Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Message in a Bottle

26.034208 -80.113754

To the waves I committed this letter
Set adrift like my heart on the sea
As my heart and its thoughts are in fetters
May your love one day set them both free

Take heed, dearest one and be clever
It won’t take long if you engage
The hints to this piece of forever
Can be found here concealed on this page.

 

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June 23, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , | Leave a comment

No Comfort

No Comfort
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

O mad with mirth are the birds to-day
That over my head are winging.
There is nothing but glee in the roundelay
That I hear them singing, singing.
On wings of light, up, out of sight—
I watch them airily flying.
What do they know of the world below,
And the hopes that are dying, dying?

The roses turn to the sun’s warm sky,
Their sweet lips red and tender;
Oh! life to them is a dream of bliss,
Of love, and passion, and splendour.
What know they of the world to-day,
Of hearts that are silently breaking;
Of the human breast, and its great unrest,
And its pitiless aching, aching?

They send me out into Nature’s heart
For help to bear my sorrow,
Nothing of strength can she impart,
No peace from her can I borrow.
Her rose-red June and her billing tune,
Her birds and blossoms only,
Mocked at the grief that seeks relief,
And leave me lonely—lonely.
If I might stand on the treacherous sand,
And know I was sinking, sinking,
While the moaning sea sang a dirge for me,—
Why, that were comfort, I’m thinking.

June 15, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Poems | , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Late It’s Early

TheBridge

“But always and ever when high and far
The old moon hideth her troubled face,
I think how the light like a falling star
Lit all my world with a new strange grace.
The passionate glow of your splendid eyes
Shines into my heart as it shone that night,
And its slumberous billows surge and rise
As the ocean is stirred by the tempest’s might.”

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Dear Darling,

It’s the brightest moon of the year tonight. A “honey moon” they call it. It’s directly opposite the sun tonight, and lowest in the sky. Having one this close on a Friday the 13th won’t happen again for another 84 years, if you didn’t know. So enclosed you’ll find a picture of the old bridge I keep talking about. It isn’t much to look at; no testament to architectural art or tribute to an era gone by. Just a simple old bridge that does the job so no one has to ford the creek.

Now that I’m back home, it’s so late that it’s early. Adjusting back to days is always a bit of a hassle after working nights, and often leaves me a bit down, especially with no one to talk to on nights.

Tonight I’m somewhere on neutral ground between felicity and futility. What did I call my lifestyle? Binge and purge. This week on my way to work, I felt myself infused with an energy, eager even to lift many times the panel of patients I would care for that night. Brief periods of rest and relaxation often give me that surge.

On to the news before I cash in for the night.

I adopted a child this week. Not physically of course; I decided it was high time to give a little more of myself than I have been, so I’m now the sponsor of a young girl on the coast of east Africa. Now this led me to an interesting ponderance, Darling, and on this I must solicit your opinion. Where do we draw the line between letting our light shine before men, and not doing our good deeds to be praised by them? In sponsoring this child, I wished to urge others to join me in the act. But then I questioned whether I was doing so to garner the praise and attention of others. Our Father who sees what is done in secret will reward us. But I also believe good deeds are easier done in tandem. I gambled against my own pride and haven’t told anyone, except a coworker or two. (I met one young co-worker who reminds me a little of you; her soul smells of Jesus, though her language sometimes stank of hell. She has a heart and passion for overseas missions, and her position as a nurse allows her that luxury.)

Now I will brag just a little. I’ve alluded to the fact that I’ve been going to the gym since the beginning of the year. We gym monkeys sometimes do deadlifts and obviously want to do our best. This week, my new personal best was 270 pounds. This too leads to another question. I’ve been working on the concept of doing my best for my own sake, not because it will make a good story to tell others, or because it proves something to them. But, we like to share personal triumphs with others, and heaven knows our friends and their albums are full of them. So I found myself again asking, would I be showboating if I were to have documented this moment? Again, I hedged my bets against pride. If in doubt.

A patient of mine was featured on the Today show. One thing about being with a nurse my dear, you’ll never lack for good stories!

I’ve also been (tentatively) invited to speak at a convention overseas. The expenses would be covered, but the times and dates are up in the air. I’m hopeful. You know I do love to travel…and if God is willing, I will go to the beach, the mountains of Appalachia,  the jungles of South America, the orient, and India all in the next six to eight months.

Tomorrow begins the first journey, and hopefully one of relaxation and rejuvenation. I’ll write as often as I can, but if you don’t find any further letters here, look for one or two bottles afloat in the Atlantic ocean addressed to you.

Goodnight, my dear, and Godspeed.

-Beren

June 14, 2014 Posted by | About Me, Loneliness, Nights Like These, Poems | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is That Okay?

Dear Darling,

There is much that I would speak of in these past few days, in the spirit simply of continuing the narrative of my life in hopes that you should find it pleasing to read one day.

Friday night found me restless again. For the past several weeks, if not months, I find very little that is new or exciting, fiery or passionate in my life. Helping people wears even the best of us down, so that I was even too footsore to gun my engines for a good run or workout as I’d have liked. I may walk in the nighttime province of the moon, but the stores are closed, the roads are clear, and all sane folk are abed. I spent part of the night celebrating a family member who just passed boards and will become a nurse quite soon now, but the night later took me wandering down the road to find an open sky and quiet lane. The road I chose was too close to the road, and the cars proved too noisy and distracting. I chose a hiking path on the northside, which proved even worse due to its proximity with the interstate. So that evening was less meditative than I’d have liked. I returned home to inscribe some thoughts for you before sleep took me.

I more than made up my deficit of sleep the following morning and into the afternoon, after which I joined Alegfast and company at the pool. We spent some hours there; an excellent reminder for me that oft’times I must force myself, quite literally, to relax. It was an afternoon of solid rejuvenation, and I must take greater caution in the binge-and-purge nature of my work and sleep schedule, as well as budgeting for the off-times. I was able to read, and swim, and take in the sunlight (in cautious doses, but we night-shifters have greater need of it than most!) and spend time with friends.

I ruminated once again on the subject of being different from the world. A classmate sought to offer advice to me about women over lunch…very little I hadn’t heard before, such as relaxing my standards, or relaxing my approach toward women. He has no spiritual inclinations, though I did share the gospel with him. There were some points he made that seemed worthy of consideration. Even prophets have been advised by donkeys.

But fundamentally, he will not understand where I’m coming from. Very, very few will. And why bother explaining to the world why I’m different? It sounds either egotistical or dramatic, and if I am secure in my disparities, I will have no need to defend them. But of course, I continue to question which parts are my own frailty and mistakes, and which are simply the ever-hastening speed with which our culture descends.

I am immensely grateful for my times of walking, of silence and prayer. I don’t escape into nature to have a theatrical brawl or an intellectual wrestling match with God. I come before Him a tiny and broken soul — just big enough to know how truly small I am, and living in a world of people too small to know how small they are.

There’s an old 10th century Norse poem entitled The Wanderer, which reads in part:

“Ever it has been my lot to bewail my sorrows in solitude in the twilight of each morning. There is now no-one left alive to whom I dare tell frankly the feelings of my heart. I know truly that it is a mark of nobility in a knight that he should fasten securely and keep to himself the treasury in which his thoughts are stored — think what he will! For all his grief of heart a man cannot resist Fate, nor can his troubled spirit give him any help. And so those who are eager to be of good report generally keep their sorrow imprisoned in the secret chamber of the heart.”

“Beren, you’re not happy,” they say. “Perhaps you should fix that before you expect to find someone else. There’s no one that can fix you!” “There’s seven and a half billion people on this earth,” my colleague told me over lunch today. He has a good heart, though not a redeemed one. “Don’t carry them all.” Of course, not, but who will? Every man for himself, is that it? And how few are the solutions offered for such problems! They call me cold because I’m awake. They say I despair because I’ve seen the truth. In some ways, I’m hardened by a battle few others see or heed; a battle for the mind. At times I feel as though watching from afar, speaking the truth and being ignored. Only fools think they are immune from the deceptive arts of the evil one.

Darling,
I balk at the term “sensitive,” but there are some indications that I could be described this way. You should know, very few people who encounter me professionally or socially would suspect such musings stirring in the murky depths of my soul. I don’t advertise this. Nor even in my private moments do I break. I don’t collapse. I don’t melt down, or have panic attacks. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God made me strong, and makes me strong.

Yet, even saints have dark nights of the soul; a chronic fatigue of the world’s weight, and a desire to carry it heedless of the cost.

And increasingly, I struggle to find the balance between becoming a better man, the man I know I am becoming with each passing day, and remaining true to myself, not losing my identity and conforming to an image and unrealistic expectations of the world. I dearly hope you are doing the same.

And so I find myself wondering, on the times, however brief, that I want to fall apart, will you let me? Is it okay for a man to have wounded wings, and need a little saving grace? Or shall you scorn the violent honesty of a man who uncovers his wounds? Is it okay if I need you and want you, and know I cannot be happy until we’re no longer apart? Or will you toss your head at such poetic nonsense? There are things husbands need from their wives, and I feel it’s important that you know.

Ah, and Darling, though the wounds be from a friend, they still bleed. What if I have missed the big picture? What if women don’t want to be adored? What if they want me to be strong, to sit down and shut up about the silence within? What if a woman’s lacklustre treatment of me was secretly how she expected me to treat her? What if I’ve failed to communicate my needs in the past, instead of simply hoping to find latent compassion within a good-hearted woman’s soul?

How should I conceal a love so great as to give it in small and disinterested doses? Shall I not lay my cards out, speak plainly, avoid games?

I don’t know the answer to these questions. Yet I know this for certain, that my God is sovereign. Not even my own stupidity or cluelessness can thwart His plan.

And so, we may entrust this as in all things, to our Savior and guide.

The morning birds are beginning their sun-conjuring, my dear. Lightly may your head rest on the pillow tonight! Lightly may your labors alight on your shoulders tomorrow.

Yours,
Beren

June 9, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Poems | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heartbreak at Last

Lines to an Indian Air
Percy Shelley

I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low
And the stars are shining bright—
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Hath led me—who knows how?
To thy chamber-window, Sweet!

The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream;
The champak odours fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale’s complaint
It dies upon her heart,
As I must die on thine,
O belovèd, as thou art!

O lift me from the grass!
I die, I faint, I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast;
O press it close to thine again
Where it will break at last!

June 9, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , | Leave a comment

Ode in May

Ode in May
William Watson

Let me go forth, and share
The overflowing Sun
With one wise friend, or one
Better than wise, being fair,
Where the pewit wheels and dips
On heights of bracken and ling,
And Earth, unto her leaflet tips,
Tingles with the Spring.

What is so sweet and dear
As a prosperous morn in May,
The confident prime of the day,
And the dauntless youth of the year,
When nothing that asks for bliss,
Asking aright, is denied,
And half of the world a bridegroom is,
And half of the world a bride?

May 15, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Doubtful Gleam of Solace

In Memorium XXXVIII
Alfred Tennyson

With weary steps I loiter on,
Tho’ always under alter’d skies
The purple from the distance dies,
My prospect and horizon gone.

No joy the blowing season gives,
The herald melodies of spring,
But in the songs I love to sing
A doubtful gleam of solace lives.

If any care for what is here
Survive in spirits render’d free,
Then are these songs I sing of thee
Not all ungrateful to thine ear.

May 10, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Which We Burn

burning-time

Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day
Delmore Schwartz

What will become of you and me
Besides the photo and the memory? …
Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Never the Time and the Place

22. Sarnoff, Arthur - Lovers In A Field Of Daisies

Never the Time and the Place
Robert Browning

Never the time and the place
And the loved one all together!
This path—how soft to pace!
This May—what magic weather!
Where is the loved one’s face?
In a dream that loved one’s face meets mine,
But the house is narrow, the place is bleak
Where, outside, rain and wind combine
With a furtive ear, if I strive to speak,
With a hostile eye at my flushing cheek,
With a malice that marks each word, each sign!
O enemy sly and serpentine,
Uncoil thee from the waking man!
Do I hold the Past
Thus firm and fast
Yet doubt if the Future hold I can?
This path so soft to pace shall lead
Through the magic of May to herself indeed!
Or narrow if needs the house must be,
Outside are the storms and strangers: we—
Oh, close, safe, warm, sleep I and she, I and she.

May 2, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Severed Selves

LoveApart

Severed Selves
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Two separate divided silences,
Which, brought together, would find loving voice;
Two glances which together would rejoice
In love, now lost like stars beyond dark trees;
Two hands apart whose touch alone gives ease;
Two bosoms which, heart-shrined with mutual flame,
Would, meeting in one clasp, be made the same;
Two souls, the shore wave-mocked of sundering seas:-
Such are we now. Ah! may our hope forecast
Indeed one hour again, when on this stream
Of darkened love once more the light shall gleam? —
An hour how slow to come, how quickly past,–
Which blooms and fades, and only leaves at last,
Faint as shed flowers, the attenuated dream.

April 23, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment