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Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

The view from above

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

From East Coker

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard April 19, 2019, 7:39 AM

    Recommended: “Death on a Friday Afternoon” by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. A blessed Good Friday to all.

  • Kurt Miller April 19, 2019, 7:53 AM

    On The Cross, Lord, You remembered me,
    Help me each day to remember Thee.

  • captflee April 19, 2019, 9:18 AM

    Rick; Thank you, sir, for both the recommendation and for the blessing.

    Gerard, et al; One of the great embarrassments of my life is for far too long dismissing poetry as irrelevant, surely the folly of a young man in too much of a hurry to grasp the truth and beauty contained in the better works. Gerard, you have been instrumental in correcting that, for which you have my undying gratitude. And thanks to “Tom”, my fellow Anglo-Catholic convert, on that far shore.
    Perhaps it’s just me, but this has seemed an unusually solemn Holy Week, and this Good Friday appropriately ominous in appearance, with a strong line of storms bearing down on the southeast seaboard, though probably not as ominous as one I experienced pierside in Kuwait a decade and a half ago – sandstorms, lashing wind and rain, wild lightning, hail inches deep on the bridgewings, and me searching the company ops manual for a “Biblical Plagues and Portents of The End of Days” checklist to see whether falls of blood or frogs was next on the agenda. Suffice it to say that I was among those soldiers and sailors contritely kneeling in the dust, walls of stacked 40′ boxes our Cathedral, on Easter morning, me being capable of taking a hint.
    In any event, for all those here, please accept my best wishes for a joyous Easter, whether or not you follow Christ. And for Casey, sir, I have spent much of this week in quiet contemplation, attempting the difficult quest of quieting the world so that the quiet inner voice might be discerned, mainly by that simple yet difficult measure of S-ingTFU, so please do not take my silence in response to the personal info you disclosed (is that Hooah, or Hoorah?), etc. as rudeness or indifference. We will, God willing, someday be afforded the opportunity to meet and swap lies. Make mine a Macallan…


  • captflee April 19, 2019, 10:06 AM

    For those of you of the Jewish faith, “Chag Kasher V’Sameach!”
    and for our Muslim friends, have a happy Bara’at Night!

  • Richard April 19, 2019, 11:25 AM

    Upon reflection I offer my most sincere words of gratitude to Mother Mary for saying “yes” and who perhaps did not know, that by saying “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word”, her own heart would be someday pierced.
    The hour draws near. It. Is. All. Grace.

  • Rob De Witt April 19, 2019, 1:45 PM

    It. Is. All. Grace.

    Indeed so; yesterday I turned 74. I became a Catholic eight years ago on the day John Paul II was beatified.

    Through many dangers, toils and snares
    I have already come
    ‘Twas Grace that brought me safe thus far,
    And Grace will lead me home

  • Missy April 19, 2019, 1:54 PM

    Lee, Anglican Catholic here (“me too”.) Many decades ago, as a then communicant at the National Cathedral in D.C. (before it separated itself from the “faith once delivered,”) I was on my knees every Good Friday for the three hour stations of the cross service, and marked forever as His by this.

  • Cletus Socrates April 20, 2019, 2:58 PM

    You folks leave me in tears of joy, tears nonetheless, as we move toward the Resurrection.