Thursday, February 7, 2008

Quacks and Gobs

In honor of St Gregory the Theologian, who is commemorated today, we offer this intimate poem by Fr John McGuckin, entitled "St Gregory Nazianzen" and composed in 1996:
Of all the ancients
You I think I could live with,
(some of the time)
comfortable in you
like an old coat
sagged and fraying at the back,
(its pockets drooping with important nothings
like string, and manuscripts of poems)
perfect for watching you off your guard,
rambling round your country garden,
planting roses, not turnips,
contrary to the manual
for a sensible monk;
master of the maybe;
anxious they might take you up all wrong;
shaking your fist at an Emperor,
(once he had turned the corner
out of sight);
every foray into speech
a coasted regret.

Your heart was like a spider's silk
swinging wildly at the slightest breeze,
too tender for this tumbling world
of mountebanks, and quacks and gobs,
but turned to hear the distant voices
of the singing stars
and marvel at the mercy of it all.
Taken from Fr John's Saint Gregoy of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography. In 1984 he published a small volume of poetry entitled Byzantium and Other Poems (sadly out of print).

The above icon of St Gregory is the work of Aidan Hart.


Macrina said...

That's lovely! I can just imagine the kitchen brother's exasperation at the lack of turnips!

I've been meaning to respond since you posted trying to evoke discussion, to say that I have really appreciated much of what you've posted. Although I shall - probably - remain a rather silent reader I do read it eagerly.

Felix Culpa said...

Thanks for your kind and encouraging comments!