The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

Malcolm Guite

image by Linda Richardson image by Linda Richardson

For New Year’s eve in my  Anthology from Canterbury PressWaiting on the Word, I have chosen to read Thomas Hardy’s poem ‘The Darkling Thrush’, which was written on New Year’s Eve at the turn from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. Though it begins with Hardy’s characteristically bleak forboding, suddenly the poet in him discerns and allows another note of hope.

You can hear me read this poem by clicking on the title or the play button. The image above was created by Linda Richardson. She writes:

I first heard this poem at school and thought Hardy a very depressing poet. I didn’t have the tenacity to stay with the poem through the bleakness until the hope. When we are not mature we only want laughter and fun and a perpetual summer time. There is no virtue in winter and we avoid pain…

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Mother’s Milk

George J. Galloway

In the delightful movie, Scrooge (1970), a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Albert Finney, there’s a scene where the Ghost of Christmas Present gets the decrepit, miserly-meanie protagonist-antagonist drunk from a cup brimming with “the milk of human kindness.”

Scrooge hesitates. After all, nothing is really for free in his world. There must be some hidden cost, even for a cup of milk freely given. Scrooge drinks and becomes enamored with the enticing, delicious elixir, and then gets hammered while pleading, as Oliver Twist did with his porridge, for “some more.”

Both Ebenezer and Oliver shared a miserable start in life. They were both tragically deprived of the true “milk of human kindness.” They were motherless. They yearned for the kind, supple embrace of a mother’s arms and to drink deeply from the warm wells of their mothers’ nurturing breasts.

As infants, we are all…

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For Our Lady of Guadelupe by Grevel Lindop

Malcolm Guite

Our Lady of Guadalupe - given to me by the poet Grevel Lindop Our Lady of Guadalupe – given to me by the poet Grevel Lindop

For today’s poem in my  Anthology from Canterbury Press Waiting on the Word we return to the poet Grevel Lindop with an honest meditation on a visit to Mexico entitled ‘For our Lady of Guadelupe. You can hear me read this poem by clicking on the title or the play button. After the Waiting on the Word anthology was published, for which Grevel had kindly given me permission to include this poem,  we met up and he gave , as a gift the image he had bought on his visit and which is part of the subject of the poem and of my reflections on it. I was very moved by the gift and the little statue sits on my desk, so as Linda had not done an image for today I have included a photo of…

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In thy dark streets shineth

All Along the Watchtower

Light of Life Image

We all, I suspect, have our own favourite Christmas hymn. I can never hear ‘O Little town of Bethlehem’ without a tear coming to my eye. It captures something of the wonder of the event we are celebrating. Into a perfectly ordinary scene comes something – and someone – extraordinary. It is hard, in our urbanised, Western society, to imagine the darkness of an unlit street, but if you have an idea of it in your imagination, that, too, captures the vivid contrast between the darkness and the light. It is an image that always has relevance in this fallen world, but perhaps more so than usual in a year which has seen so much hardship for so many. There are times the darkness overwhelms us. There is, in all of us, a little of the Whig historian – that is the expectation that on the whole things get better…

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Egypt’s President Says Church Attack Was a Suicide Bombing – ABC News

All Along the Watchtower

cairoczyzmoqwqaaisafChalcedon put it quite plainly in his The persecution continues. He also gave us the background of the situation. Without denigration, because how we got here is always relevant, that’s all well and good. But where is this likely to go? ABC (The American one) reports thusly:

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Monday that a suicide bomber caused the blast that killed 24 Christians during Sunday Mass at a Cairo chapel adjacent to St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of Egypt’s ancient Coptic Orthodox Church.

It was among the deadliest attacks to ever target Egypt’s Coptic minority, which makes up around 10 percent of the country’s population and strongly supported the military overthrow of an elected Islamist president in 2013, which was led by el-Sissi.

Rather trite, in my opinion, to blame the victims, still again, in a conflict which has been going since the eighth century. But that’s the news media…

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