not really an efficient straight path, but it got me where I am today.

Changing the Tense

This Poem is not mine. It was written by Emma Craig, and published on “a Tribute to Burnie,” a group initially letting us know funeral arrangements and then sharing memories of a lovely friend who passed away, May 2007. But chatting through a recent bereavement with a friend this evening I was reminded of it, especially of these last two lines.

Changing the tense

Changing the tense
From present to past:
‘lives’ to ‘lived’
‘does’ to ‘did’
‘love’ to ‘loved’

A smiling photo in a frame
A raw ache whenever I hear your name
I miss your chat,
and stories, and wacky dress sense, and strong opinions, and badly delivered jokes, and articulate emails and travel blog,
and even your annoying traits,
like chomping on apples.. and how you blew your nose, a clicked your fingers as you walk around the house
And wrinkled up your whole brow…

Tributes online,
letters, cards, chats
Unsuspecting memories lurking round random corners
A table laid for one less,
A hole that can never be filled,
If only you knew how much we all love you,
Love, not loved