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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 22 – “Approaching God,” “Eternal Encounter” and “Life Cycles”

ADVENT DAY 22

“Approaching God,” “Eternal Encounter,” and “Life Cycles” by William L. Greene, Jr.

Submitted by William L. Greene, Jr., , or Bill as we know him, was an Access Services Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library and he submitted several of his own poems for our Advent calendar.

 

Approaching God

Eternal Encounter

Life Cycles


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 21- “This Is Just to Say”

ADVENT DAY 21

This Is Just To Say, by William Carlos Williams

Submitted by Rebecca Whidden. Becky Whidden was an Access Services Specialist at Falvey. She shared this poem with me when she heard about the poetry Advent calendar. I love this little poem. The poem is lacking in punctuation or rhyme, which makes it fairly ambiguous and open to the reader’s interpretation, which makes it a favorite among high school English teachers who in my experience have used it as a springboard for discussing meaning and interpretation in poetry. In some ways it is a Rorschach test with words.

At face value the poem is extremely simple, evoking the banal domestic image of a note left out on a table. However upon reading it, I personally can’t help but feel the sensual nature of the poem. The intimacy of a private note meant only to be shared between two people; the word choices – “plums,” ‘icebox,” “forgive,” “delicious,” “sweet” – something about the way these words feel when when spoken carries a richness that arouses the senses in complex and beautiful ways.

 


This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 20 – “Library”

ADVENT DAY 20

“Library” by Scroobius Pip

Submitted by Sarah Wingo, Falvey’s subject librarian for English literature and theatre.

We couldn’t very well have a library advent calendar and not have a poem about libraries. I ran across this one just the other day and fell in love with it, I hope you enjoy it too.

“Library” by Scroobius Pip was originally commissioned by Chris Hawkins for BBC 6 Music’s celebration of libraries and performed live on his show in November 2014. We haven’t provided the words for this poem because it really is as much performance piece as it is poem, and even though the video is just words on a screen as they’re being spoken, it is worth a watch.


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 19 – “A Triptych in Verse in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary”

ADVENT DAY 19

“A Triptych in Verse in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary” by Darren Poley

Submitted by Darren Poley

Darren Poley is the Humanities/Theology librarian at Falvey Memorial Library and he is the second staff member to graciously share some of his personal poetry with us for our Advent calendar. Darren wrote this piece in August of 2014 with the dedication “to my friend Father K. Brewster Hastings, Pastor of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Abington, Penna.”

 


A Triptych in Verse in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary
By Darren Poley

Did It Rain In Galilee?

Holy Virgin do you delight in the rain?
Our heavenly Father sets the waters to move.
The waters are good and bring life from the earth.
They are there in the six days of Creation.
They are there when the earth was flooded.
Theotokos, do you delight in the rain?

Through your son, your only child, all things were made.
Jesus wept.
Daughter of the Father – Mother of the Son – chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit:
Did you weep with joy in Nazareth?
Did you weep with sadness in Jerusalem?
Rachel wept for her children.

Mother of God, mother of all;
Do you weep now for your children?
When you beheld the face of the glory of Israel;
That enlightens the benighted gentiles still:
Did you weep with joy in Bethlehem?
Did you weep with sadness in the cave made into a stable?

Queen of heaven and earth do you weep tears of myrrh?
Pure virgin who is the mother of the incarnate Logos:
Did you watch the Son of Man play in the rain as a child?
Were tears of sadness there because your spirit was pierced by a sword?
Were your tears at the foot of the cross mixed with the rain over Jerusalem?
Were they tears of myrrh?

All of Creation was reborn when your son rose from the dead.
Mary of holy Anne, descendent of kings, Mother of the Redeemer:
Turn your eyes of mercy towards us.
Ever-Virgin: show us the fruit of your womb;
It is a paradox to reason and a cause of delight.
It is the peace which passes all understanding.

It is raining today.
Parents weep with joy for they discover the blessings of children.
They weep with sorrow when they see their children eaten up by pride and hate.
The children fight over nothing.
Mix your tears with the rain.
Renew hope in us.
________________________________________
Weeping in Babylon

A fertile plain between two rivers
Of old, the Amorites built between the Tigris and Euphrates
A holy city for Mesopotamia
Sons of Judah did the new emperor take
Exile was their home

Virgin Mother of the Holy Child, descendant of Abraham
You’re the seal of the Covenant
When the son’s sons of Josiah the king were carried away
Like orphans
How could they know deliverance would come?

Daughter of Zion
You carried and suckled the Deliverer of the children of Eve
You, O’ Lily of Jerusalem
You did become the destroyer of idols
Who is it that is weeping in Babylon?

With holy Joseph to protect you
You went into exile in Egypt with the Christ child
From banishment you brought Him back to His people
A fertile Virgin, pure and graceful
The Father in Heaven chose to bless

In your body God became incarnate
The Incarnation brought us home out of bondage
The wars of men make the widow and the fatherless too soon
The sons of Judah lamented on the Fertile Crescent
Banishment was the punishment for their crimes

Destroyer of paganism, lily of Jerusalem
In concert with the will of the one God
You conquered pride and apathy with humility and love
Love for the one who rules the Universe
Love for the unbegotten Son of God whom you bore
From your life did one nature unite with another?
From you did the one true Messiah come
Out of your life the King of kings took the riches of humanity
To set free the children of Zion
From you arose the New Jerusalem

Holy Virgin Mary, your only son establishes the new heaven and the new earth
You are the tabernacle of the Most High, the holy of holies
You made a place for the Name of God to be praised forever
You direct the renewed people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
To the presence of the Almighty

There is weeping in Babylon
The idols of ancient times are falsely blessed anew
Many drunk on wantonness and blood
The children already delivered wander in a wilderness
Too full and noisy to be recognized as a wasteland

We shall be delivered by the mighty hand of the Lord
His right arm shall be our strength
Mother of Virtue you show us the way to conquer
We are engraved in the hand of God
No one can pluck us from the hollow of it

Blessed Mother, the fruit of your womb
The Son of God, a son of David
He makes for us a new home
With many blessed dwelling places
We shall rest beside quiet waters

“Fallen is Babylon,” He says
“Depart from her my people”
In the midst of the sanctified
There is only one worthy to receive the scroll
And to break open its seals

Mother of God
You are at the right hand of your son
Pray for us
Beckon us to the new inheritance
Of the People of God

It is now that we are exiled by our falleness
It is with you that we shall see God
Where the light never fades
And no tears of sorrow are shed
There will only be joy and peace
________________________________________
Icon of Redemption

Before He laid down the foundations of the Cosmos;
The Lord knew each one of us.
The one, true, and living God foresaw the one full of grace.
God the Father did know a new Eve would come into the world.

A child of good people, Joachim and Anne;
You are the fruit of a marriage both unitive and procreative.
You are the Immaculate Conception.
Because, while altogether human, sanctifying grace did you regain.

You did not die and rise with Christ crucified;
But the merit of your son’s agony and triumph was granted you when you were created.
Immaculate Mary, the Holy Spirit is in every fiber of your being.
You were and are forever without sin.

Where the favor of God reigns;
No disobedience can ever exist.
Free obedience, born from charity, is the blessing of life in Christ.
He did not think even divinity a thing to be grasped.
Like the bush burning, but not consumed;
You are there on holy ground.
There where wanderer, shepherd, and murderer comes face to face with He who is.
To the consubstantial trinity of divine persons, who with one voice say “I AM,” you guide us.

Queen of prophets and of martyrs;
True witnesses reflect you.
You are the beacon from which heavenly light from the Image of the Father shines.
The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is the everlasting light.

Holy Virgin Mother of God;
You are the ark of the new and everlasting Covenant.
Your son is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
It is through you that the Alpha and Omega chose to assume humanity unto Himself.

They who are one in being;
He is the source of all that is.
When we follow in your train, we see the blessed Vision of the deity, face-to-face.
Written humbly, you forever point us back to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Our Mother of Good Counsel, mosaic, in Old Falvey lobby

Our Mother of Good Counsel, mosaic, in Old Falvey lobby


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 18 – “The Lady of Shalott”

ADVENT DAY 18

“The Lady of Shalott” by  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Submitted by: Sarah Wingo, subject librarian for English literature and theatre.

“The Lady of Shalott” was written by  Alfred, Lord Tennyson around 1832 and then published in slightly varying forms in 1833 and 1842, and is loosely based on the Arthurian legend.

I chose to share this poem because it is one of those pieces of literary cultural currency that, at least for me, crept into my general awareness at a very early age.

My first encounter with“The Lady of Shalott” was through another piece of literature altogether in Anne of Green Gables, both the book and then again in the 1980’s television mini-series starring Megan Fellows. I also have vivid memories of my father playing Loreena McKennitt’s hauntingly beautiful adaptation, which is on her 1991 album The Visit.

Later in school I would encounter Tennyson, “The Lady of Shalott,” and his other poems in a far more academic contexts, but as is often the case it is my earliest experiences with “The Lady of Shalott” that secured its place in my heart.

 

 “The Lady of Shalott”
By  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Part I

On either side the river lie

Long fields of barley and of rye,

That clothe the wold and meet the sky;

And thro’ the field the road runs by

   To many-tower’d Camelot;

The yellow-leaved waterlily

The green-sheathed daffodilly

Tremble in the water chilly

   Round about Shalott.

 

Willows whiten, aspens shiver.

The sunbeam showers break and quiver

In the stream that runneth ever

By the island in the river

   Flowing down to Camelot.

Four gray walls, and four gray towers

Overlook a space of flowers,

And the silent isle imbowers

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

Underneath the bearded barley,

The reaper, reaping late and early,

Hears her ever chanting cheerly,

Like an angel, singing clearly,

   O’er the stream of Camelot.

Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,

Beneath the moon, the reaper weary

Listening whispers, ‘ ‘Tis the fairy,

   Lady of Shalott.’

 

The little isle is all inrail’d

With a rose-fence, and overtrail’d

With roses: by the marge unhail’d

The shallop flitteth silken sail’d,

   Skimming down to Camelot.

A pearl garland winds her head:

She leaneth on a velvet bed,

Full royally apparelled,

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

Part II

No time hath she to sport and play:

A charmed web she weaves alway.

A curse is on her, if she stay

Her weaving, either night or day,

   To look down to Camelot.

She knows not what the curse may be;

Therefore she weaveth steadily,

Therefore no other care hath she,

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

She lives with little joy or fear.

Over the water, running near,

The sheepbell tinkles in her ear.

Before her hangs a mirror clear,

   Reflecting tower’d Camelot.

And as the mazy web she whirls,

She sees the surly village churls,

And the red cloaks of market girls

   Pass onward from Shalott.

 

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,

An abbot on an ambling pad,

Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,

Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,

   Goes by to tower’d Camelot:

And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue

The knights come riding two and two:

She hath no loyal knight and true,

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

But in her web she still delights

To weave the mirror’s magic sights,

For often thro’ the silent nights

A funeral, with plumes and lights

   And music, came from Camelot:

Or when the moon was overhead

Came two young lovers lately wed;

I am half sick of shadows,’ said

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,

He rode between the barley-sheaves,

The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,

And flam’d upon the brazen greaves

   Of bold Sir Lancelot.

A red-cross knight for ever kneel’d

To a lady in his shield,

That sparkled on the yellow field,

   Beside remote Shalott.

 

The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,

Like to some branch of stars we see

Hung in the golden Galaxy.

The bridle bells rang merrily

   As he rode down from Camelot:

And from his blazon’d baldric slung

A mighty silver bugle hung,

And as he rode his armour rung,

   Beside remote Shalott.

 

All in the blue unclouded weather

Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,

The helmet and the helmet-feather

Burn’d like one burning flame together,

   As he rode down from Camelot.

As often thro’ the purple night,

Below the starry clusters bright,

Some bearded meteor, trailing light,

   Moves over green Shalott.

 

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;

On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;

From underneath his helmet flow’d

His coal-black curls as on he rode,

   As he rode down from Camelot.

From the bank and from the river

He flash’d into the crystal mirror,

‘Tirra lirra, tirra lirra:’

   Sang Sir Lancelot.

 

She left the web, she left the loom

She made three paces thro’ the room

She saw the water-flower bloom,

She saw the helmet and the plume,

   She look’d down to Camelot.

Out flew the web and floated wide;

The mirror crack’d from side to side;

‘The curse is come upon me,’ cried

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,

The pale yellow woods were waning,

The broad stream in his banks complaining,

Heavily the low sky raining

   Over tower’d Camelot;

Outside the isle a shallow boat

Beneath a willow lay afloat,

Below the carven stern she wrote,

      The Lady of Shalott.

 

A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight,

All raimented in snowy white

That loosely flew (her zone in sight

Clasp’d with one blinding diamond bright)

   Her wide eyes fix’d on Camelot,

Though the squally east-wind keenly

Blew, with folded arms serenely

By the water stood the queenly

   Lady of Shalott.

 

With a steady stony glance—

Like some bold seer in a trance,

Beholding all his own mischance,

Mute, with a glassy countenance—

   She look’d down to Camelot.

It was the closing of the day:

She loos’d the chain, and down she lay;

The broad stream bore her far away,

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

As when to sailors while they roam,

By creeks and outfalls far from home,

Rising and dropping with the foam,

From dying swans wild warblings come,

   Blown shoreward; so to Camelot

Still as the boathead wound along

The willowy hills and fields among,

They heard her chanting her deathsong,

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

A longdrawn carol, mournful, holy,

She chanted loudly, chanted lowly,

Till her eyes were darken’d wholly,

And her smooth face sharpen’d slowly,

   Turn’d to tower’d Camelot:

For ere she reach’d upon the tide

The first house by the water-side,

Singing in her song she died,

   The Lady of Shalott.

 

Under tower and balcony,

By garden wall and gallery,

A pale, pale corpse she floated by,

Deadcold, between the houses high,

   Dead into tower’d Camelot.

Knight and burgher, lord and dame,

To the planked wharfage came:

Below the stern they read her name,

      The Lady of Shalott.

 

They cross’d themselves, their stars they blest,

Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire, and guest.

There lay a parchment on her breast,

That puzzled more than all the rest,

   The wellfed wits at Camelot.

‘The web was woven curiously,

The charm is broken utterly,

Draw near and fear not,—this is I,

   The Lady of Shalott.’

 


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 16 – “Mad Girl’s Love Song”

ADVENT DAY 16

“Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath

Submitted by Kallie Stahl

Kallie Stahl is a second-year communication graduate student who joined the Falvey Scholarly Outreach team as a Graduate Assistant at the start of the fall 2014 semester. She now works for the Communications and Marketing Dept.  Kallie is a big Sylvia Plath fan and explained that she has always liked the way that this particular poem addresses the struggle between the fantasy and the reality of love.

Plath wrote “Mad Girl’s Love Song” in 1951, while she was a student at Smith College. It was first published in the August 1953 edition of Mademoiselle, where Plath was working as a Guest Editor.

 


“Mad Girl’s Love Song”
By Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 25

ADVENT DAY 25

1 Day Till Christmas

“Trust” by Gerald Dierkes
Read by Gerald Dierkes
Submitted by Gerald Dierkes

Gerald Dierkes is an information services specialist, and one of three Falvey staff members to submit one of their own poems for the Advent calendar.

With this final post I would like to thank everyone who has followed along with our Advent calendar as we made our way towards Christmas, my colleagues for contributing their favorite poems, especially my colleagues who bravely shared their own beautiful work with us, and our graduate assistant Michelle for working with me to get each one of these posts up on our blog.

I hope you enjoy our final poem, written and read by Gerald Dierkes, a reflection on trust.

Trust

Joseph, Mary’s husband, did you feel shocked
to learn of Mary’s unplanned pregnancy?
_____________________________Betrayed
by her apparent infidelity
so soon after your commitment to each other?
_____________________________Confused
by Mary’s joy in anticipating her child’s birth?
_____________________________Overwhelmed
by her implausible explanation?
_____________________________Love
as you protected her from legal consequences
of her alleged adultery?
_____________________________Duty
as you accepted responsibility for her child?
_____________________-_______Judged
by your neighbors in your small community?
_____________________________Puzzled
by God’s plan?
_____Why didn’t God arrange things differently?

When Caesar Augustus’ decree forced you to
leave your home in Galilee,
journey to Bethlehem, and
cause Mary to travel in the ninth month of her pregnancy and
give birth away from her home, away from her family, did you ask,
_____Why didn’t God time things differently?

When you sought shelter at an inn for your obviously pregnant wife
—and were refused—
did you think, What gives, God? I’m trying to follow your will, aren’t I?
You persevered, though, finding a shelter for animals in which Mary could give birth,
without her mother, without a midwife, with only you at her side.
Mary did give birth, and God’s Son was born into our world.
_____Why didn’t God plan things differently?

Mere days later, the angel again directed you to change your plans,
this time fleeing to Egypt for an unspecified length of time,
causing your father, Jacob, and Mary’s mother, Ann, to wait years before seeing their grandson.
_____Why didn’t God do things differently?

Did you expect God’s will to be predictable, logical (by human standards), and non-challenging?
Did you ever pause, in your struggle to trust God, to consider how much He trusts you?


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 24

ADVENT DAY 24

2 Days Till Christmas

“Fra Moses And The Flowers” by Eleanor C. Donnelly
Read by Sarah Wingo
Submitted by Laura Bang

Laura Bang is Falvey’s Digital and Special Collections Curatorial Assistant, and she is found this wonderful historical poem to share. This poem comes from page 2 of the first issue of The Villanova Monthly, from January 1893. The Villanova Monthly was the first student newspaper, running from 1893-1897. Returning after a hiatus in 1916, the paper was renamed The Villanovan.

The poem itself is by Eleanor C. Donnelly (1838-1917), a local Philadelphia Catholic poet. Falvey has digitized the Eleanor C. Donnelly Papers from the American Catholic Historical Society, which can be viewed in our Digital Library.

Dec 23rd FraMosesAndTheFlowers

 

 


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 23

ADVENT DAY23

3 Days Till Christmas

little tree, by: E.E. Cummings
Read by Alan Davis Drake
Submitted by Melanie Wood

Melanie Wood is Falvey’s Academic Integration Technical Specialist. This poem is, to me, a simple and sweet reminder to take notice of and appreciate the beauty of the little things in life.


 

little tree, by: E.E. Cummings

 

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

 

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

see i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

 

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

 

look the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

 

put up your little arms

and i’ll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

 

then when you’re quite dressed

you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they’ll stare!

oh but you’ll be very proud

 

and my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

“Noel Noel”


Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 17

ADVENT DAY 179 Days Till Christmas

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson
Read by Jean Aked
Submitted by Laura Matthews

Laura Matthews is Falvey’s Library Events and Outreach specialist, and she submitted “’Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” saying,

“Although somewhat cliché, I like Emily Dickinson. It seems like she was a real legit lady that didn’t care what other people thought. I like that. My mom introduced me to this poem several years ago. I like it because hope is such a magical thing and when I read this poem it makes my heart smile.”

I too like Emily Dickinson very much, and I’m pleased to share this poem on our advent calendar.

Read by Jean Aked:


“Hope” is the thing with feathers
By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.


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Last Modified: December 16, 2014