Canto

Mountain Song

Qomolangma (Mount Everest).

I took this photo in September 2019, on the Tibetan side of the Himalayas. The tour guide told us that what we were seeing is rare: a full view of the mountain from foot to peak, without any cloud covering. God's blessing to us.

Some time ago, I received a vision from the Holy Spirit while worshipping in church. I was standing on a mountain peak taller than Qomolangma, above the cloud cover, looking at range upon range of mountains stretching in all directions. There was nothing but earth beneath me, and sky above me, and the presence of the Lord all around me. I looked at the mountains, and it seemed that I beheld them in their primordial, pre-Fall state: pristine mountains before man's foot tread on them, mountains that only beheld the face of God. I saw these pristine mountains between cloud and sky, and something in my heart ached with terrible longing.

"Lord, this is beautiful, so beautiful," I said.

The Holy Spirit said, "Behold."

And, from horizon to horizon, the mountains began to sing.

In church, I remember falling facedown on the ground, my body and soul reverberating with this titanic song. It was an undescribable experience, like beholding a vast beauty that exceeds human dimensions and comprehension. The song and the vision lasted only a short time, but even now I can hear/feel/sense the echo of it, and my soul aches again.

O God, when you restore creation, I want to come back to this place, and hear the mountains singing their ancient praises to you.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements -- surely you know!
Or who has stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

—Book of Job, ch. 38, v. 4-7

Unpublished poem by George MacDonald

Go not forth to call Dame Sorrow
From the dim fields of Tomorrow;
Let her roam there all unheeded,
She will come when she is needed;
Then, when she draws near thy door,
She will find God there before.

—George MacDonald, unpublished poem;
recited by Jerry Root at Hutchmoot Homebound, October 2021

The tide is running high, my love,

The blossom’s almost done,
It falls without a sigh, my love,
Like mist dies in the sun.

The wind is blowing wild, my love,
It rattles the window pane,
It cries like a lost child, my love,
Her tears fall like the rain.

A child you’ll never know, my love,
For I could not make you stay,
You followed the high tide’s flow, my love,
And a ship took you away.

Our tears could fill the sea, my love,
Beneath this cruel sky,
For you’ll not come back to me, my love,
Though the tide is running high.

—"The running tide",
Jane Dougherty

The love of books. My library is an archive of longings.

—Susan Sontag
{via}

A fire is burning in Bird Spirit Land,

In Bird Spirit Land lies my young love.
A storm is raging in Bird Spirit Land,
I will scatter the black carrion birds.
I will watch over the kissing clay of my young love.
I will be with him in Bird Spirit Land.

A fire is burning in Bird Spirit Land.
My bones smoulder.
I must journey there.

Lavondyss, Robert Holdstock

In the land of apathy

There’s a pretty girl who waits for me
I was standing there when she looked down
From Kramer’s wall at the edge of town

I stayed till all the rest were gone
My pretty girl, she stood alone
She wouldn’t leave, I asked her why
And this, my friends, was her reply

She said—
Shadows fly away from me
I cannot face the light you see
But if they come I’ll fight them all
While I’m standing here on Kramer’s wall

What injustice had decreed
This lonely life she had to lead?
I pitied her but didn’t stay
And the road I followed passed away

From that day on I had no rest
My heart kept burning in my chest
I couldn’t stand my fatal choice
For every night I heard her voice

She said—
If you are who I hope you are
You can never run too far
I will never let you fall
I’m watching you from Kramer’s wall

I realized I would rather be
In chains with her than alone and free
For she had shown the kind of love
The greatest ones had been made of

Her haunting words inside my head
Revived the heart I thought was dead
So I took the higher call
And stood with her on Kramer’s wall

I said—
Everything may come undone
The sky may fall and rend the sun
But you and I are standing tall
Here on top of Kramer’s wall

Nothing breaks the lover’s soul
Nothing makes the young grow old
Except the time that kills us all
But there is no time on Kramer’s wall

I will never let you fall
I will stand with you on Kramer’s wall.

—"Kramer's Wall",
A Horse and His Boy, Trilogy EP (2011)

The truth is, when the period at which

a man of talent is condemned to live is dull and stupid, the artist is, unconsciously to himself, haunted by a sensation of morbid yearning for another century… In some cases, it is a return to past ages, to vanished civilizations, to dead centuries; in others, it is an impulse towards the fantastic, the land of dreams, it is a vision more or less vivid of a time to come whose images reproduce, without his being aware, as a result of atavism, that of by-gone epochs.

(...or, in these days, yearning for a future history that never will be, save in dreaming...)

— J. K. Huysmans, “Against the Grain” (1926)

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