Sunday, 6 December 2015

Poetic discovery

The second Sunday of Advent Eucharist at St German's this morning, numbers down a little due to the rotten weekend weather. Hamid, an asylum seeker from Pakistan was in the congregation again. His spiritual journey led to family rejection and took him away from his homeland, in his endeavour to study the bible and learn more about Christianity. He has been coming to St German's since he was sent to a Cardiff hostel, pending a case appeal, a few months ago. His life will be at risk if he goes home. He's asked us to write to his solicitor to confirm that he is attending church regularly.

Happily he's found an experience of Christian worship at St German's that speaks to his contemplative side. Punjabi speaking Christian communities introduced him to the Bible in his mother tongue, but their noisy, exuberant style of worship has limited appeal for him. Happily, it's the beauty, peace and orderly dignity of worship that appeals. He's asked for baptism, and we're aiming for this on the feast of Christ's baptism in January. It's going to be a challenge, given his limited English, but it's clear his heart is set on this. 

For the first time in many weeks Clare went to Riverside Farmers' Market after church, before lunch to stock up with some favourite cheeses, including mature Caerphilly, which to my mind ra
nks with Parmigiano for flavour, eaten on its own with a glass of the right red wine or grated and sprinkled to enhance a cooked dish. She's been making her own mincemeat this weekend, and the house is full of heavenly Christmas aromas.

Having done my DuoLingo Spanish revision exercises for the day, I set about hunting for my copy of the poems of St John of the Cross on the various bookshelves around the house. It's a bi-lingual edition with an classic English translation by Roy Campbell, which I acquired over thirty years ago. I wanted to see how much of the Spanish I can now decipher. It's really time I started reading things to improve my comprehension, as well as practising reading aloud for fluency. 

It took a while to find, but in the process, I discovered on another bookshelf a bi-lingual collection of poems by Pablo Neruda, given to us by a friend, some years ago, when we began spending time in Spain. I was delighted to realise that I could read and follow his work far better than I'd anticipated. There is a directness and simplicity to his writing which makes it more accessible than the Renaissance language of St John of Cross - new sources of inspiration and enjoyment to savour.

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