The light behind the curtain

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 02/24/2018

The Transfiguration” ranks among the Scottish poet Edwin Muir’s better known poems. As its title  suggests, the poem relates to Christ’s Transfiguration as narrated in the Gospels. Mark for one, writes that Jesus took Peter, James and…

The long, hot summer

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 02/17/2018

Ash Wednesday arrived one day after the storm. The skies had cleared but still bore traces of the turbulence of the previous days, which, while without gale-force winds, unleashed an endless pour of rain, causing floods and…

How to kiss a leprous hand

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 02/10/2018

Did the classical painters shun the subject of leprosy? As far as I know, not one of the famous artists, including those who favored biblical themes, had a go at it, notwithstanding that, among Jesus’ miracles, the…

In praise of mothers-in-law

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 02/03/2018

The 19th-century French painter James Tissot was a contemporary of Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet. But, instead of adopting their impressionism, he stuck to his realistic method. He painted fashionable women, as well as people and scenes…

The power of helplessness

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 01/13/2018

John Ruskin considered Raphael’s Ansidei Madonna “one of the most perfect pictures of the world.” Raphael was in his early twenties when he did the painting, which Niccolò Ansidei had commissioned for a family chapel in honor…

Leonardo’s unfinished painting

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 01/07/2018

In March 1481, the Augustinian monks of San Donato a Scopelo in Florence commissioned Leonardo da Vinci, then 29 years old, to make a painting for their altar. Leonardo began working on the “Adoration of the Magi”,…

A poem for the New Year

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 12/30/2017

Another year, and so it starts again, This back and forth of customary time. Even the rains (must be a storm again, But still too far to make landfall again). How do we mark beginnings with all…

The burning babe

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 12/23/2017

In 1595, while imprisoned in the Tower of London to await his execution, the Jesuit priest and poet Robert Southwell, a cousin of William Shakespeare, wrote a Christmas poem, entitled, “The Burning Babe.” Ben Jonson envied Southwell…

The diocese of night

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 12/16/2017

Quite serendipitously, I came across a poem by Thomas Merton about John the Baptist. I surmised that such a poem could only be written by someone like Merton, a Trappist monk, who lived a life of silence,…

Waiting with the eyes open

Simeon Dumdum Jr. 12/02/2017

About waiting, I ask myself what my most memorable experience of it would be. At my age, I should be able to recall not just one but many. There were joyful waitings, of course, the most recent…

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