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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Quarantine Holy Week, with interviews, excerpts, poems, and Charis

Charis in the World of Wonders 
and poems: updatery!

Anak Krakatoa erupted on Good Friday, locusts afflict Africa, the pandemic rages everywhere, Etobicoke Creek ran as red as blood: maybe you had better get started on your quarantine reading of Charis in the World of Wonders...

"Q and A with Marly Youmans, Author of Charis In The World Of Wonders" - interview at Women Writer, Women's Books  11 April 2020

Excerpt (the first appearance of Hortus) from Charis in the World of Wonders at Women Writers, Women's Books  3 April 2020

"Mystic Journey," "Jane Eyre in the Red Room," "The Plum Oak Pot," and "The Hand" (audio and text) at Pete Candler's pandemic project, A New Decameron. The first and last poems are blank verse; the other two are part of a sequence of poems influenced by Hebrew parallelism and Yoruban praise traditions: art has always been a Silk Road. Thanks to Pete for a request.

"Plague-spell" and "Death of a Singer" at The Living Church (Episcopal/Anglican Communion) 19 April 2020 issue. Thanks to editor Fr. Mark Michael for his request.

* * *

"The Homunculus" from The Book of the Red King (video) 
at The Ballsians on youtube.
Update: It is up! Go here.

Poetry videos and text from The Book of the Red King 
at the Cathedral Arts blog from Albany, New York

"Night Blooming Cereus" at A New Decameron, read by Paul Digby

Excerpt (audio/text) of Charis in the World of Wonders at A New Decameron

Podcast at NAA

and more

A bold 19th century #GoodFriday depiction:
"As Seen from the Cross," James Tissot, c. 1886-94,
public domain via Wikipedia.

THIS NEW NOVEL is unlike anything I’ve ever read—
and the best novel I’ve read in ages. 

It’s set in Puritan New England In the late 17th century 
and uses gorgeous language to tell a gentle but riveting story. 
I stayed up until 3:30 this morning to finish it. 
If you’re tired of all the “The Girl Who—-“ novels 
floating out there, cleanse your palate with this.
--poet Jane Ullrich Greer, April 8

from A New Decameron

"Orcadian Painting (Good Friday)" by painter
and my occasional penpal/collaborator, Graham Ward. Acrylics, 2019.

Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century: In Siena, where more than half the inhabitants died of the plague, work was abandoned on the great cathedral, planned to be the largest in the world, and never resumed, owing to loss of workers and master masons and “the melancholy and grief” of the survivors. The cathedral’s truncated transept still stands in permanent witness to the sweep of death’s scythe. Agnolo di Tura, a chronicler of Siena, recorded the fear of contagion that froze every other instinct. 'Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another,' he wrote, 'for this plague seemed to strike through the breath and sight. And so they died. And no one could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship.… And I, Angolo di Tura, called the Fat, buried my five children with my own hands, and so did many others likewise.
[Siena Cathedral dome photograph by Livio Andronico 2013
Creative Commons license Wikipedia]


  1. On Good Friday the Archbishop of Canterbury conducted a service in his eponymous cathedral. I think it was him; the photo appeared to have been shot high up from his rear, in the region of the High Altar. I took a guess on the basis of his mitre. This great structure was entirely empty save for one person; a clearly secular individual sitting patiently at a collapsible card-table, down the steps from the Very Rev. Justin Wellby and surrounded by surprisingly small electronic artefacts.

    To some this conjunction of detail might have seemed uncongenial, even slightly blasphemous. Not for me. I wouldn't go as far as saying that the development of the audio amplifier was a gift from God but its conception did involve several leaps of imagination (these were explained during my National Service in the RAF) and some may have been inspired. Who am I to say whence this inspiration sprang?

    What is undeniable is that this technology was benefiting the Archbishop's aims. His predecessors would have given their eye-teeth to have spoken with such a mighty voice. I've heard Welby speak in less formal circumstances; I believe he's a former businessman. Reasonable in his views. Thankful that electrons were behaving in the service of the vows he had taken. Me, if asked - alas no one has - I'd have been pleased the electrons were behaving as electrons. A small difference? A big difference?

  2. There is a comic variation in online churches--some who have equipment and know how to use it, some who have not much but know how to use it, and some who may well have equipment but certainly have no idea!

  3. To tell the truth the video was well filmed and came over as quite poignant. I'd say Wellby belongs to the first category of intermittent on-liners. Later he did an Easter Sunday broadcast from his kitchen at Lambeth Palace; endearingly he admitted this had involved "quite a bit of clearing up" for his wife and himself. I liked that.

    1. There seems to be a video genre of politicians "down home" in the kitchen, and I tend to find that one repulsive. I expect videos in the kitchen are improved by a lack of politicians.

      The main problem with videos in Cooperstown during a pandemic is cloud. Cloud, cloud, and more cloud.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.