Archive for October, 2009

Jesus saith to him, He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew him that should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So when he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and sat down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me, Teacher, and, Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you. (13.10-12)

The Gospel of St John

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet, Monreale Cathedral, Sicily


n., Christianity the ceremonial washing of the feet of poor persons in commemoration of Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet

[Middle English from Old French mande from Latin : mandātum novum dō vōbīs, A new commandment give I unto you]

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chĕck māte’, interjection and noun and transitive verb

(also mate, now more usually in chess but not in figurative sense).

(Announcement to opponent of) inextricable check of king at chess, final defeat at chess or in any enterprise;

(verb) defeat, frustrate.

If I allow the fact that I am a Negro to checkmate my will to do, now, I will inevitably form the habit of being defeated.

– Paul Williams, The Temptations


[Middle English chek mat(e) from Old French eschec mat (see CHECK¹) from Arabic shah mata “The king is dead.”]


Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!

The King is dead; long live the king!


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The Georgics

The Georgics, Book One

by Publius Vergilius Maro

Ceres first arranged for mortal men to turn the earth

With iron at the time that acorns and arbutus berries

Failed in the sacred woods and holy oak groves supplied no food.

Soon, though, blight and weeds attacked the wheat – foul molds

Infected the stalks, and the useless thistle sent shock troops

Into the fields; the standing wheat dies, a rude forest of burs

And puncture vines springs up, poisonous darnel and

Sterile wild oats lord it over the once healthy furrows.


So, unless you pursue the weeds with a relentless hoe,

Scare off the birds with shouting, remove the shade from over-

Shadowed farmland with a pruning hook, and call down rain with prayers,

In vain, alas, you’ll stare at someone else’s heaps of grain

And relieve you own hunger by shaking oak trees in the woods.

Virgil’s Georgics, a New Verse Translation by Janet Lembke

© Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2005.

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The Georgics cont.

The Georgics, Book One

by Publius Vergilius Maro

Here the good and evil have changed places: so many

wars in the world, so many forms of wickedness, no honor

for the plow, farmers conscripted, the mournful fields untilled

and curved pruning hooks are beaten into unbending swords.


Here Euphrates, there Germany goes to war; neighboring

cities, flouting the laws they’ve both agreed on,  take up arms

The unholy god of war rages over the whole world…

Virgil’s Georgics, a New Verse Translation by Janet Lembke

© Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2005.

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cōĭncīde΄, intransitive verb.  Occupy same portion of space; occur at and occupy same time; agree together or with; concur in opinion etc. [from medieval Latin coincidere (used unchanged in English contexts in 17th century.), or French coincider].


cōĭn΄cīdence, noun. (Instance of) being coincident; notable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connexion.  [from the preceding word (-ENCE) or French coincidence].


“The order of divine providence demands that there should be coincidence and chance in things.”

– St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, Part I, Chap. 74

Coincidences are spiritual puns.

– G.K. Chesterton, Irish Impressions.

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Mornings on the Farm

Mornings on the Farm by Dennis Ward Stiles

My father woke at five.

My own eyes often opened
before he touched my shoulder.

Mother’s hands had learned
to fly, to place his plate—eggs
cooked flat—on the table
just as his footsteps
reached the bottom stair.

We drank water
ate fast and said little.

Cattle and hogs with needs
keen as our own
waited, eager but wary
even as we fed them.

We were killers with a handout.
They felt our hurry
and the hint of death in it.


“Mornings on the Farm” by Dennis Ward Stiles, from The Fire in Which We Burn.

© Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2009.

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brēv΄iary, noun. (Roman Catholic Church)
book containing the Divine Office for each day, to be recited by those in orders.
[from Latin breviarium summary (brevis short, -ARY¹)]

gregorian_chant wooduct

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