Friday, November 9, 2018

Sheila Jacob writes

In praise of the moon


Pale as frozen milk,
you look ready to melt

into the clouds but hours

later you outshine

the street lamps,

Jupiter below you

like a full stop.

Amen. So be it.

You’re in your heaven,

all’s well with the world

and in Mary’s month

you bloom rose-gold

above green fields,

green trees, warm nests.

Sky’s calendar

for the earth you’ll orbit

while eggs crack,

fledglings squawk,

young birds wing

across each phase

of your journey’s light.
Moon and Jupiter conjunction -- David Finlay

1 comment:

  1. May is Mary's month. The Greeks dedicated May to Artemis, the goddess of fecundity, and the Romans linked the month to Flora, the goddess of bloom and blossoms. The connection evolved into associations with Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the 13th century the Castilian poet/king Affonso X el Sabio wrote the "Cantigas de Santa Maria" in which she was directly associated with several dates in May. In the 17th century special observances consecrating the entire month to her began to be held in Italia. Late in the 18th century Latomia vowed to devote the month to Mary to counteract infidelity and immorality among his students at the Roman College of the Society of Jesus, and the practice spread to other Jesuit colleges and then to Catholic churches. Between 1883-1889 pope Leo XIII issued 12 encyclicals and 5 apostolic letters on the rosary in which the practice was popularized. The Gospel of Luke (1:46-55) portrayed Mary reciting what became known as the Magnificat (Latin for "[My soul] magnifies [the Lord]"); in 1878, 8 months after Gerard Manley Hopkins was consecrated as a Jesuit priest, he composed “May Magnificat.”

    May is Mary’s month, and I
    Muse at that and wonder why:
    Her feasts follow reason,
    Dated due to season—

    Candlemas, Lady Day;
    But the Lady Month, May,
    Why fasten that upon her,
    With a feasting in her honour?

    Is it only its being brighter
    Than the most are must delight her?
    Is it opportunest
    And flowers finds soonest?

    Ask of her, the mighty mother:
    Her reply puts this other
    Question: What is Spring?—
    Growth in every thing—

    Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
    Grass and greenworld all together;
    Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
    Throstle above her nested

    Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
    Forms and warms the life within;
    And bird and blossom swell
    In sod or sheath or shell.

    All things rising, all things sizing
    Mary sees, sympathising
    With that world of good,
    Nature’s motherhood.

    Their magnifying of each its kind
    With delight calls to mind
    How she did in her stored
    Magnify the Lord.

    Well but there was more than this:
    Spring’s universal bliss
    Much, had much to say
    To offering Mary May.

    When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
    Bloom lights the orchard-apple
    And thicket and thorp are merry
    With silver-surfèd cherry

    And azuring-over greybell makes
    Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
    And magic cuckoocall
    Caps, clears, and clinches all—

    This ecstasy all through mothering earth
    Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
    To remember and exultation
    In God who was her salvation.


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