Category Archives: Literature and Poetry
Literature and Poetry
Works of poetry and literature, works on poetry and literature — whether they be classical, medieval, Renaissance, baroque, etc. — If they are on this site, they are in this section.
The word “literature” is taken from the Latin word littera, which means “letters,” not as in the alphabet, but as in the words that letters spell. Latin also has the word verbum, which means “word,” not as in the material definition: the four-letter monosyllable, w-o-r-d, but as in the formal definition, what the term means. Verbum, in its formal sense, can be translated as “idea.” When you predicate one idea or concept of another, you have a proposition, or judgment. When man reasons, he is always linking propositions in order to arrive at conclusions. That’s logic, not literature.
Literature is written composition. It is the telling of a story on paper. The story can be either fiction or non-fiction, a novel, history, or drama. Bad writing can never qualify as literature, no matter how moving the story line. Good writing can never qualify as literature if there is no story in the writing, no development of a theme, no touching of the soul, just facts. Scientific writing is not literature, but science fiction certainly can be. Historical composition is not literature, but when the author brings adventure and great events to life, as in an inspiring biography, or a saga, that certainly can be classified as literature — that is, if the writing flows in style and grace.
It is hard to define the word literature. We all know what a well written book is, or a well written article, or essay, but we often differ when it comes to explaining what exactly it is that makes a book “a good read.”
Poetry, on the other hand, is easier to define. There must be meter and rhythm in the composition, and the composition must be divided into lines, verses, and stanzas. Poems do not necessary have to have rhyming verses, but usually they do. Epic poems, on the other hand, all have meter and rhythm, but not all have rhyming verses. A poem is a painting in words. Poesis, the Greek word for poetry, means “something made.” So, in the Greek tradition, poets did not just tell a beautiful story, they built it with the symmetry and harmony of meter and rhythm.
On How to Develop a Catholic Sense Without a Catholic Culture To restore to his people a true memory Alexander Solzhenitsyn has accepted almost unspeakable sacrifice and loss, and especially the cross of patience. Solzhenitsyn has attempted to draw his people forth from an asphyxiating rubble of distortion just as he has himself been drawn forth: trusting and contending, marked and transfigured by grace, an … More →
When Hilaire Belloc was a rumbustious young man in his mid-thirties, and only a few years after he had completed his journey afoot to Rome, he wrote an essay entitled “The Idea of a Pilgrimage,” which first appeared in his memorable 1906 collection of essays Hills and the Sea. In this essay are some insights — even about “the heart of a child” — which … More →
When Hilaire Belloc was a vigorous forty years of age, and three years before his life was shaken and shattered by the death of his wife Elodie on Candlemas 1914, he wrote an intimately evocative essay, entitled “On a Great Wind.” This brief and vivid piece—characteristically combining concrete intimacy and sacred mystery in his inimitably poetic “sacramental prose”—leads us also to the contemplation of God’s … More →
His birth in time transpired thus At Bethlehem’s midnight manger Where Joseph’s work made all things well, Kept maiden spouse far from danger. He forth from blessed womb did come As light through crystal issuing, Sans blight on Virgin’s radiance, Very God yet now a suckling. His birth in souls is oft renewed Where water meets the Holy Ghost, The soul reborn is born in … More →
Phaeton his father’s fiery chariot could not guide, But reckless, hapless, frenzied, destructive, set earth aflame. He, light from light and living Fire from His Father leaping, Brightens minds, kindles wills, and glorifies God’s holy Name.
With Pope Saint Pius V’s reform of the Roman Rite in 1570, many liturgical Sequences that sprung up in sundry dioceses of western Christendom were expunged from the Roman Missal. Four were kept. They were the Victimae Paschali Laudes of Easter, the Dies Irae of All Souls Day and Requiem Masses, the Lauda Sion of Corpus Christi, and the Veni Sanctae Spiritus of Pentecost. In … More →
Pierce thou my flesh with thy fear, O my God. Take from this soul what is wild and untame. Gently lead me from the paths that I’ve trod. Place in my heart a great awe for Thy Name. I do not will to have mundane fear, or What is called servile. Unworthy of Thee Are these wicked and imperfect fears, for Chaste fear leads me … More →
To Lady Concupiscentia O Lady, you are beautiful, yet cruel, As haughty dames in courtly love songs are. You draw me by your charms and I, a fool, Race quick to you, though virtue would me bar. Icarus-like I flew into your sky, Apollo and Poseidon me to slay. Heedless of father’s wisdom did I fly, Tearing age-worn eyes, making night of day. Odysseus tied … More →
This paper was written for a Festschrift in honor of Dr. Robert Hickson. It was intended to be a loving tribute to my superior, teacher, mentor, and friend, Brother Francis Maluf, M.I.C.M. Savoring Reality: An Introduction to the Childlike Catholic Mind of Brother Francis
Icarus, Dicarus, Doc. D’Kid’s head, it was a block! He flew too high, and fell to die. Icarus, Dicarus, Doc.
[Dedicated to Rev. Michael A. Jarecki] I was there when it was time to baptize a new member, Also before Mass to help you vest when you couldn’t remember. I was there bright and early for you to absolve me of my weakness. You were always there night or day for better or worse in health or in sickness. I was there Father to watch … More →
My thoughts are now all deathly dark In this November tide. The Holy Souls, so sad and stark, My mercy do betide. They languish all in helplessness No merit them to gain. It would be horrid heartlessness To pity not their pain. Could we but hear their urgent cries, Their suff’ring glance behold, We might recall the mystic ties That to us do them hold. … More →
Review of Young Tony and the Priest: Coming to Belief in an Age of Unbelief, by Gary Potter. Loreto Publications, 2012 This, my friend Gary Potter’s first foray into fiction, is a lovely story. Lovely in that it is filled with love — the uplifting kind that the world so needs today. It is also filled with an amazing number of historical lessons for so … More →
Dedicated to the healing angel who fixed my rosary the other day. From burning empyrean sphere An angel does leap down, Descends to Bethsaida’s mere And stirs its waters round. The healing angel, Raphael It is we may be sure Who makes Probatica to swell, Men’s misery to cure. Upon its porches five they wait To watch the surface break, Like yearling sheep behind the … More →
Examining the theme of loss and the isolation of the human soul through the thinking of Chesterton, Belloc, and Baring, this paper considers some of the theological, moral, and psychological matters — both the causes and the effects — while always remaining rationally and resolutely convinced of their finally irreducible mysterious nature: mysteries of human free will and divine grace and of the purity and … More →