First Things RSS Feed - Don Thackery
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Fri, 01 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0400Though ill with cancer, I am here outdoors
To walk slow steps and feel the warmth of spring.
By chance, a nearby hermit thrush outpours
His ecstasy to live, to fly, to sing,
And daffodils hurl yellow at the sky
As if they too would venerate this day.
Trees point their buds toward me to testify
That life this time is surely here to stay.
Should this ill man resent spring’s revelries
And plead that apt decorum should be due?
No, I will join the season’s rhapsodies
And find a way to make myself brand new.
My body may be one grim cancer cell,
But joyful, I will sing “my soul is well.”
Catechism on the Roadhttps://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/02/catechism-on-the-road
Fri, 01 Feb 2013 00:00:00 -0500 A frosty sunlit Sunday morning. We,
Still sleepy on our way to early Mass,
Were snapped alert”sudden anxiety”
As deer stepped from the trees intent to pass
Across in front of us and the large van
Oncoming filled with folks. Both drivers slowed,
Then stopped, and watched the deer as they began
A cautious, tiptoe taking of the road.
Two turned to gaze at us with docile eyes;
The other three observed the van instead.
Our youngest whispered, Angels in disguise!
The buck led off, dipping his antlered head.
The drivers inched abreast, and all aboard
Waved greetings. Wed been altered by the Lord.
]]>Christianity Comes to Northumbriahttps://www.firstthings.com/article/2011/01/christianity-comes-to-northumbria
Sat, 01 Jan 2011 00:00:00 -0500 According to Englands first historian, the Venerable Bede, King Edwin of seventh-century Northumbria pondered the question of whether he should adopt and extend throughout his reign the Christian faith of his new wife Aethelburg. To seek advice, he brought his thanes and advisers together for a feast and was persuaded by the last thane to speak, a poet.
O mighty King, your versifying thane
Now takes his turn to speak of that campaign
To bring the Christian faith to this fair land
”And Truth (or so were led to understand).
As we warm ourselves at this mead-hall fire
And hear the maidens sing and pluck the lyre,
I have been meditating on the flight
Of these small birds that somehow find our light.
Through yonder mead-hall door the sparrows enter
And find brief refuge from an angry winter.
Across the hall and out another door
They flit, and having gone are seen no more.
How like the life of man who comes to light
For such a little while, goes back to night,
And leaves no spoor of whence he came or why
Or where he goes when he has said goodbye.
Of settled Truth, as previous speakers said,
We now have none, but tides of chance instead,
So if this doctrine brought here by your wife
Can cut through doubt (to quote her) like a knife,
We would be prudent, Sire, as well as wise
To learn more than a man is born, then dies.
Let us then heed the words of your wifes priest,
But first, King Edwin, lets complete our feast.