Wednesday, July 17, 2024

It's Take Your Poet to Work Day

Today is Take Your Poet to Work Day at Tweetspeak Poetry, and the site has a raft of resources to help you do that. The celebration of poetry and work has been going strong, and I’ve been an enthusiastic participant from the get-go. I even wrote a small book, Poetry at Work, on finding poetry in all aspects of work. 

When I still had an office (or a cubicle), I’d pick a poet and bring him or her to work on the designated day in July. Typically, I’d bring my longstanding favorite poet, T.S. Eliot.


Ten years ago, I was preparing to give notice of my intended retirement from work, which I did in September of 2014. I officially retired in May of 2015. It was early, but it was time. Enough said.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Dancing Priest.

Photograph: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in old age.

Some Wednesday Readings


Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton – reviewed at Redeemed Reader.


The Endless Possibility of Renewal – Joel Miller at Miller’s Book Review on Willa Cather’s My Antonia


Why so few men take up the pen – Paul Burke at The Critic Magazine.


Merrie England: Hillaire Belloc in the South Country – Joseph Pearce at The Imaginative Conservative.


“Ask Me No More Where Jove Bestows,” poem by Thomas Carew – Sally Thomas at Poems Ancient and Modern.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Jay Parini Has 16 Robert Frost Poems to Memorize

I had the benefit of having a non-stop string of excellent English teachers in middle and high school. In 8th grade, Mrs. Leavell introduced us to Ernest Hemingway. Miss Roark in 9th grade help a class of 35 boys discover Great Expectations, which turned out to be a great book for 14-year-old boys. Miss Campbell in 10th grade helped us understand Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In 11th grade, when Mrs. Prince wasn’t celebrating Jacqueline Susann’s The Valley of the Dolls (which she did not have us read), she’d rhapsodize about Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. And in 12th grade, Miss Shorey guided 30 boys through the late 16th century Spain of Don Quixote

As individual as they were, all my English teachers held one writer or poet in common esteem, the one considered the “American poet,” even when we studied world or English literature. This was the poet who, along with T.S. Eliot, all my teachers had studied when they were in middle and high school as well as college.


Robert Frost.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Some Tuesday Readings


Chicago – poem by Carl Sandburg via Rabbit Rom Poetry.


Bend – poem by Jim Peterson at Good Life Review.


The Uncomfortable Art of Enjoying Poetry – Melissa Woodruff at Bandersnatch Books.


Poetry Prompt: Sink or Swim – L.L. Barkat at Tweetspeak Poetry. 

Cultivate – poem by Bethany Lee at Every Day Poems.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Some Monday Readings


10 Things Right Now – Samuel James at Digital Liturgies. 

‘I Was Four Feet Away When I Heard the Bullets’ – Salena Zito at The Free Press.


The Slow-Motion Assassination – Matt Taibbi at Racket News.


Things Worth Remembering: How to Respond to an Almost-Assassination – Douglas Murray at Three Free.


The School of Civic Leadership Looks to Protect the American Experiment – Mike Sabo at Real Clear Politics.


The National Archives Needs Your Help in Transcribing Revolutionary War Records – Blake Stilwell at 


How Culture Got Stupid – Kat Rosenfeld at The Free Press.


History’s Footnotes – Matthew Wills at JSTOR Daily.


Three Thoughts on the NYT Top 100 – Lincoln Michel at Counter Craft.


Graffiti at the Tower of London – Spitalfields Life.

Photograph: The White Tower at the Tower of London.

Sunday, July 14, 2024

The support team

After Ephesians 4:11-16

We’re not thrown

onto barren ground,

left to fend for ourselves,

no more than a newborn

is placed outside the door

and wished good luck.

Instead, there’s a team,

a support team, people

raised up for the purpose

of raising us to the unity

of faith. There they are:

apostles, prophets, shepherds,

evangelists, teachers, each one

inspired to pour knowledge,

maturity, fullness into you.

They nurture the newborn,

turning children into adults.


Photograph by Tobias Mrzyk via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Sunday Readings


The Wild of God in Waterloo Township, Michigan – Steven Knepper at Front Porch Republic.


How to Stay Married – poem by Jody Collins at Poetry & Made Things.


Watching the Sun Go Down – poem by David Whyte.


Christ as King – Robb Brunansky at The Cripplegate.


We can’t think or live Christianly – T.M. Suffield at Nuakh. 

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Saturday Good Reads - July 13, 2024

One of the first presidents of my alma mater LSU was none other that William Tecumseh Sherman, he of “March Through Georgia” fame during the Civil War. He was only president for a short time, resigning to accept a command in the U.S. Army. After the Civil War, no name was more notorious in the defeated South than Sherman’s. I’ve wondered if he ever visited LSU (then at Pineville, La.). As it turns out, he did, at least twice.  

Brett McCracken at Family Movie Night has a list of 10 “non-cringe” faith-based movies. I see a list like that, and I have to see which ones I’ve seen. The answer is: seven. (And the list doesn’t include Chariots of Fire or The Sound of Freedom.)


Adman Khan at The Walrus has a fascinating story about the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Well, it’s less about Vermeer and more about the scientist who’s been on a quest to unlock the true colors Vermeer painted with


More Good Reads


Life and Culture


We’ve been accidentally cooling the planet – and it’s about to stop – Shannon Osaka at The Washington Post (via Yahoo News). 


The Strange Case of Yoursisbillie – Brent Lucia at Farm from Equilibrium. 


Israel and Anti-Semitism


We Misunderstood the Nazis – Matti Friedman at The Free Press.


Columbia removes three deans from power for ‘very troubling’ antisemitic text messages – Matt Egan at CNN.


British Stuff


Lockdowns and the problem with science-based policy – Max Lacour at The Critic Magazine.


In Itchy Park with Jack London – Spitalfields Life.


Lady Godiva: did she or didn’t she? – Annie Whitehead at Casting Light upon the Shadow.


‘It’s complete surrender’—Olympics hero Eric Liddell and the true story behind Chariots of Fire – Greg McKevitt at BBC.


Writing and Literature


The Final Prayer of Jim Barry – Max Livatino at Front Porch Republic.




Poetry Doesn’t Need a Room of One’s Own – Nadya Williams at Church Life Journal.


Bureaucratic brick wall –Franco Amati at Garbage Notes.


Valediction –Paul Wittenberger at Paul’s Substack.




Cognitive Decline and Common Faults – Tim Challies.


Faith’s Review and Expectation: A Look at the Original ‘Amazing Grace’ – Clayton Hutchins at Mere Orthodoxy.


What’s the Earliest Record of Jesus’s Childhood? – Michael Kruger at The Gospel Coalition.


Art and Sculpture


Why Are Most Ancient Roman Statues Headless? – Alexander Gale at Greek Reporter.


Moth – Sonja Benskin Mesher.


Shenandoah – Peter Hollens (a capella)

Illustration: Liseuse, woodcut (1905) by Lucien Pissarro (1863-1944).

Friday, July 12, 2024

A blessing

After Hebrews 13:20-21

The story doesn’t end;

it continues onward

and forever. It’s but

a pause, this blessing,

this blessing that 

the One of peace, 

the One who raised

His Son from death,

this Son who is

the shepherd, keeping

faith, fulfilling

the promise, that One

will provide you,

equip you with

every good thing,

so that we will share

that blessing,

to His glory forever.


The judge has become 

the savior.


Photograph by Guillaume de Germain via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Friday Readings


Welcoming Angels – poem by Pat Schneider at Kingdom Poets (D.S. Martin).


The Census Taker in a Church Pew, Part 6 – Mark Botts at Front Porch Republic.


Just Decide to Walk: Learning from Kierkegaard – FYI with Chris Martin.

Outrunning the Rain – Seth Lewis.


Elijah asks, “What have I done to you?” – poem by Anna Friedrich at Rabbit Room Poetry.


A sonnet for St. Benedict – Malcolm Guite.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

"Murder in the Cottage" by Roy Lewis

A murder in Prague seems a long way from Morpeth, England, and the work of Arnold Landon in the county Department of Antiquities & Museums, but that's how his latest mystery starts. He’s still managing to deal effectively with his controversy-averse director and Karen Stannard, his immediate supervisor who tries to circumvent Arnold and take credit for his work at every opportunity. 

He’s sent to “be a presence” in a new project involving Saxon tomb excavations at the site of a major housing and hotel development. And with characteristic ease, controversy about the project begins to swirl; what looked perfectly fine on the surface may be anything but underneath. And a new professor at the local university is stirring things up, confronting people at project meetings (after she shows up uninvited) and then making barely veiled accusations on a television program. 


The professor also seems to be his boss’s new interest in life; the two women are seen everywhere together. Stannard lets her personal feelings prompt a report on the project, which is promptly mentioned on television by the new professor.


Roy Lewis

The new professor will soon find herself the dead professor, and the list of possible suspects is legion. It includes Landon’s boss.


Murder in the Cottage is the 12th Arnold Landon mystery novel by British author Roy Lewis. It’s a bit different from its predecessors; there’s not as much emphasis on medieval masonry, wood construction, and archaeology as there is in the earlier stories. But it’s still a cracking good story, with a murder victim that seems just as nasty a person as the killer turns out to be.


Lewis (1933-2019) was the author of some 60 other mysteries, novels, and short story collections. His Inspector Crow series includes A Lover Too ManyMurder in the MineThe Woods MurderError of Judgment, and Murder for Money, among others. The Eric Ward series, of which The Sedleigh Hall Murder is the first (and originally published as A Certain Blindness in 1981), includes 17 novels. Lewis lived in northern England. 




Murder Under the Bridge by Roy Lewis.


Murder in the Tower by Roy Lewis


Murder in the Church by Roy Lewis.


Murder in the Barn by Roy Lewis.


Murder in the Manor by Roy Lewis.


Murder in the Farmhouse by Roy Lewis.


Murder in the Stableyard by Roy Lewis.


Murder in the House by Roy Lewis.


Murder by the Quay by Roy Lewis.


Error in Judgment by Roy Lewis


Murder at the Folly by Roy Lewis.


Murder in the Field by Roy Lewis.

Some Thursday Readings


Murders for July – Jeremy Black at The Critic Magazine.


The Black Spectacles: John Dickson Carr’s Most Unusual Crime Novel – Martin Edwards at CrimeReads. 


Fact vs. Fiction: Real Crime Stories Make Good Novels – Laura Essay at CrimeReads. 


Poet Laura: Chocolate Elemental – Michelle Rinaldi Ortega at Tweetspeak Poetry.


Challenging Experts: A Lone Journalist Confronts John Steinbeck – Joel Miller at Miller’s Book Review.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

"Remembering the Journey," A Brookhaven Short Story

When he looked back on that time, he could see the first days were the easiest, if also the most frightening. And more dangerous days were to follow. 

Like hundreds and thousands of others, he walked home from the war, home from defeat and surrender. Glory was long gone, erased in places with names like The Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Petersburg, and Appomattox.


The road he took began in Virginia. It ended more than 900 miles later in Mississippi, and home. The camaraderie he’d experienced with others walking home disappeared three days into the journey, when he discovered he’d been left behind. Alone, he walked the often-deserted roads, asking the occasional fellow traveler the direction and the next town.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Dancing Priest.

Photograph by Lukasz Szmigiel via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Wednesday Readings


Shrouded Veterans: Father and Son United in Death – Frank Jastrzembski at Emerging Civil War.


Unyielding Faith: First Crusade’s Starving Army and the Jerusalem Miracle – Jason Clark at This is the Day.


Why French Jews Believed the Political Right Could Save Them – and France – Peter Savodnik at The Free Press. 


Accidentally Raising Readers – Melissa Woodruff at Story Warren.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz – The 17th Century Poet (and Nun)

Reading about the life of Sor (Sister) Juana Inés de la Cruz (ca. 1650-1695) brings to mind the old, old adage of “the irresistible force meets the immoveable object.” The immoveable object was the culture of 17th century Baroque society of New Spain (Mexico). The irresistible force was a young woman’s love of learning and her writing. Something would eventually have to give, and, eventually, something did. 

A new translation of 23 of her poems, The Liquid Pour in which my Heart has Run, has been published by Rhina Espaillat, herself a poet. It’s a small but representative sample of Juana Inés’s poetry

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Some Tuesday Readings


Poetry Club: Notebook It – Tweetspeak Poetry.


Four notes only – poem by Megan Willome at The Clayjar Review.


“The Weary Blues,” poem by Langston Hughes – Joseph Bottum at Poems Ancient and Modern.


A Conversation with Angela Alaimo O’Donnell – Ben Palpant at Rabbit Room Poetry.


The Voice of This Calling: The Enduring Legacy of T.S. Eliot – Clint Brand at The Imaginative Conservative. 

Monday, July 8, 2024

"Death, Adjourned" by Simon Michael

Times have changed rather dramatically for barrister Charles Holborne. The Kray twins, London’s premier gangsters of the 1960s, are behind bars, and better still, they were tricked into giving up the hold they had over Charles. He’s proposed to Sally, his girlfriend, and the wedding appears to be sooner rather than later. He’s even thinking about becoming Queen’s Counsel, or “taking silk,” as the British call it. Not bad for a Jewish boy who grew up rough and tumble in the East End. 

A wealthy building developer and his son are accused of forcibly removing tenants in the path of a new housing development project. One tenant, in fact, was itched though a second-floor window, bundled up in the back of truck, and taken away. A local thug has admitted to participating under the direction of the developer’s son. And the developer calls upon Charles to defend them both.


The case is more complicated than it looks. The developer is a survivor of Auschwitz, as is his wife. The son is borderline autistic (although this is earlier than autism becoming an official diagnosis). A crooked policeman is involved. And neither of Charles’s clients are telling him the complete truth, as if they’re protecting someone else. Did they really do what they’re accused of? Or are they being framed?


Simon Michael

Death, Adjourned
 is the 9th Charles Holborne legal suspense novel by British author Simon Michael, and it’s a welcome addition to the series as well as something of a departure. For once, the specter of the Kray twins doesn’t overhang the story. There’s a hint they may play a role in the future, but for now, the murderous Krays are safely behind bars, their criminal empire being divided up and fought over.


Michael studied law at Kings College, London University and was called to the Bar in 1978. He worked primarily in the field of criminal law until the late 1990s, when he focused his practice on clinical negligence. He began writing in the 1980s and resumed it when he retired from legal practice.


Death, Adjourned is a riveting story. Michael knows exactly how to build suspense to fever pitch and throw in significant courtroom drama along the way. And here’s hoping for No. 10!




My review of The Brief by Simon Michael.


My review of An Honest Man by Simon Michael


My review of The Lighterman by Simon Michael.


My review of Corrupted by Simon Michael.


My review of The Waxwork Corpse by Simon Michael.


My review of Force of Evil by Simon Michel.


My review of The Final Shot by Simon Michael.


My review of Nothing But the Truth by Simon Michael. 


Some Monday Readings


E.O. Hoppe’s Londoners – Spitalfields Life.


481 – artwork by Sonja Benskin Mesher. 


An Enduring Song: Remembering A Canticle for Leibowitz – Bethel McGrew at Miller’s Book Review.


This Fiction Business: Revisiting the wisdom of the king of the pulps – Frank Theodat at Ink & Grit: Masters of Pulp Fiction. 


Winners and Losers – Brian Miller at A South Roane Agrarian.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Outside the gate

After Hebrews 13:1-19

As the bodies of the animals

were bound outside the camp,

so, too, was his body sacrificed

outside the gate. So, we go 

outside the gate, go to him,

and we bear the reproach

he bore, the reproach 

he endured. We are with him,

outside the gate;

we are with him,

outside the city.

No city lasts except

the eternal city.

All will pass

into dust, except

the eternal city.


Photograph by Nikola Knezevic via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Sunday Readings


Thank God for ‘Doubting’ Thomas – poem by Malcolm Guite.


‘Discipleship’ is Life – T.M. Suffield at Nuakh. 


Rest – poem by David Whyte.


Snow – poem by Louis MacNeice at Rabbit Room Poetry.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Saturday Good Reads - July 6, 2024

My wife recently reread The Chronicles of Narnia, and she was once again enthralled with the stories. (When I read the stories to my son who is now somewhat middle=aged, his favorite character was Reepicheep.) Karis Anne at Story Warren explains why you should read The Chronicles of Narnia yet again

In 2017, we visited the Sir John Soane Museum, near Lincoln Inn Fields in London. Once a rather large townhouse, it is now crammed (literally) with every kind of painting, sculpture, pottery, knickknacks, and everything else that might be described as miscellaneous. Julius Bryant at The Art Newspaper takes a look at the man who was Sir John Soane.


Samuel James at Digital Liturgies has a delightful post about his thoughts on being a Christian writer, thoughts he describes as completely unsolicited, totally anecdotal, but perhaps marginally thoughtful. His Rule #1, which should actually be Rule #1 for all writers, is don’t expect to make a living solely on your writing. 


More Good Reads


Life and Culture


Haunting new discovery made under floorboards at Auschwitz concentration camp – Ronny Reyes at New York Post.


How Misinformation Becomes ‘Common Knowledge’ – Timur Kuran at The Free Press.


Mind the Gap – Joe Nocera at The Free Press.




The Brutal Syllogism of This War is a Deathtrap for Israel and The End of the Gentlemen’s Agreement – Michael Oren at Clarity with Michael Oren.


Writing and Literature


The Unimaginable Penitent: The Myth of American Innocence in Cormac McCarthy’s late work – D. Marcel DeCoste at Church Life Journal.


A Sketchy Parable of Our Divisive Era – Joel Miller at Miller’s Book Review on Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck.




Christ as Priest – Robb Brunansky at The Cripplegate.


Letter #89: Matter Matters – Andrew Klavan at The New Jerusalem.


Leaning In To Difference: Zoomers and the Future of the Church – Stephen McAlpine.


British Stuff


British Museum’s historic Reading Room opens to the public after 11 years – Catherine Hickley at The Art Newspaper. 


When Ethics and Values Became Mere Words at the Post Office – Neville Hobson.




A Crystal Wine Glass – James Matthew Wilson at Meliora.


“The Alarmed Skipper” by James Thomas Fields – Joseph Bottum at Poems Ancient and Modern.


Once Upon a Poet: An Interview with Laurie Klein – T.S. Poetry.


American Stuff


Remembering Family History: A Mess, a Murderer, and a Matriarch – Tyler Justin Smothers at Front Porch Republic.


Loch Lomond – Only Boys Aloud

 Painting: Scholar in His Study, Oil on canvas (1650s) by Jacob van Loo (1614-1670).

Friday, July 5, 2024

The pleasing sacrifice

After Hebrews 13:1-19

You want to make 

a sacrifice that’s pleasing?

Well, then, love your brother. 

Be hospitable to strangers.

Remember the prisoner

and the mistreated.

Honor marriage. Avoid

the love of money. Remember

those who lead you. And

obey them. Stick to the true.

Do good. Share what you

have. And pray, always.

That’s all you need to do.

No problem, right?


Photograph by Eliott Reyna via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Friday Readings


Daffodils – poem by George Mackay Brown at Kingsdom Poets (D.S. Martin). 


Letter #88: Why So Secular – Spencer Klavan at The New Jerusalem.


“Vanitas, Vanitatum,” poem by William Makepeace Thackery – Joseph Bottum at Poems Ancient and Modern.


Pruning – poem by Seth Lewis.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Independence Day - July 4, 2024

The Declaration of Independence
 – National Archives. 

Notes before Independence Day 2024 – Kathleen at The Course of Our Seasons.


Town Born! Turn Out! – New England’s Precedent of Independence – John Wilson at The Imaginative Conservative. 


Celebrating Freedom – Martha Orlando at Meditations of My Heart.


The Landlord’s Tale: Paul Revere’s Ride – poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Freedom isn't free. Never forget - Bill Grandi at Living in the Shadow.


The New Colossus – poem by Emma Lazarus. 

The True Meaning of Freedom & How to Defend It - Dr. Art Lindsey at the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics.


I Hear America Singing – poem by Walt Whitman.

Thirteen Clocks Striking Together: The Forging of American Independence - Alison LaCroix at The Imaginative Conservative. 

Happy Fourth! – Brian Miller at A South Roane Agrarian on the Battle of King’s Mountain.


The Beautiful Send-Off: Jefferson and Adams’ Legendary Final 4th – Jason Clark at This is the Day.


“Old Ironsides,” poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. – Joseph Bottum at Poems Ancient and Modern.


Last Days of a Revolutionary – Hillsdale College.


Your Constitutional Right to Be a Pirate – A.J. Jacobs at The Free Press. 


Battle Hymn of the Republic – poem by Brian Yapko at Society of Classical Poets.


A Republic – If God Keeps It – David Mathis at Desiring God.


We Became American Because We Could – Jake Meador at Mere Orthodoxy.


Meet the American Who Wrote ‘America the Beautiful’ – Kerry Byrne at Fox News.


Explore the American Revolutionary War – 


Great Balls of Fire – Asher Gelzer-Govatos at Front Porch Republic.

The Star Spangled Banner - Sandi Patti and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (1986)

Painting: The signing of the Declaration of Independence, oil on canvas (1817)  by John Turnbull (1756-1843).