Christmas Night

On that night,

The shaman looked out at the endless grass,

To frosty stars; wondering in heart, he said:

“The spirits are still and silent tonight,

For good and not for hurt.”

 

On that night,

A maid in red and gold and henna decked

Leapt up in joy as music sounded near,

Her sister calling with a trembling voice:

“At last, your bridegroom comes!”

 

On that night,

The teenage shepherdess, in fragrant fields

Of mountain pastures, caught a labouring ewe,

And she delivered into warm soft hay,

A single, spotless lamb.

 

In that dawn,

The watchman of an Oriental town,

A town beleaguered beyond help or hope,

Cried out in joy at the far distant sight,

“Our King is come to save!”

 

Cherry Foster

 

Angus Dei, wikipedia commons photo credit Victoria Edwards, copyright to attribution
Angus Dei. Source: Wikipedia Commons; Photo Credit: Victoria Edwards.

An Annoying Irony

Person-who-does-at-least-have-the-decency-to-be-frank-rather-than-clandistinely-spiteful:

“You told me you couldn’t do X, but you just did Y.  I can’t see how that makes sense.  People who can’t do X didn’t ought to be able to do Y either.  I’m not going to adjust for you or assist you any more, because it’s obvious you’re just a horrible person pretending to have a problem.”

Person-with-unconventional-physical-limitations (a.k.a. a disability):

“So, instead of rejoicing that my difficulties are less than you thought they were, and that you didn’t have to make the adjustments you seem so much to resent on that occasion, you accuse me of pretending because my physical limitations differ from your assumptions about how they ought to work?

“Let’s look at this logically, if rather over-simplistically.  It isn’t possible for someone to do what they aren’t able to do.  It is possible for someone to not do what they are able to do.  The only way in which I can make my condition look as if it fits incorrect assumptions of how it ought to be is to not do things which are perfectly possible.

“Therefore, what you are saying constitutes a social requirement to malinger.  If I do not pretend, I will be accused of pretending!”

 

Cherry Foster

Do Norfolk Owls have Fishy Habits?

 

Barn owl, wikimedia commons Peter K Burian copyright to attribution
Barn Owl. Source: Wikimedia Commons; Photo Credit: Peter K. Burian

This morning, when I was cycling to church with the first red streaks of dawn just emerging over the horizon, there was a splash to my right.  Then a bird flew over the road close in front of me, carrying what looked like a fish under its body in its talons, held with its streamlining facing forwards, in much the way ospreys tend to*. 

It was undoubtedly an owl.

Barn owls, in this area, do often hunt along the watercourses by day, a curious pattern, which I’ve tended to put down to the presence of rodents on the banks.  And I cannot be certain either of the species of owl (I see more barn owls, but hear more tawny owls) or that I was not mistaken in supposing its prey to be a fish.  However, I recognised – and was surprised by – the fish, before I looked at the bird, and there is a river in the locality: it is perfectly possible, particularly given the splash.

I am intrigued.  Has anyone else noticed or found evidence of similar behaviour in British owls?

Cherry Foster

 

*In David Attenborough’s “Life of Birds” a fishing osprey is featured in the second episode, “The Mastery of Flight,” carrying a fish in just that way apparently to reduce drag.

Daughter of Zion

A poem for Advent

Daughter of Zion, rejoice!

Behold thy Bridegroom come,

Bourne on the ass’s colt,

Bourne in thy maiden’s womb.

          He comes, the wisdom from above,

          He comes, who orders all in love.

Daughter of Zion, rejoice!

He comes thy siege to lift.

No more to mourn or grieve,

He comes who is God’s gift.

        He who to Moses from the flame

        Spake, comes now to redeem thy fame.

Daughter of Zion, rejoice!

Shake off the clinging dust,

Cast away idol forms,

Place in Him all your trust,

          The root of Jesse, silent now,

          Before Him speechless kings shall bow.

Daughter of Zion, rejoice!

Thy widowhood is o’er,

Restored thou art to Him,

Who is for evermore.

          Unto the lock put out thy hand,

          The key is turned that naught withstands.

Daughter of Zion, rejoice!

From grief and dark arise,

Thy labour pains are o’er,

Shake sleep off from thine eyes.

          The Light arises on thy death,

          The dry bones waken with His breath.

Daughter of Zion, rejoice!

Thy nakedness is gone,

Thy time for love is near,

Clothed with the stars and sun,

        The King is come of thy desire

        Who shall save thee by blood and fire.

Daughter of Zion, rejoice!

Laugh at thy raging foes,

Trample with hooves of brass,

Break them with many blows.

          Emmanuel, thy God, is near,

          Thy hope, thy love, the end of fear.

                           ***

Daughter of Zion, rejoice,

He that seeks truth is come,

In whom all pardoned are,

Thy dear, most glorious Son.

          ‘O Virgin, how can all this be?’

          ‘It is Love’s utmost mystery.’

 

Cherry Foster