The first Jesuit missionaries to China were a really fascinating group and Liam Matthew Brockey’s Journey to the East provides many new insights into their mission. Whereas previous accounts tended to emphasise the Jesuit mission to the imperial court, Brockey conclusively shows that they also made a big impact in the countryside among ordinary folk too.Continue reading “The Jesuits in China”
“Some people are flower lovers. / I’m a weed lover.” So said Norman Nicholson in his poem ‘Weeds’ and I’m with him: Weeds don’t need planting in well-drained soil; They don’t ask for fertilizer or bits of rag to scare away birds. They come without invitation; And they don’t take the hint when you wantContinue reading “Long Live the Weeds”
One of the great lockdown pleasures has been digging out old (and sometimes very old) board games and playing them as a family. A new favourite is the wonderfully outdated GWR game, whose board you can see in the picture. The aim of the game, in essence, is to collect lots of stations and thenContinue reading “Adlestrop”
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G K Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse is a poem about King Alfred. Alfred the Great. But the ballad begins when Alfred is at his lowest ebb. Having been defeated by the Vikings, he wanders alone.
I wrote about nature journalling the other day, but how is that possible if you are confined to the house? The great, but horribly neglected, poet, Norman Nicholson has an answer for us because he was confined to his room in Millom after being struck down with tuberculosis. Lying there on the edge of theContinue reading “Poetry, nature and freedom”
Every Easter, I am amazed by the sheer beauty of the Exultet, the great hymn of praise that is proclaimed at the start of the Easter Vigil. What wonderful poetry it is:
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring – When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing; The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush The descending blue;Continue reading “‘Spring’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins”
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;Continue reading “‘God’s Grandeur’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins”