Twilight / Dawn

Thus turns the world to sleep
Like the thoughts, revolving
Behind my eyelids
                  I see you, there
And I shut them so much the tighter
For I hear a thousand voices
Intone so bright a chord
I know I could never quite dance
Suitably, to such a song.
Thus I clench my fists around
Every word
           and they fall,
Broken, to circumstance
And to some future skyline,
Forgotten like a picture book.
How could I ever dream of days
Filled with anything but despair
And false wells to drown in
Except...  You.
                 All,
                 except for You.
You are
        a singularity,
                      a ray: simplicity
Ebullient and towering and glorious
And altogether baffling
For countless are the days
I've spent, floundering in puddles
Of my own design, silencing
The whispered corners of my mind.
Still,
       even now
You do not forsake me
And still,
           the words I claim are rubble
They all will fade to retrospect
As dust, beside You.
                     Heard softly,
Your words are all that I shall ever need.

Not the prettiest type in the world, but until I find a better way to preserve the structure, it’ll suffice.  🙂

Ooh, I need a song to leave y’all with, don’t I…  So here’s a song about the Transfiguration.  Because, why not have a song about the Transfiguration?  So there you go.  And it’s pretty.

Good old Sufjan never lets us down…

I hope that wherever you may be this evening, dear reader, that you are feeling the peace and joy of Christ that thaws every winter into spring.  (Maybe it won’t for a little longer if you’re up north.  But He will.  Just you wait.  😉

Peace to you, now and always.  Stay classy.

WP Review: 7 Best Tracks of 2015

2015 was a year of grand triumphs for some, and of bitter defeat for others.  Hip-hop saw the release of an incredibly acclaimed album, and the pop scene soared with the triumphant return of Adele.  At the same time, indie veterans like Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie released LP’s to disappointment from fans and critics alike.

But all is not lost, as a new cast of characters appears to be emerging from the wings.  Some have fully embraced the 21st century’s gradual shift toward a more intense, electronic sound.  Others have rebelled into a sort of folk revival, painting lush and intricate scenes with the sparest of instrumentation.  Either way, the face of music may look very different in a few years as these artists continue to grow and the stars of the 2000’s slowly wave goodbye.

We’re now halfway into this decade, and while some decry the music of this modern era, 2015 was home to a handful of standout tracks.  Here are some of the ones I most enjoyed, in the hopes that you will enjoy them too.

Continue reading “WP Review: 7 Best Tracks of 2015”

In Review: March & April

Catching up on these…

Books

All the Light We Cannot Seeexcellence-lit
Anthony Doerr | Scribner (2014)
A+

In All the Light We Cannot See, Doerr weaves an intricate narrative of a young girl and boy, one in France, the other in Germany at the dawn of World War II.  The depth of his characters and the way in which the two finally meet is chronicled in a spectacular series of events that never feels contrived and in which every sentence happens for a reason.  Doerr’s poetical prose and knack for detail result in a polished novel whose only flaw is a slightly unsatisfying (though, in its defense, inevitable) conclusion.

One of the best novels I’ve read in a while.  4.5 stars out of 5.
stars45

 

The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
Ronald Rolheiser | Doubleday (1999)
A+

If there’s a reason this book didn’t get this month’s Kitten of Excellence, it’s because it’s not merely another book I enjoyed.  It’s a book I press into your hands, saying, “Read this.  You won’t regret it.”  It’s not so much recommended reading as required reading for any follower of Christ.  Within its pages, Rolheiser outlines how a truly Christian spirituality should channel our inner energy and restlessness in this bustling 21st century.  And he does so in a series of ten near-perfect chapters of unassuming but pertinent insight that introduce the reader to this “search”, while pointing the way to the answers.

Just read it.  You’ll be glad you did.  5 stars out of 5.
stars5

Music

Carrie and Lowellexcellence-music
Sufjan Stevens | Asthmatic Kitty (2015)
A

From the opening notes of Carrie and Lowell, one can tell it will be an enjoyable listen.  Stevens’ songwriting is deeply artistic, never using eccentricity as an excuse for effort, and on his latest album, deeply intimate.  It’s a record full of sadness, candidly addressing the subject of his mother’s death in 2012.  But it never feels as though Stevens is wallowing in depression or seeking the listener’s pity.  He has succeeded in the supreme act of living: of taking one’s suffering and making it into something beautiful.

The result is his best release to date.  4.5 stars out of 5.

 

Kintsugi
Death Cab for Cutie | Atlantic (2015)
B+

Kintsugi is good.  Unfortunately, that’s about all that can be said to its credit.  Though it easily surpasses most of what you’ll find on the radio these days, Kintsugi lacks the genius of earlier releases, and falls few yards short of Codes and Keys in terms of stepping outside their comfort zone.  However, it is the sound of Death Cab doing what they do best, delivering a well-paced and polished record that nicely showcases Ben Gibbard’s skillful lyrics, even if it might not attract hoards of new fans.

Worth the price of dinner.  3.5 stars out of 5.
stars35

 

Funeralexcellence-music
Arcade Fire | Merge (2004)
A(+)?

Arcade Fire is without doubt the darling of contemporary music critics, but their reputation as exceptional artists is not without founding.  Nor is Funeral‘s reputation as a modern classic undeserved.  From the first notes of “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”, to the soaring chorus of “Wake Up”, all the way to the masterpiece that is “In the Backseat”, it’s a timely record of growing up that is only the more impressive for being the band’s debut album.  It’s doesn’t always speak to the listener, and is a bit of an acquired taste, but there is nothing like turning up the volume on this puppy and driving around the city.  Which, I’ve never done, but I imagine it would be awesome.

A definite must-listen.  4.5 stars out of 5.
stars45

 

Presents, Coincidences, and a Silly Poem

Last month I joked about postponing my birthday to March because the polar vortex caused everything else to have been.

So now it’s March.  Winter has… at least tentatively… gone away, the sun is shining, and I guess it must be my birthday again.  We finally got to enjoy my brother’s culinary expertise and knock the second performance of our choir’s Valentines’ Day show out of the ballpark.  (Despite it being a month since being on stage, everyone did wonderfully.  *breathes sigh of relief*)

But the coincidences don’t end there.  Right around a month ago, Death Cab released the second single from their upcoming album.  Almost like a birthday present.  😀  And now the entire album is streaming at NPR’s First Listen series until it’s officially released next Tuesday.  Check it out here.  (Highlights: “No Room in Frame”, aka Pleasantly Upbeat Track, “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” aka FINALLY They Are Rocking and Rolling, “Good Help (Is So Hard to Find)” aka All of a Sudden It’s the 80’s Again.)

Oh, and same thing for Sufjan Stevens’ new album.  *happy-dances faster*  I’ve only listened to the first track so far, but it seems pretty promising.

Finally, I leave you with my love and prayers for every good thing for you all, and a silly haiku I scribbled in my Chemistry notebook the other day.

Sliced Bread

Ingenuity!
Ready for sandwiches!  They
Need eat cake no more.

That’s all, folks.  God bless you.  🙂  Sweet dreams…

I had a lot of different ideas for blog posts today.

I forgot them all.

So here is a haiku, with accompanying quote.

Flying
So simple it seems,
Yet impossible.
Could it be that hard?

“‘The Guide says there is an art to flying’, said Ford, ‘or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.’”

-Douglas Adams (Life, the Universe, and Everything)

I hope you all are doing splendidly this Sunday evening!  Daylight Saving Time is back to get us…  😦  Oh well; life goes on.

Well, here’s something neat: last week I traveled to the far-away city of Richmond for my diocese’s annual youth conference.  That, my dear readers, was amazing.  There is no way to describe how deep and inspiring it was.  Nor how fun.  😀  Being around that much joy and enthusiasm and love for God and so many other Catholic youth like myself… ’tis an experience like no other.  Probably the best one-sentence description of it we’ve come up with is “a reverent party”.  That about sums it up.

I may whip up a post/video about it, if I find the time.  Until then, here’s the recap video made by the official videography folks for the event.  (They must have stayed up crazy late making this because they showed it on Sunday morning and we didn’t get back to our rooms ’til after 11 on Saturday night.  Hats off to them.  Also, I know it’s probably more exciting if you were actually there, but here it is anyway.)

Look, it’s the bishop!  And Mike the seminarian!  And A Person Who Used to Go to My Church Until They Moved Upstate!  And Father Dan Who Always Carries The Monstrance During Adoration!  (My goodness, Adoration was so beautiful.  Wish it had been longer though.)

That’s all… 🙂  Be doing wonderfully, y’all.  And stay awesome.  I leave you with a song we end up singing every year at DYC (though… I think we sing it with more enthusiasm…), and something from my latest musical obsession.

The Lord bless you and keep you.