Monday November 15, 2004

At mosaic liturgy tonight, we sang a poem written by G.K. Chesterton in 1906.  It gave me lots to ponder and pray about, especially in light of recent world events and politics. 

O God of earth and altar,
  bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
  our people drift and die; 
the walls of gold entomb us,
  the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
  but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
   from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
   that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
   of honor and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
   deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
   the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
  smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
   aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living people, 
   a single light to thee.

I think I like the second verse best.

In other thoughts, I love getting the New York Times on Sundays.  It makes for wonderful mornings of educational recreation.  There’s always so much in it, but one thing that really struck me was this, from “Why isn’t Maggie Cheung a Hollywood Star?”  The subtitle is ‘Even in a globalized world, the American market doesn’t seem ready for an Asian leading lady’ – she starred in “Hero” if you don’t know who she is.  There’s an interesting section on why there aren’t Asian American stars, and later, this:

“The costs of Cheung’s celebrity don’t come, however, with all the perks that offset those inconveniences for Hollywood stars. Her apartment is exquisitely placed but hardly vast, and no entourage follows her from shoot to shoot; on set, no luxury trailer allows her to get in character amid down throw pillows and freshly cut flowers. No one so much as tells her she’s fabulous, she said, laughing, which is partly a cultural difference. “Words like ‘fabulous,’ ‘wonderful,’ ‘great,’ ‘absolutely gorgeous’ — they don’t exist in Cantonese. It’s good, or it’s O.K. That’s it. It’s very blunt, Cantonese. I appreciate that there are no fake words, but it’s hard to switch channels, sometimes, after I’ve spent time in France. I’m just learning to use more generous words myself — but you know, ‘gorgeous’ — I just can’t go to that extreme.””

A small light bulb clicked on when I read it, thinking about language and emotion.  I often perceive people as frivolous and exaggerated when they use extravagant descriptors for things that I think are, well, good, or O.K.  I don’t even speak Cantonese very well anymore (I was fluent as a kid), but I bet those formative years and growing up in my family have set me in my ways somewhat.  Good to know.

I bought a long-sleeve base layer so that I won’t freeze to death – this bike commuting thing has some cost to it, though I’m saving on gas!  I also got the new Eddie from Ohio cd, my favorite songs so far are “Fly”, “The Bird”, and “Walk Humbly, Son.”


One thought on “Monday November 15, 2004

  1. poshdeluxe

    i really enjoyed singing that poem last night too… thanks for posting it, cos i couldn’t remember all of the words. chesterton’s writings all seem so timeless– what a gift, what a blessing to all of us that come after him.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s