please wait until I repent…

From Sunday’s Gospel Reading: Advent 1 (year A)

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Matthew 24:42-44

Come, Lord Jesus, but let me repent first…My soul wallows in its long habit of sleep: of disregard, of thoughtlessness, heartlessness, a psychic hibernation against feeling and against knowing for fear of pain. My soul reclines, suspended in a torpor of uncaring, I’m not ready to greet either the horrors or wonders of the dawning of the Great Day. My body stands dumbly looking at the sky, but my soul lies dormant like a rodent deeply buried in its underground nest in darkest winter, far from my cold heart.

Come, Lord Jesus. But wait until I’m ready…wake me gently.

(How can I repent? Who will teach me to repent?) 

How conveniently the Church places a figure –  coming forth from the boundaries of my desert soul. What is this –  a shaken reed? A man dressed in fine clothes? Some fancy prophet?    Next week … John the Baptist.

In the meantime, if you havn’t read Yeats’ The Second Coming recently (or even since high school) it’s worth a look. But for the theme of the last trump in a more playful mode, enjoy Edith Sitwell’s Solo for Ear Trumpet.

Meanwhile, here at the farm the gardens have been put to bed. We’re entering into what one of the sisters call “dream time”. And we’ll be spending Thanksgiving Day with the sisters in the city at the NEW CONVENT !!!
– Have a deep and wakeful Advent.

The Second Coming
W.B.Yeats, 1919

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand;
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

 picture: detail of The Wise and Foolish Virgins, William Blake

Solo For Ear-Trumpet

The carriage brushes through the bright
Leaves (violent jets from life to light);
Strong polished speed is plunging, heaves
Between the showers of bright hot leaves
The window-glasses glaze our faces
And jar them to the very basis —
But they could never put a polish
Upon my manners or abolish
My most distinct disinclination
For calling on a rich relation!
In her house — (bulwark built between
The life man lives and visions seen) —
The sunlight hiccups white as chalk,
Grown drunk with emptiness of talk,
And silence hisses like a snake —
Invertebrate and rattling ache….
Then suddenly Eternity
Drowns all the houses like a sea
And down the street the Trump of Doom
Blares madly — shakes the drawing-room
Where raw-edged shadows sting forlorn
As dank dark nettles. Down the horn
Of her ear-trumpet I convey
The news that ‘It is Judgment Day!’
‘Speak louder: I don’t catch, my dear.’
I roared: ‘It is the Trump we hear!’
‘The What?’ ‘THE TRUMP!’ ‘I shall complain!
…. the boy-scouts practising again.’

Dame Edith Sitwell

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