Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day and the Incarnation

On this Saturday in the Octave of Easter, many people are also observing Earth Day. I like to think of this year's confluence as serendipitous. It reminds me that "God so loved the world that he gave his Only-Begotten Son" to bring about a new heavens and a new earth, a newness that leapt into infinity with the resurrection, but that began with the Incarnation, God becoming one with the works of his hands.
Years (maybe even decades) ago, I was leafing through my Dad's scrapbook. In between his photos from Army days in Germany and newspaper clippings of his speeches as President of the Holy Name Society (local and then national) was a tiny, deeply yellowed bit of newsprint. The headline read: Poetess Edna St Vincent Millay dies in New York. A short obituary followed. It was 1950. (I just looked that up.)

The only poem I ever remember Dad reciting from memory was Robert Frost's famous one about the two roads. Whatever had possessed that shy young JAG officer to save the death notice of this poet? I should have asked him while I could. I myself came across a single line of Millay's just recently that impressed me deeply. Maybe this is what impressed him, too. Maybe it have a similar effect on you.

The first line of God's World speaks to me of the Incarnation, of the sudden and unexpected arrival of Gabriel with a message from the Most High to his tiny earth. It couldn't be more fitting for Earth Day 2017. Here it is, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation:
God's World

Related Poem Content Details

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough! 
   Thy winds, thy wide grey skies! 
   Thy mists, that roll and rise! 
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag 
And all but cry with colour!   That gaunt crag 
To crush!   To lift the lean of that black bluff! 
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough! 

Long have I known a glory in it all, 
         But never knew I this; 
         Here such a passion is 
As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear 
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year; 
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall 
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

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