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Sunday, August 02, 2020

Anders, Charis, Red King

Another "tiny" at North American Anglican: 

And if you go here on the NAA site, you can take a look at more tinies and a few poems.  Thanks so much to Clinton Collister for requesting poetry and tinies! 

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Clips from new reviews of Charis in the World of Wonders:

Photo by Paul Digby
Photo by Paul Digby

A charming literary work that envelops the reader in the chaotic frontier life of Puritan Massachusetts.
--Historical Novel Society Issue 93, August 2020

Youmans shrewdly presents the collective madness of witch trials as one of many destructive forces in the world — on a level with Indian massacres, concussions, and drowning. As such, the hysteria seems less alien, our modern complacencies less sure, leaving behind the uneasy suspicion that we may be as prone to collective madness as they are, and as blind to it, lulled by the tools we vainly depend upon, just as they depend on their brimstone preaching, to save us from destruction. This sojourn in Charis and the World of Wonders lets us experience reality bare of illusions: life can end at any moment, avoiding grief is folly, joys should be taken gratefully when they come, and creation is full of beauty, fear, mystery, and God.
--novelist H. S. Cross. "In the Liminal Zone," The Living Church (Anglican Communion), 30 July 2020

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And here's a pandemic poem from The Book of the Red King...

The Cloud Like a Child
A Folk Story of the Red King’s Kingdom

A cloud no bigger than a child appeared
And hovered just above the castle spires.
Next the sickness came with evening sweats
That seemed to bleed all force away from those
Who ploughed or pounded hammers at the forge,
Strong souls who laughed at first but later wept.
At night the cloud became a rag of blood
That served to veil the brightness of the moon,
And people said, “The end of the world is near.”
The greater part of the Red Kingdom’s men
Died, and no child was born, for women all
Were barren. So the Red King in that time
Took pity on the sons and daughters who
Were not and seemed unlikely to become:
Three generations he raised them from stones
Until the demon rag was worn to shreds
And lost to every eye except the King’s.
So was preserved the kingdom of his love. 

You may see and hear a reading of the poem here.


  1. You may be surprised to learn no one, ever, during a long long life, has ever rated me "charming" (viz. Historical Novel Society review). Nor applied that adjective to any of my artefacts (yes, we spell it with an e over here.) Not that I'm complaining. It would be a hard judgment to live up to, given I'd secretly regard the judge as having other - secret - fish to fry.

    Just a minute. There was a brief period, in and around New Year 1966, when I'd just arrived in the USA and was audibly breathless with all the things I wanted to say. Foolishly imagining that everyone had read and memorised John Gunther's 979-page work Inside USA, first published in 1947, and had been mesmerised - as I was - by its scope. For a few weeks I played the role of Fool as defined by Shakespeare, though tending towards the Touchstone version, not the Lear one. There may have been folk living away from the centre of Pittsburgh, occupying large houses in Fox Creek, who found me charming and would have liked to dangle me from their watch-chain, had watch-chains still been in fashion.

    But it didn't last.

    1. If it's any consolation, I thought that review wrong-headed on several points. The only one I have felt that way about... So maybe they were wrong on charming as well!

      I find you incisive and witty, which is better. And even a tad charming, as you are here in your Fool claims. (Of course, we know who wrote an entire book of poems about being a Fool....)

    2. p. s. Have been overwhelmed by late (life, children, volunteering despite Covid19) but will make it to your ethereal abode soon.


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.