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                              A LITTLE BOOK OF PRAYERS AND PRAISES

                              TO THE GOD OF LIFE

                              (after the celtic)




                              A PRAYER FOR A MODERN MAN -

                                     THAT HE MIGHT RETURN UNTO LIFE

                              A SONG BY OLD JOHNNY CRICKET

                              A VOW AND DECLARATION



                              BLESSINGS IN THE LONG NIGHT

                                       OF THE CHIEF SHEPARD



                              CONCERNING WOMEN BEARING THE LOAD OF IT



                              HOW BEAUTIFUL IT WOULD BE



                              I'LL BE A WRITEN JUST FOR THE JOY OF IT

                                     JOHNNY CRICKET

                              IT IS RIGHT THAT I COME TO MY KNEES

                                 NIGHT AND DAY




                              ON THE LONG NIGHT



                              PRAYING A BLESSING UPON ME



                              WHO STANDS BY MY BED?

                              WE MUST DESIRE BLESSINGS... AND TO BLESS

                              WHY SHOULD WE ENVY THE DEAD?


                              Last Poem:

                              CONCERNING WOMEN BEARING THE LOAD OF IT




                              THE POEMS:


                              WHO STANDS BY MY BED?


                              Who stands by my bed

                              when I lie down to sleep?

                              The golden haired angel--

                              the joy of her Lord.

                              Who lies in my bed all through the night?

                              The fair Bride and her sister--

                              dark haired and wayward.

                              Who smiles as they peek up into my dreams?

                              The beautiful lady holding her lambkin.

                              Who bids me arise to embrace the day?

                              The Lord of sparrows, the God of thunder.






                              A VOW AND DECLARATION


                              I am the flaming Lord's child:

                              I swear it by the bridles

                              of all spirited horses;

                              I swear it by the breasts

                              of all gentle women.









                              WE MUST DESIRE BLESSINGS... AND TO BLESS


                              How else shall the two worlds

                              draw close, one to the other,

                              except through the ruminations of our hearts

                              and the blessings of our lips

                              and the deeds of our bodies

                              in mercies and in graces.

                              We must desire blessings...

                              and to bless.

                              To bless the cow in the field

                              in its nibbling and munching;

                              to bless the bird in the tree

                              in its flitting and singing;

                              to bless the bear in the woods

                              in its rummaging and grunting;

                              to bless the horse in the meadow

                              in its cantering and grazing;

                              to bless the mole in the earth

                              in its digging and listening.

                              We must bless the green plants

                              in their growing and seeding;

                              mother trees upon mountains

                              in their spreading and shaking;

                              clouds of the sky

                              in their drifting and sifting;

                              winds in their mischievous freedoms...

                              The sun we must bless in its strong constancy;

                              the moon in its shadows and glimmering;

                              and the uncountable stars in their

                              sheer glistening.

                              And we must bless ourselves

                              and our neighbors and all whom we love:

                              woman for their soft strength

                              in nurturing and folding;

                              men in their labors and harsh loving,

                              in warring, and thrusting;

                              nuzzling and lusting.

                              And the children, oh children

                              in their sweet dance

                              and weeping,

                              their exploring and nestling.

                              And we must bless all those

                              who offend us:

                              bless them in their harshness to become kind;

                              bless them in their cruelty to be forgiving;

                              bless them in their rage to heal the wounds;

                              bless them in their ill temper and injustice--

                              blessed to see the beauty,

                              blessed to be saved from our petty dislike.


                              How else shall the two worlds

                              draw close, one to the other,

                              except through the ruminations of our hearts

                              and the blessings of our lips

                              and the deeds of our bodies

                              in mercies and graces.

                              By the glad Lady and her Son,

                              it is we ourselves

                              who must desire blessings

                              and to bless

                              in rare mercies and sweet graces.








                              BLESSINGS IN THE LONG NIGHT

                              OF THE CHIEF SHEPARD


                              In the long night

                              when the Shepherd was gone,

                              when the Chief Shepherd

                              went to make ready His feast,

                              shackles and bridles,

                              hobbles and halters

                              where thrown upon

                              all the King's horses

                              and lambies and cows.

                              His horses no longer gambled,

                              while lambies ceased their nibblings,

                              and His cows gave a pittance

                              of their honied cream:

                              My heart's sails folded

                              within a bad dream.

                              Sing a song to animals

                              who've been roughshod

                              in cramped fields 

                              where so many items

                              now clutter the ground

                              that grass grows scantly 'round

                              and weeds flourish shamelessly.

                              In that long night

                              when the shepherd was gone,

                              only in a hallowed place

                              was He to be found:

                              where the frankincense burnt

                              upon a white stone,

                              where words held sweet waters

                              and the candled light glowed.

                              And sometimes, in singing prayers,

                              that King of the radiant sun came near,

                              the King of the changing moon drew near,

                              the King of shimmering stars was here,

                              and whistled and whispered in an old cow's ear.

                              The honied milk flowed,

                              the grass grew--

                              my heart sipped

                              and billowed.








                              A PRAYER FOR A MODERN MAN -

                              THAT HE MIGHT RETURN UNTO LIFE


                              God of rain drops,

                              God of light,

                              God of dog barks

                              and chicken's scratching,

                              God of lambie's nibblings

                              and cow's lowing,

                              bring me back

                              from errant ways

                              unto the bosom of your silence,

                              unto the quiet of your love:

                              unto singing and loosing;

                              unto nurturing and rousting;

                              unto weeping and laughing;

                              unto sweetening the miseries,

                              and dowsing the mysteries

                              while lifting the charms;

                              unto breaking the bridles

                              and burning the litter,

                              unto the candle's shining

                              on round sacred bread,

                              unto songs and supplications,

                              unto the brown smoke's driftings,

                              unto veils lifting,

                              unto the sun's peerings,

                              and the arching wings,

                              unto golden boxes,

                              and blooming branches,

                              unto visions and wonders,

                              in the name of the High King

                              and the Bride of wild virtues.







                              WHY SHOULD WE ENVY THE DEAD?


                              We who are with God

                              must never be ashamed

                              or in despair

                              for we are held in the hand

                              of the King of the sun

                              and stars,

                              green fields

                              and desert stones,

                              the fire in our stoves

                              and water in our pots,

                              the High Lord of pain

                              and quizzical pleasures,

                              of the axe to the tree

                              and gentle breasts,

                              of weeping and dancing.

                              We are held by the Feast-Master!

                              Why should we envy

                              the dead?

                              Why should we envy

                              errant souls?

                              Why should we envy

                              the dead?






                              PRAYING A BLESSING UPON ME


                              Oh great God, Holy one

                              in community,

                              Father, High King, Holy Mothering,

                              bless with good progress

                              my life's journey to thee,

                              that I might hear

                              the "Well done,"

                              from your own fat and fluid lips,

                              that I might feel

                              your hands of bestowing

                              on my bowed head,

                              and your thumb might lift my chin

                              until I gaze into your

                              infinite  blessings.






                    HOW BEAUTIFUL IT WOULD BE


                    How beautiful it would be

                    for fathers to lay their hands

                    upon their innocent children

                    and bestow the blessings of the God of Life,

                    to speak the poetry of Christ,

                    to sing the wild music of Spirit.

                    How beautiful it would be

                    for fathers to open the little children

                    to that loving presence

                    the dying come at last to know.

                    How beautiful it would be

                    for mothers to croon hymns of love

                    into the ears of innocent children

                    morning and evening,

                    and to teach them how to bless

                    themselves in the ceaseless blessings

                    of the God of Life:

                    in the poetry of Christ,

                    in the wild music of Spirit,

                    when they arise to greet the new day,

                    when they dress themselves

                    in the grace of clothes,

                    when they eat the gifts of earth and sea,

                    when they perform the family duties,

                    when they play and dream...

                    that they would always

                    --as a matter of their hearts--

                    thank the great God of Love

                    for the joy of life.

                    How beautiful it would be for families

                    to sing love into their dwellings,

                    and rub it through their hands into all possessions

                    in the ceaseless blessings

                    of the God of Life,

                    in the poetry of Christ,

                    in the wild music of Spirit:

                    to bless the walls and the sheltering roof,

                    to bless a solid floor on which to dance,

                    and all the doors

                    that only good could come and go,

                    and the every window

                    which lets the light of day,

                    the dark of night to pass,

                    and the fixings and furniture,

                    toys and tools, table and bed,

                    and banish the eye of the devil

                    and close the ears of the banshees,

                    and forbid the pernicious demons,

                    that prayers might keep

                    the family warm with Holy presence

                    celebrating the God of Life:

                    in the poetry of Christ,

                    in the wild music of Spirit,

                    flourishing like tree sprouts

                    in the spirit of a family free.





                              IT IS RIGHT THAT I COME TO MY KNEES

                              NIGHT AND DAY


                              God who created me

                              in the beginning,

                              it is right that I come to my knees

                              night and day

                              before your loving presence

                              to honor you,

                              to love you,

                              to invoke the blood of Christ upon me,

                              the spattering of his blood

                              on the garments of my soul:

                              on the loins of my flesh,

                              on the belly of rivers,

                              on the heart of fire,

                              on the lungs of wind,

                              on the eyes of spirit,

                              on the mind of meditations,

                              on the hands of labors,

                              and the feet of running.

                              God who created me

                              in the beginning,

                              keep me close

                              and bless my possessions

                              into life and goodness,

                              and bless with love

                              all my domain

                              until I am born anew

                              into your glory,

                              until I come at last,

                              loving you,

                              into your high beauty.






                        ON THE LONG NIGHT


                         On the long night,

                         the deep night,

                         the innocent night

                         when salvation came down a seeking,

                         a young maid fell down

                         to let the high king

                         slide from her loins.

                         She bore a wet lamb...

                         And the earth was shining!

                         Oh, ah, roe, tee doe la roo..

                         And the stars were singing...

                         Oh, ah, roe, tee doe la roo..

                         On the long night,

                         the deep night,

                         the innocent night

                         when salvation came down a seeking.





                    A SONG BY OLD JOHNNY CRICKET


                    And old Johnny Cricket,

                    by the time he was hobbled

                    in the agen of his bones,

                    had long found the color and taste

                    of his mother tongue,

                    and so carried it

                    in the slow furnace of his brain

                    that a new music was forged,

                    and the old constancy of song

                    comen through stars

                               and holy winds

                    found words in him

                    and made themselves

                    the better known for it,

                    and he

                    a better man.




                    I'LL BE A WRITEN JUST FOR THE JOY OF IT,

                    JOHNNY CRICKET


                    I'll be a writen

                    just for the joy of it,

                    Johnny Cricket.

                    To feel the music of the meaning

                    and the holy dance

                    of young words,

                    like my own little childer

                    in me heart,

                    in me heart...

                    "Ah now, me brother,

                    be a comen with me afor the fire,"

                    says old Johnny Cricket.

                    "We'll be putting our nosies near the lipid coals

                    to feel its fierce and friendly heat

                    on this cold night.

                    On this cold night

                    ye can tell me there,

                    --with light in yer eyes now--

                    if ye know

                    the secrets of love

                    and odors of grace

                    that pours out sweet

                    ter shake ye soul and bone.

                    And I'll tell ye how I've known

                    the love of good women

                    wi' the kiss of death and doom,

                    an' a long journey through the night

                    under an ol' dim moon.






                    "She came in with her eyes laid low,

                    and with what old Father Duffy calls

                    a white shadow on her.

                    I squinted me eyes and saw clear enough,

                    her face showd some great weight of grief and longing:

                    but gave it half a thought

                    and went on with me working,

                    cleaning dirt from the hoof of ol' Paddy, me horse.

                    She watched me for a wee moment, and sighed,

                    then laid her limbs into the hay.

                    I'd been hard put to the morning's chores

                    and my body was full of work's stuff.

                    How could a laboren man feel her quietness

                    except in a distant way?

                    But I could see her sadness plain enough.

                    'Sad and lowly for the dead dreams of the people,'

                    she said, 'Were lying heavy on the work fields

                    and smothering the hearth fires of the little childer's

                    and their mothers.'

                    She had always been a queer one.

                    Spenden too much time as a wee lass

                    walken wi' monks and nuns.

                    Her eyes were different from the others,

                    and that from the first I saw of her.

                    Ah! I should have known she'd be dishen up

                    a soreness to the heart if a man should let her.

                    'I've been a roven,' said she,

                    'Out amidst the open fields.'

                    'Well enough,' said I, 'While I've been sloppen hog

                    and worken horses.' She paid me no mind,

                    as if I hadn't uttered a blessed word.

                    'And I've been passen

                    under the broad benediction of ol' trees,' she said,

                    'To taste the little resurrections of the flowers.'

                    Can you imagine words such as that from the lips

                    of a Christian woman?

                    I'm taken it as a matter of faith

                    in the name of the blessed Virgin

                    that she was a Christian woman,

                    for she did set a good plate

                    and kept house most regular

                    and did her other duties without complaining,

                    and showed no regular signs of sorrows

                    --except in those eyes.


                    It was a mix of the blessing of the oaks

                    and the weepies of the willows

                    which she carried in her eyes that day I'll tell ye

                    --but I, as I was saying afor,

                    was too full of work's stuff to pay her any mind.

                    So I mumbled a few words in passen, for she wasn't

                    listenen to me anyhow, (St. Paddy knows),

                    and took me horses out to the north pasture

                    while she spread her hair out on the straw

                    to spend her day--can you imagine-- 

                    dreaming and praying alone...

                    That was the last I saw of her.

                    The boys at the pub says,

                    'It's a good riddance to trouble

                    if those were her ways.'

                    But I can't help but thinking

                    that I miss somethen

                    about her.







                              MAY THE STRONG SUN BE BLESSED


                              May the strong sun be blessed

                              in the name of all holiness,

                              and may the great God of Life

                              bless my heart with the intent of love

                              towards all who receive

                              His light today.

                              And may the gentle shine of the moon

                              and singing stars be blessed

                              in my eyes and in my heart:

                              in the name of the strong Father,

                              Maker of that Holy Bride herself,

                              who is like His city of peace;

                              and in the name of the gentle Bridegroom,

                              High King, more lovely than sun or moon;

                              and in the name of that free, singing Spirit.

                              The perfect Three.







May the 4 mighty angels:

Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael,

stand around this little house,

amongst the chickens and the geese,

amongst cackling and clucking,

with waders and scratchers,

and hover over our heads and hearts

with goodness and glory,

with starry eyes and openings,

to light the lamp of the mind's eye,

to pour the water of life on bare ground,

here, on these stones, next to this sea.

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