In honor of today beginning Fall Embertide, the Quatuor Tempora (Four Times) of fasting and prayer that go way back in the Latin Church, here is a poem from my 2018 collection Sunk in Your Shipwreck, “My Embering.”
(For any liturgy buffs: I do know that in the Extraordinary Rite ordo for this year the Fall Ember Days are moved to next week, but it’s b/c of a technicality of the 1962 reform that I’m not worrying about–since I don’t follow the old rite anyhow, I’m sticking with the prior 1400+ year tradition.)
lakeshore state park is surrounded by lake michigan with a view of downtown milwaukee. restored prairie growing over earlier construction debris is the organic highlight–what we can do if we put our collective minds to it.
Here is my reading (with a small cameo from my daughter) of Dame Gertrude More’s (1606-33) poem to her master in the monastic life, St. Benedict.
Dame Gertrude was a Benedictine nun in exile on the continent and a great contemplative of the early modern period when the English Catholic Church persevered thru persecution. You can pick up a copy of her poems and shorter prose here if you like.
toft point state natural area is a 732-acre piece of land in door county, wi tucked between two bays. with boreal forest, mesic forest, and sedge meadow and swampland, it boasts one of the most diverse bryophyte communities in the state. it was a distinctly different feeling walking thru these woods.
thanks to uw-green bay and the wi nature conservancy for maintaining this patch of earth.
riveredge creek and ephemeral pond state natural area is part of the riveredge nature center, a 61-acre slice of land that includes fen-like habitat with lots of skunk cabbage and spotted cranesbill (wild geranium).
thanks to the riveredge nature center for protecting and rehabilitating this area.
a programming note for myself and anyone who might care: as the final lines of both these poems allude to, i think the timeline of this project has closed. it was originally conceived as a way to get out of the house in safety either alone or with my family when the pandemic first really hit and we were all sheltering in place hard. but with the return of the warm weather and the first serious pushes of reopening, it feels like this project has done its work. i may continue to add more here and there when i get out, but i’m retiring the series as a reason/impetus to go out in the first place. i know several folks have been reading lots of these, and i appreciate your time and care. thanks for reading.
In the midst of all our troubles in the States and around the world at the moment, this may seem frivolous, but the liturgical year presses on with the vicissitudes of history. Today is the feast of St. Petroc, a relatively obscure sixth-century saint of Cornwall. (Not on the universal calendar, but his feast is still in the current Martyrologium Romanum.)
I did work on St. Petroc at UW-Madison under the wonderful medievalist Dr. Sherry Reames and ended up writing my first long poem on his life. It’s basically a verse adaptation of his Latin prose life, and you can see it here if you’re in need of a momentary retreat/diversion.