Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mortal Bread

United with parishes across the country we have a Christmas Bazaar shortly after Thanksgiving.
At our parish we have an elderly lady who makes the best Portuguese bread you ever put in your mouth.

I purchase every loaf she makes and have for years.

This year she had hurt her shoulder and could not knead the dough properly so she would not put out an inferior product. I was devastated in a fit of selfish gluttony. I and my bride user in our Advent with this lovely lady’s warm bread covered with an unhealthy amount of butter.

This past Sunday, after Mass, she waved me over to her car. She handed me 3 loafs of her bread. She asked for no money, she just touched my arm and wished me a Merry Christmas.
My heart soared. I had no idea she knew I was the one who bought her bread (I keep forgetting that there are no secrets in small towns).

By Monday evening the bread was reduced to a few crumbs at the bottom of the bread drawer.

Life is Good.

Ballade of Happy Men

We know no science and we do not find

(With thanks for the present, be it said)

Ten volumes of The Monist or of Mind

The kind of books to take with us to bed.

Unreadable Haeckel is by us unread,

Yet do not wholly pity us or spurn;

We have a secret; our souls are fed,

We shall be ready when the gods return.

Go on O wise and leave your wits behind;

Madness and space are both unlimited.

You shall bind all. But us you shall not bind

Who toiling in the mire for mortal bread

Saw a strange line along the mountain head;

Something fantastical about the fern.

We shall remember, till all leaves are shed,

We shall be ready when the gods return.

Against us all the axes that you find

Are heavy and yet weak like swords of lead;

You shall bind all, but us he shall not bind

Who saw the lily where the last saint bled,

Who toiling in the mire for mortal bread

Found the last fairy sitting on a fern;

G.K. Chesterton

This poem and “The Ballade of Amateur Mystics” are variations of each other.

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