To See the Summer Sky is Poetry

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie—
True Poems flee
~ Emily Dickinson ~

Now that I have finished my series on You Are Gods, I am going to take a break from blogging for the rest of the summer. I will continue to publish citations from Church Fathers and theologians, as the Spirit moves me, and will publish guest articles and reviews as they come in.

I intend to focus my reading energies on fiction. Last week, for example, I started reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Simon Armitage translation). I stopped after completing the first section, not because I didn’t enjoy it but because I did. I simply realized that the poem is best heard, not read, so I downloaded it from Audible and plan on starting over.

My summer reading list also includes Tolkien’s The Silmarillion (time to return to the First and Second Ages in the history of Arda); David Hart’s Kenogaia; one or two George MacDonald novels, starting with Donal Grant; and Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry, which I read back in the 80s. And if I should actually succeed in reading all of the above (doubtful), I shall return to Earthsea and rejoin Ged and Ogion in their battles against evil and darkness. Maybe I’m ready to meet a dragon or two. I would like to learn the true names of things:

My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.

Knowing myself, I expect I will pick up a theological title at some point during the summer months; but I really do want to experience that insanity and transcension, to quote Ursula LeGuin, that only a good story can bestow:

While we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren’t there, we hear their voices, we watch the battle of Borodino with them, we may even become Napoleon. Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.

I bid you a glorious, moon-stricken, phantasmical, lunatical summer.

P.S. I almost forgot. Stay tuned for news about my book. The articles have been selected, revised, and edited by Jess Lederman, who through his mighty efforts has made this project possible (thank you, Jess!). The table of contents has been arranged. I do need to come up with new titles for many of the articles. I have also tentatively chosen the icon that will grace the cover. We do need to raise funds to make publication possible (more on that in the days ahead). I have even come up with a possible title: Destined for Joy: The Gospel of Universal Salvation. What do you think? Does it work? I can guarantee that the book will sell for under $200. What a bargain! 😎

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7 Responses to To See the Summer Sky is Poetry

  1. JBG says:

    Happy reading and have a wonderful summer!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob says:

    I re-read The Silmarillion last year, for the first time in something like 30 years. It was even better than I remembered: lush, deep, mysterious, epic, wistful, and resonant in all kinds of ways. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Milton Finch says:

    What about “An Unallowed Yet Theologically Powerful Book” along the line of George MacDonald’s “Unspoken Sermons”? You have a wonderful time off. God’s peace!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You might someday check out Tolkien’s modernization of The Gawain Poet’s two great poems. And you might find the other one – Pearl – theologically interesting, as well as moving in other ways. My next Slant post is on the Pearl/Gawain poet, whom I also happen to be re-reading now, and on JRRT’s modernization (plus one other poem of Tolkien’s – his incomplete Fall of Arthur). I’ll send it your way if you’re interested. I think JRRT had a better feeling for Middle English verse, particularly the “Alliterative Revival,” than anyone else who has modernized the Gawain poet, and it may partly be because he felt himself to be connected in some mysterious way with the region of England where the Gawain poet evidently lived. I certainly agree that that poetry should be heard… in Middle English, preferably. I wish I could recommend a way to do that, but I don’t know a recording off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s something though in the age of YouTube.

    Enjoy your reading! I hope you’ll share here some of your thoughts about what you read. I always enjoy your take on literary works.


  5. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    And please note that I have broken out my Panama for the summer months. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • It has been noted. I used to have a hat much like that one and in fact I wore it at my wedding (not during the ceremony itself of course), which was outdoors. But it succumbed to age and much use. I am in bad need of a new straw hat and I believe I now need one with a larger brim. Do you have any recommendations?


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