Sunday, March 23, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Daffodils by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a boy:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company;
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

An Antique Easter Card

Good Friday 2008

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

The hymn is based on a long medieval Latin poem, Salve mundi salutare, with stanzas addressing the various parts of Christ's body hanging on the Cross. The last part of the poem, from which the hymn is taken, is addressed to Christ's head, and begins "Salve caput cruentatum." The poem is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), but it first appears in the 14th century.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Saint Patrick's Day from All of Us!

Carting Turf from the Moss by Thomas Wade

WADE, Thomas (1829-1891)

Red Haired Mary

As I was going to the fair in Dingle
One fine morning last July,
On the road I saw before me
A red-haired maiden passing by.
"Come ride with me, my red-haired maiden.
My donkey can carry two."
She looked at me, her eyes a-twinkling
And her cheeks a rosy hue.

Keep your hands off red-haired Mary
Her and I will soon be wed
We'll see the priest this very morning
Tonight we'll lie in a marriage bed.

When we reached the town of Dingle
I took her hand to say good-bye
A tinker, he walked up beside me
And punched me hard in my left eye.
I was feeling kind of peevish
And my left eye was sad and sore
I tapped him gently with my hobnail,
And he flew back to Murphy's door


He ran off to find his brothers
Larger men I ne'er did see
They rapped me gently with their knuckles
And I was minus two front teeth
And then a peeler* came round the corner
He said, "Son you done broke the law."
When my donkey kicked him in the kneecaps
He fell down and broke his jaw.


The red-haired maiden just stood there smiling
"I'll come with you, young man," she said.
"We'll skip the priest this very morning,
Tonight we'll lie in Murphy's shed!"


* "Peeler", a term for British "town militia" stationed
in Ireland in the early 1900's.

DELANY'S DONKEY by William Hargreaves

Now Delaney had a donkey that everyone admired,
Tempo'rily lazy and permanently tired
A leg at ev'ry corner balancing his head,
and a tail to let you know which end he wanted to be fed
Riley slyly said ""We've underrated it,
why not train it?" Then he took a rag
They rubbed it, scrubbed it, they oiled and embrocated it,
got it to the post and when the starter dropped his flag

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it, shushing it
Hogan, Logan and ev'ryone in town
lined up attacking it and shoving it and smacking it
They might as well have tried to push the Town Hall down
The donkey was eyeing them, openly defying them
Winking, blinking and twisting out of place
Riley reversing it, ev'rybody cursing it
The day Delaney's donkey ran the halfmile race

The muscles of the mighty never known to flinch,
they couldn't budge the donkey a quarter of an inch
Delaney lay exhausted, hanging round its throat
with a grip just like a Scotchman on a five pound note
Starter, Carter, he lined up with the rest of 'em.
When it saw them, it was willing then
It raced up, braced up, ready for the best of 'em.
They started off to cheer it but it changed its mind again

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it and shushing it
Hogan, Logan and Mary Ann Macgraw,
she started poking it, grabbing it and choking it
It kicked her in the bustle and it laughed ""Hee - Haw!""
The whigs, the conservatives, radical superlatives
Libr'rals and tories, they hurried to the place
Stood there in unity, helping the community
The day Delaney's donkey ran the halfmile race

The crowd began to cheer it. Then Rafferty, the judge
he came to assist them, but still it wouldn't budge
The jockey who was riding, little John MacGee,
was so thoroughly disgusted that he went to have his tea
Hagan, Fagan was students of psychology,
swore they'd shift it with some dynamite
They bought it, brought it, then without apology
the donkey gave a sneeze and blew the darn stuff out of sight

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it and shushing it
Hogan, Logan and all the bally crew,
P'lice, and auxil'ary, the Garrison Artillery
The Second Enniskillen's and the Life Guards too
They seized it and harried it, they picked it up and carried it
Cheered it, steered it to the winning place
Then the Bookies drew aside, they all commited suicide
Well, the day Delaney's donkey won the halfmile race"

Turf Donkey Postcard from Erin

Down any Irish Boreen,
A coming Colleen you may meet,
Coming from the brown bog,
With her donkey and load of peat.

-Eva Brennan

A message for the believer and the non believer.

Palm Sunday Commemorates the Triumphful Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

Palm Sunday is the sixth Sunday in Lent and the Sunday before Easter. It is celebrated in all major Christian churches - Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox. In popular parlance it is called Palm Sunday because it commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The Gospels describe how the crowds lined the route, spread palm branches on the road and waved palm leaves in their hands enthusiastically as Jesus rode in on his donkey. Hence, the name Palm Sunday.  I wish you all a joyous Palm Sunday in 2008

Painting by Edgar Hunt

Friday, March 14, 2008

Irish Donkeys in time for St. Patrick's Day

You can find working donkeys, mostly in the West of Ireland but not like in the old days when roads were very poor and so were many of the people. Donkeys make the perfect work mates as they walk at about the same pace as people and tend to be able to do more work for their size than any other beast of burden except mules. Donkeys are thrifty and don't need the high protein a horse or pony requires. They are patient and long suffering to boot. The Donkey was the lawn tractor/wheel barrow in old Ireland. There are still some today being used to haul fuel for the home fires but very few.

Turf was the fuel that donkeys hauled and is also known as peat. It is partially decomposed vegetable matter. It is related to coal but soft.  Farmers devote about a week each spring to cut enough turf to last a winter. For many centuries donkeys were used help harvest turf. The donkeys were fitted with large strong baskets called creels to carry the fuel home from the peat bogs. Sometimes a donkey put to a cart was used for larger 
loads where the going was good enough for wheels.
(See the video clip below)

Men have been cutting (digging) peat from the boglands of Ireland for more than 2000 years. It is cut with a specially designed spade that allows it to be cut almost like bricks of cheese. Turf goes through a lot of different stages before it can be used as a fuel.  First it's cut, then spread, and then it is "footed". Footed means that it is stood on end, and then it is "about footed" or turned around.  It is then stacked when dry, then it is "dregged" (carried out of the wet bog) and taken back to the cutter's residence where it is "stacked" and "thatched" .  That means it is  piled and covered to keep the rain off. Farmers who cut their own turf must spend about a week each spring to harvest enough peat to last a winter.

A book of interest especially to young readers would be The Turf-Cutter's Donkey by Patricia Lynch  SBN: 0340039884

Palm Sunday is almost here.

As soon as the Church obtained her freedom in the fourth century, the faithful in Jerusalem re-enacted the solemn entry of Christ into their city on the Sunday before Easter, holding a procession in which they carried branches and sang the "Hosanna" (Matthew 21, 1-11). In the early Latin Church, people attending Mass on this Sunday would hold aloft twigs of olives, which were not, however, blessed in those days.

The rite of the solemn blessing of "palms" seems to have originated in the Frankish kingdom. The earliest mention of these ceremonies is found in the Sacramentary of the Abbey of Bobbio in northern Italy (at the beginning of the eighth century). The rite was soon accepted in Rome and incorporated into the liturgy. A Mass was celebrated in some church outside the walls of Rome, and there the palms were blessed. Then a solemn procession moved into the city to the basilica of the Lateran or to St. Peter's, where the pope sang a second Mass. The first Mass, however, was soon discontinued, and in its place only the ceremony of blessing was performed.

Everywhere in medieval times, following the Roman custom, a procession composed of the clergy and laity carrying palms moved from a chapel or shrine outside the town, where the palms were blessed, to the cathedral or main church. Our Lord was represented in the procession, either by the Blessed Sacrament or by a crucifix, adorned with flowers, carried by the celebrant of the Mass. Later, in the Middle Ages, a quaint custom arose of drawing a wooden statue of Christ sitting on a donkey (the whole image on wheels) in the center of the procession. These statues (Palm Donkey; Palmesel) are still seen in museums of many European cities.

As the procession approached the city gate, a boys’ choir stationed high above the doorway of the church would greet the Lord with the Latin song Gloria, laus et honor. This hymn, which is still used today in the liturgy of Palm Sunday, was written by the Benedictine Theodulph, Bishop of Orléans (821):
Glory, praise and honor,O Christ, our Savior-King,To thee in glad HosannasInspired children sing.
After this song, there followed a dramatic salutation before the Blessed Sacrament or the image of Christ. Both clergy and laity knelt and bowed in prayer, arising to spread cloths and carpets on the ground, throwing flowers and branches in the path of the procession. The bells of the churches pealed, and the crowds sang the "Hosanna" as the colorful procession entered the cathedral for the solemn Mass.

In medieval times this dramatic celebration was restricted more and more to a procession around the church. The crucifix in the churchyard was festively decorated with flowers. There the procession came to a halt. While the clergy sang the hymns and antiphons, the congregation dispersed among the tombs, each family kneeling at the grave of relatives. The celebrant sprinkled holy water over the graveyard, the procession formed again and entered the church. In France and England the custom of decorating graves and visiting the cemeteries on Palm Sunday is still retained.

Today the blessing of palms and the procession are usually performed within the churches. The new liturgical arrangements made by Pope Pius XII have restored the original solemnity of the procession, and the members of the congregation now take active part again in the sacred ceremonies of Palm Sunday. The blessing of palms, however, is now very short and simple compared to the former elaborate ritual.

NAMES — The various names for the Sunday before Easter come from the plants used — palms (Palm Sunday) or branches in general (Branch Sunday, Domingo de Ramos, Dimanche des Rameaux). In most countries of Europe real palms are unobtainable, so in their place people use many other plants: olive branches (in Italy), box, yew, spruce, willows, and pussy willows. In fact, some plants have come to be called "palms" because of this usage, such as the yew in Ireland and the willow in England (palm willow) and in Germany (Palmkätzchen). From the use of willow branches Palm Sunday was called "Willow Sunday" in parts of England and Poland, and in Lithuania Verbu Sekmndienis (Willow Twig Sunday). The Greek Church uses the names "Sunday of the Palm-carrying" and "Hosanna Sunday."

Centuries ago it was customary to bless not only branches but also various flowers of the season (the flowers are still mentioned in the first antiphon of the procession). Hence the name "Flower Sunday," which the day bore in many countries — "Flowering Sunday" or "Blossom Sunday" in England, Blumensonntag in Germany, Pâsques Fleuris in France, Pascua Florida in Spain, Virágvasárnap in Hungary, Cvetna among the Slavic nations, Zaghkasart in Armenia.

The term Pascua Florida, which in Spain originally meant just Palm Sunday, was later also applied to the whole festive season of Easter Week. Thus the State of Florida received its name when, on March 27, 1513 (Easter Sunday), Ponce de Leon first sighted the land and named it in honor of the great feast.

THE PASSION — In the new liturgical order of Holy Week, Palm Sunday bears the official title "Second Sunday of the Passion, or Palm Sunday." Thus the Church enhances the significance of this Sunday as a memorial of Christ's sufferings, which are commemorated by the reading of the Passion. The word Passion in this connection means those passages of the Gospels which report the events of Christ's suffering and death. The Passions of all four Gospels are read or chanted in all Catholic churches during the liturgical services on certain days of Holy Week, and observed in varying degrees in many Protestant churches. On Palm Sunday, the Passion of Saint Matthew (26, 36 — 27, 54) is solemnly sung during Mass, in place of the usual Gospel.

The ancient liturgical rules prescribe that three clergymen of deacon's rank, vested in alb and stole, chant the sacred text. They are to alternate in contrasting voices. One (tenor) represents the Evangelist narrator; the second (high tenor) chants the voices of individuals and crowds; the third (bass) sings only the words of Christ.

The melodies prescribed for the liturgical chanting of the Passion are among the most impressive examples of Gregorian chant, and for many centuries remained the only Passion music, until the non-liturgical works on the Passion were written.

THE PALMS — In central Europe, large clusters of plants, interwoven with flowers and adorned with ribbons, are fastened to the top of a wooden stick. All sizes of such palm bouquets may be seen, from the small children's bush to rods of ten feet and more. The regular "palm," however, consists in most European countries of pussy willows bearing their catkin blossoms. In the Latin countries and in the United States, palm leaves are often shaped and woven into little crosses and other symbolic designs. This custom was originated by a suggestion in the ceremonial book for bishops that "little crosses of palm" be attached to the boughs wherever true palms are not available in sufficient quantity.

In the spirit of this blessing, the faithful reverently keep the palms in their homes throughout the year, usually attached to a crucifix or holy picture, or fastened on the wall. In South America they put the large palm bouquets behind the door. In Italy people offer blessed palms as a token of reconciliation and peace to those with whom they have quarreled or lived on unfriendly terms. The Ukrainians and Poles strike each other gently with the pussy-willow palms on Palm Sunday; this custom, called Boze Rany (God's Wounds) they interpret as an imitation of the scourging of our Lord.

In Austria, Bavaria, and in the Slavic countries, farmers, accompanied by their families, walk through their fields and buildings on the afternoon of Palm Sunday. Praying and singing their ancient hymns, they place a sprig of blessed palms in each lot of pasture or plowland, in every barn and stable, to avert the punishment of weather tragedies or diseases, and to draw God's blessing on the year's harvest and all their possessions.

Activity Source: Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs by Francis X. Weiser, S.J., Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1958

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Top Democrat makes an ass of himself

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who rose to power as a fierce enforcer of ethics in public life, was undone by revelations of his own involvement with prostitutes. What a story. I have to say I never was an admirer of Gov. Spitzer. He always struck me as an incredibly arrogant person and I have said many times he talked like a seedy accident lawyer. I am so sorry for his family but have to admit I am just a little bit relieved Patterson will be taking his place. A blind, Black man will be a refreshing change in that office and is bound to bring a new approach to the state house. Spitzer made many enemies in his short tenure as governor of NY. Allot of people in his own party have turned on him in his 14 months in office. Just because the mad dog approach works prosecuting crime does not necessarily mean it works in governing a state. He called himself the steamroller and it seems the steamroller is now going to have to be sold as scrap metal.

My feelings are he was failing as a governor and we are lucky to have gotten rid of him so easily. It's a great time for some uplifting Bach. It's time for the Easter Oratorio and Magnificat!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cuddy, Moke, or Neddy?

The donkey was also known as a "Moke" by Welsh Gypsies, a "Cuddy" by the Scots, and a "Neddy" by English.  

Collecting Cockles with Donkeys in Wales

Penclawdd in Wales is famous for its local cockle industry which goes back for many years to Roman times. These cockles are collected from the extensive sandy flats in the Burry Estuary and the cockles harvested there are sold worldwide. Samples of these famous cockles can be purchased at the stalls in Swansea Market and locally in the village itself. Up until 1970s the cockles were gathered by women using hand-rakes and riddles (coarse sieves) with the help of donkeys often under very hard conditions. Now the shellfish are harvested mostly by men, still by hand but using tractors or Land Rovers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Turkish Proverb

"He that cannot beat the ass, beats the saddle”- Turkish Proverb

Welsh Saying

"If a donkey brays in the morning,
Let the haymakers take a warning;
If the donkey brays late at night,
Let the haymakers take delight."

-Welsh Folksaying

The legend of how the donkey got it's cross.

The Sunday before Easter, known as Palm Sunday. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Passover. Great crowds of people lined the streets waving palm branches to welcome Him. The people were very excited and they spread branches on the road.  Some even laid down their robes. They shouted 'Hosanna!'  Jesus rode into the city on the back of an colt ass,  a young donkey. He did this to fulfill the scriptures. The legend has been handed down that the donkey before this time was a solid color but after Christ died on the cross on Good Friday all donkey's recieved the mark of the cross on their back as a reminder of the service of that donkey to our Lord on Palm Sunday.

Matthew 21.1-11 NEB

Jesus and his disciples were nearing Jerusalem; and when they reached Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of them with these instructions: 'Go into the village opposite, where you will at once find a donkey tethered with her foal beside her; untie them, and bring them to me. If anyone speaks to you, say, "Our Master needs them"; and he will let you take them at once.' This was to fulfil the prophecy, which says, 'Tell the daughter of Zion, "Here is your king, who comes to you in gentleness, riding on an ass, riding on the foal of a beast of burden."'

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed, and brought the donkey and her foal; they laid their cloaks on them and Jesus mounted. Crowds of people carpeted the road with their cloaks, and some cut branches from the trees to spread in his path. Then the crowd that went ahead and the others that came behind raised the shout: 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the heavens!'

When he entered Jerusalem the whole city went wild with excitement. 'Who is this?' people asked, and the crowd replied, 'This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.'

The Stones Cried Out


The Stones Cried Out

I heard the stones cry out today
While rushing in the street
To do the Easter shopping
Of eggs and buns and meat.

Faint was the sound there in the road,
Quite still, I had to stand.
Through noisy cars and bustleing crowds
I heard the stones’demand.

T’was then I saw the traffic stop.
The drivers hurl abuse,
For though they wished to rush on
They found it was no use.

Picking through the traffic came,
A donkey, young and keen;
Wanting to please his rider,
It made the strangest scene.

I grabbed a branch from off a tree
And rushed out in the street;
I could not let the stones alone
Praise the Prince of Peace!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An Early Easter in 2008

Old Scots

First comes Candlemass,
Syne the new mune;
The neist Tyseday aifter that
Is aye Fester Een.
That mune oot
An the neist mune fou,
The neist mune aifter that
Is aye Pasch true.

The EnglishTranslation is

First comes 2 February
And after that the new moon,
The First Tuesday after that
Is Shrove Tuesday.
That moon passes,
And the next full moon,
On the first Sunday after that
Is Easter by rights.

Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify pass over, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives. Only the most elderly of us have ever seen it this early, only those who are 95 years old or older. No one under 95 has ever, or will ever, see Easter a day earlier than this year.

The next time Easter will be this early, March 23, will be the year 2228, 220 years from now. The last time it was this early was 1913 , so if you're 95 or older you are the only ones living that celebrated Pasch any earlier in the year.

About Me

My photo
I grew up in Chautauqua County, NY. I graduated from Edinboro University of Pennyslvania in 1981 with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalworking. I have been married 31 years. I currently run a small business with my husband. We both enjoy the outdoors and animals a great deal and live on a tiny farm in Western, NY.