Thursday, March 12, 2020

Irish Blessings for St. Paddy's Day

~May your day be touched
By a bit if IRISH LUCK,
Brightened by a song in your heart,
And warmed by the smiles
Of the people you LOVE.~

~May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.~

~May good luck be with you
Wherever you go,
And your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow.~

~May your days be many and your troubles be few,
May all God's blessings descend upon you,
May peace be within you,
May your heart be strong,
May you find what you're seeking
Wherever you roam.~

~May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you're going,
And the insight to know when you're going too far.~

~May you always have walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire.~

~May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load,
May the mist of Irish magic shorten every road,
May you taste the sweetest pleasures that fortune ere bestowed,
And may all your friends remember all the favors you are owed.~

~May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.~

~Here's to a long life and a merry one,
A quick death and an easy one,
A pretty girl and an honest one,
A cold beer and another one!~


Thursday, February 20, 2020

My Life is a Desert

My Life is a Desert

My life is a desert. Big and brown and empty.
A chill wind blows sand across my heart,
       burying it forever.

Cactus needles pierce my feet and hands,
       making the blood flow red.
I place the Crown of Thorns upon my head.

Broken and bent, I ascend the Cross.
Hanging like rotten fruit from a dead tree,
I gaze across the barren landscape and cry,
"My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me?"

Dawn Pisturino
January 30, 2020
Copyright 2020 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

On the Morning of Christ's Nativity

Poem by John Milton

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
       Wherein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,
Of wedded maid, and Virgin Mother born,
       Our great redemption from above did bring;
       For so the holy sages once did sing,
              That he our deadly forfeit should release,
              And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
       And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heav'n's high council-table,
       To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
       He laid aside, and here with us to be,
              Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
              And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Say Heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
       Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
       To welcome him to this his new abode,
       Now while the heav'n, by the Sun's team untrod,
              Hath took no print of the approaching light,
              And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?

See how far upon the eastern road
       The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
       And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
       Have thou the honour first they Lord to greet,
              And join thy voice unto the angel quire,
              From out is secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.

While the Heav'n-born child,
       All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in awe to him
Had doff'd her gaudy trim,
       With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour.

Only with speeches fair
She woos the gentle air
       To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,
And on her naked shame,
Pollute with sinful blame,
       The saintly veil of maiden white to throw,
Confounded, that her maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace:
       She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphere,
His ready harbinger,
       With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing;
And waving wide her myrtle wand,
She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.

No war or battle's sound
Was heard the world around;
       The idle spear and shield were high uphung;
The hooked chariot stood
Unstain'd with hostile blood;
       The trumpet spake not to the armed throng;
And kings sate still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.

But peaceful was the night
Wherein the Prince of Light
       His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,
       Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.

the Stars with deep amaze
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,
       Bending one way their precious influence;
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,
       Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence,
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

And thought the shady gloom
Had given day her room,
       The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame
       The new-enlighten'd world no more should need:
He saw a greater Sun appear
Than his bright throne or burning axle-tree could bear.

The shepherds on the lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,
       Sate simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they than
That the mighty Pan
       Was kindly come to live with them below:
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep;

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
       As never was by mortal finger strook,
Divinely warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,
       As all their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heav'nly close.

Nature, that heard such sound
beneath the hollow round
       Of Cynthia's seat, the Airy region thrilling,
Now was almost won
To think her part was done,
       And that her reign had here its last fulfilling:
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all heav'n and earth in happier union.

At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,
       That with long beams she shame-fac'd Night array'd;
The helmed Cherubim
And sworded Seraphim
       Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd,
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With unexpressive notes to heav'n's new-born Heir.

Such music (as 'tis said)
Before was never made,
       But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great
His constellations set,
       And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the welt'ring waves their oozy channel keep.

Ring out ye crystal sphere!
Once bless our human ears
       (If ye have power to touch our senses so)
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,
       And let the bass of Heav'n's deep organ blow;
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to th'angelic symphony.

For if such holy song
Enwrap our fancy long,
       Time will run back and fetch the age of gold,
And speckl'd Vanity
Will sicken soon and die,
       And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould;
And Hell itself will pass away,
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering Day.

Yea, Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men,
       Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between,
Thron'd in celestial sheen,
       With radiant feet the tissu'd  clouds down steering;
And Heav'n, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.

But wisest Fate says no:
This must not yet be so;
       The babe lies yet in smiling infancy,
That on the bitter cross
Must redeem our loss,
       So both himself and us to glorify:
yet first to those ychain'd in sleep,
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,

With such a horrid clang
As on Mount Sinai rang
       While the red fire and smould'ring clouds outbrake:
The aged earth, aghast
With terror of that blast,
       Shall from the surface to the centre shake,
When at the world's last session,
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne.

And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,
       But now begins; for from this happy day
Th'old Dragon under ground,
In straiter limits bound,
       Not half so far casts his usurped sway,
And, wrath to see his kingdom fail,
Swings the scaly horror of his folded tail.

the Oracles are dumb;
No voice or hideous hum
       Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
       With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance or breathed spell
Inspires the pale-ey'd priest from the prophetic cell.

The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,
       A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
From haunted spring, and dale
Edg'd with poplar pale,
       The parting Genius is with sighing sent;
With flow'r-inwoven tresses torn
The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.

In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,
       The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint;
In urns and altars round,
A drear and dying sound
       Affrights the flamens at their service quaint;
And the chill marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.

Peor and Ba{:a}lim
Forsake their temples dim,
       With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine;
And mooned Ashtaroth,
Heav'n's queen and mother both,
       Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;
The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn;
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.

And sullen Moloch fled,
Hath left in shadows dread
       His burning idol all of blackest hue;
In vain with cymbals' ring
They call the grisly king,
       In dismal dance about the furnace blue.
The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Isis and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.

Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove or green,
       Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings loud;
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest,
       Naught but profoundest Hell can be his shroud:
In vain with timbrel'd anthems dark
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipp'd ark.

He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded infant's hand,
       The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside
Longer dare abide,
       Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:
Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,
Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.

So when the Sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,
       Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to th'infernal jail,
       Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave,
And the yellow-skirted fays
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-lov'd maze.

But see, the Virgin blest
Hath laid her babe to rest:
       Time is our tedious song should here have ending.
Heav'n's youngest-teemed star,
Hath fix'd her polish'd car,
       Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;
And all about the courtly stable,
Bright-harness'd Angels sit in order serviceable.

John Milton
December 25, 1629
(original spellings retained)

BIO:  John Milton (1608-1674), the Blind Poet, has been second only to William Shakespeare in greatness, critical study, and admiration.  By 1652, he was completely blind. A staunch Puritan, he supported Cromwell during the English Civil War (1642-1648). After Charles II was restored to the throne, Milton was imprisoned for his political and religious views. He is best known for his lengthy poem, Paradise Lost, which was published in 1667.



Thursday, December 19, 2019

III. The Heart in Anguish

III. The Heart in Anguish

Here in my heart
Is a tiny prayer
That the world would
Grow in kindness and love,
That the pain of a million
Voices would cease,
And laughter run wild
Over all the world.

I closed my mind and heart
Because I could not bear
To hear the tears
Or feel the pain around me.
I lived in a void
For many years,
But nothing changed.
The world remained the same,
Even when I was not.

I lived in the safe world
Of grocery stores and J.C. Penney,
Counting my money,
And learning how to spend it.
I bore my child
And adored my loving husband.
They became for me
My fixtures, my sanity,
The sum total of my life.
But life does not end
With safety and happiness,
For while you are safe,
Others are in danger.
While you are happy,
Others suffer.
And it is not right,
No, it is not right
To shut the door behind you.

A heart in anguish
Is a heart which feels
The pain of a million suffering people
And knows that death is near.
A heart in anguish
Touches the open wound,
Binds the broken limb,
Tastes the salty tears,
And does it lovingly,
Reverently, without fear.
The heart in anguish knows life
And death and suffering,
But lives ultimately, and dies happy.

Dawn Pisturino
Copyright 1985-2019 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

II. A Soul in Anguish

II. A Soul in Anguish

A soul apart from God
Is a soul in anguish,
Lost in the wilderness,
Out of touch with its own creator.
Like a child without its mother,
It cannot function on its own.
Creator and created: they are one,
Inseparable, indivisable;
And when one is lost,
All is lost.

I need my Lord, my God,
Every day of my life
To give me courage and strength;
To fight the invisible
Battle of life
And resign myself to death;
He IS Life
And he IS death:
I do not agree
With all he is or does,
But he is all, everything, there is.
I cannot argue
With his greatness
Or doubt his power and strength;
He may be wrong or right,
But he is,
And I cannot close my eyes to that.
The tall mountain rises into the sky
And I see his majesty before me;
The tiny flower in the grass,
And it is his tenderness;
Man may have proven to be
But all else, at least, is perfect,
Fits into a logical order,
And intertwines beautifully
With each other.
Man stands on the outside of the puzzle
Seeking answers, seeking answers,
And making the picture more complicated.

God is good and he is bad,
He kills his enemies and makes
Innocent people to suffer;
He draws the darkness of night
Around the big, wide world,
And causes the sunshine to fall.

And I will fight him as I love him,
And I will fight for what is right,
Unto the death,
       As he would.

Dawn Pisturino
Copyright 1985-2019 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

I. A World in Anguish

A World in Anguish

A world in anguish
Is a world at war,
Suffering the throes of poverty,
Living in fear,
Desperate for freedom
From unfeeling despots;
One man kills another
And crowds cheer for more:
A bloody holocaust screams
The victory cry.
Women weep for children
Dying in the womb,
And fathers beat
Their screaming brats in rage,
Placating the demon-gods.
The dark-faced villain
In the streets
Pushes his deadly wares
To the wayward and unsuspecting,
Supplies the knowing,
And murders the human spirit.
The Godly are intimidated
By the unholy-ungodly
And cry out in vain for vengeance.
God does not hear
Or does not want to.
"Let them fight their own battles,"
He must say; and looks down
In amusement at the skirmish of ants
Crawling in the streets.
It is not a funny sight, no,
But a sorry commentary
On the uselessness of the human species.
God Himself must weep
At the awful destruction wrought
By pitiful creatures.
It is not worth his powerful strength
To save them or his loving heart
To love them or his abounding mercy
To forgive them.
Let those who will survive, survive.
Death to the others.
The battle is just begun.

Dawn Pisturino
September 20, 1985
Copyright 1985-2019 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In a Breton Cemetery

Photo by Sir Simon Marsden

In a Breton Cemetery

They sleep well here,
These fisher-folk who passed their anxious days
In fierce Atlantic ways;
And found not there,
Beneath the long curled wave,
So quiet a grave.

And they sleep well,
These peasant-folk, who told their lives away,
From day to market-day,
As one should tell,
With patient industry,
Some sad old rosary.

And now night falls,
Me, tempest-tost, and driven from pillar to post,
A poor worn ghost,
This quiet pasture calls;
And dear dead people with pale hands
Beckon me to their lands.

Ernest Christopher Dowson


Happy Halloween!