bellasemplicita

Regaining a lost love for beauty and simplicity.

Some Goals

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I normally refrain from making any definite goals for the new year – things along the line of ‘run more, bike more, etc.’  Things that are far from helpful.  So this year I am making myself several very definite goals.  I thought I would share some of them with you.

–  Run a Marathon.

–  Run a 70.3 Ironman event.

–  Take a photo every day.

–  Read 156 books, that is 3 books a week.

–  Make one of those 3 books a Shakespeare play.  (I don’t know my Shakespeare nearly as well as I could wish!)

–  Read a new poet every week

–  Cook/bake a new recipe every week

–  Knit an Aran sweater.

May your New Year be blessed!

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’     – Tennyson

On The First Day of Christmas . . .

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On the First Day of Christmas my true love sent to me,

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

‘Salvation to all that will is nigh’

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Botticelli, The Adoration of the Magi

……….

Annunciation

2.  Salvation to all that will is nigh,

That All, which always is All every where,

Which cannot sinne, and yet all sinnes must beare,

Which cannot die, yet cannot chuse but die,

Loe, faithfull Virgin, yields himselfe to lye

In Prison, in they wombe; and though he there

Can take no sinne, nor thou give, yet he’will weare

Taken from thence, flesh, which deaths force may trie.

Ere by the spheares time was created, thou

Wast in his minde, who is thy Sonne, and Brother,

Whom thou conceiv’st, conceiv’d; yea thou art now

Thy Makers maker, and thy Fathers mother,

Thou’hast light in darke; and shutst in little roome,

Immensity cloysterd in thy deare wombe.

Nativitie

3. Immensity cloysterd in thy deare wombe,

Now leaves his welbelov’d imprisonment,

There he hath made himselfe to his intent

Weake enough, now into our world to come;

But Oh, for thee, for him, hath th’Inne no roome?

Yet lay him in this stall, and from the’Orient,

Starres, and wisemen will travell to prevent

Th’effect of Herods jealous generall doome;

Seest thou, my Soule, with thy faiths eyes, how he

Which fils all place, yet none holds him, doth lye?

Was not his pity towards the wondrous high,

That would have need to be pittied by thee?

Kisse him, and with him into Egypt goe,

With his kinde mother, who partakes thy woe.

……….

– La Corona (2,3), John Donne

The Annunciation

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On a recent visit to the Art Institute of Chicago I saw this beautiful Annunciation by George Hitchcock.  During an often hectic Advent season, this painting has encouraged me to calm my soul and stand in awe before the lovely and humble coming of Christ.

‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.’     – Isaiah 7:14

‘Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.  For with God nothing will be impossible.”  Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.’     - Luke 1:26-38

And One More Poem

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“Gathering leaves
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?” 

- Robert Frost

Autumn

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O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

– To Autumn, William Blake

‘Poetry’

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‘The very fact that she wrote poetry in Buchenwald suggests that poetry itself is a part of the mind reserved for resistance to force.  Poetry doesn’t just help someone survive, it is a survivor itself: fluid, protean, as it passes through walls, and brings a particular beat to a way of thinking and being.’

Fanny Howe

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