From 'Idylls of the King'
By Alfred Lord Tennyson
And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
'The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou seest--if indeed I go
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)--
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.'
So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Looked one black dot against the verge of dawn,
And on the mere the wailing died away.
But when that moan had past for evermore,
The stillness of the dead world's winter dawn
Amazed him, and he groaned, 'The King is gone.'
And therewithal came on him the weird rhyme,
'From the great deep to the great deep he goes.'
Whereat he slowly turned and slowly clomb
The last hard footstep of that iron crag;
Thence marked the black hull moving yet, and cried,
'He passes to be King among the dead,
And after healing of his grievous wound
He comes again; but--if he come no more--
O me, be yon dark Queens in yon black boat,
Who shrieked and wailed, the three whereat we gazed
On that high day, when, clothed with living light,
They stood before his throne in silence, friends
Of Arthur, who should help him at his need?'
Then from the dawn it seemed there came, but faint
As from beyond the limit of the world,
Like the last echo born of a great cry,
Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
Around a king returning from his wars.
Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
Even to the highest he could climb, and saw,
Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King,
Down that long water opening on the deep
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.
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Go here for dancing reindeer!
Am back from my annual family Chanukah party (which had to be held this year after Chanukah ended due to local family's kids' insane schedules). Really had a nice time -- these are relatives I generally see only once or twice a year despite all good intentions to see most of them more often. Meanwhile had a lovely weepy-in-a-good-way late afternoon while getting dressed for the party thanks to ashinae and October Project. Kisses to you.
I agree with pretty much everything Viggo Mortensen said on Charlie Rose about the need to question our government. I agree with his unease with U.S. foreign policy. I very much agree with him that George Bush may be as dangerous as Saddam Hussein. I'm just a little torqued about his statement on Perceval Press's site about "the growing tensions between Judeo-Christian and Islamic cultures."
"Judeo-Christian" is one of the most deadly phrases in common use today. It takes everything that is uniquely "Judeo" -- Hebrew scripture, Jewish culture, Israel -- and subsumes it under what is Christian (theologically, spiritually, culturally). ("Christian" is nowhere near monolithic enough to posit as a black-and-white contrast with "Islamic" cultures, but that's an entirely different rant, and extremists on all sides of the struggle tend to reduce the equation similarly so it's a much bigger rant.)
I'm only interested in arguing about what touches me most directly and personally, and that's the way Jewish issues and Israeli issues (which are not one and the same though they often are conflated) get shoved into the much broader set of right-wing agendas, often parallelling Christian agendas. The conflicts between Jews and Moslems in Israel have a specific set of historical and cultural causes, relatively few of which stem from theological issues or social distinctions. The conflicts between Christians and Moslems in the Middle East stem from a different set of historical and cultural issues. The conflict between the current U.S. administration and Iraq has little to do with either.
I'm not pretending that there aren't ugly political and financial issues being exploited by American Jews and Christians alike. I'm not supporting the U.S. government's policies vis a vis the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and the West Bank. But I don't think it's fair to Jews, Christians OR Moslems to reduce the various problems in widespread parts of the world to conflicts between some nonexistent "Judeo-Christian" cultures and Moslems. When it gets so reduced, it tends to be the Jews who suffer most from the illusion of this hyphen and the violence in its wake.
It's very politically correct right now to portray Israel as America's imperialist ally and to portray Jews as sharing the same goals with Christians concerning the fate of the Middle East, but the historical reality has little to do with that simplistic equation. Let's talk about what's really going on, which has nothing to do with values or spirituality and everything to do with greed and hatred -- which at least in theory are not supposed to be Jewish, Christian or Moslem values at all.
End rant. But I'm sure it'll be back. It has been over and over, over the centuries.
divineway! Are we meeting a week from today in Metropolis?