In All The Glory Of Thy Opal Sheen

Thomas B. Hayward, June 1905, Narrows of St. John’s in Newfoundland, Canada

Our Lady of the Fjords

by Archbishop Michael Francis Howley

Hail Crystal Virgin, from the frozen fjords
Where far-off Greenland’s gelid glaciers gleen
O’er Oceans bosom soaring, cool, serene
Not famed Carrara’s purest vein affords
Such sparkling brilliance, as mid countless hordes
Of spotless glistning bergs thou reignest Queen
In all the glory of thy opal sheen
A Shimmering Shrine; Our bright Atlantic Lourdes.
We hail thee, dual patront, with acclaim,
Thou standest guardian o er our Island home.
To-day, four cycles since, our rock-bound strand.
First Cabot saw: and gave the Baptist’s name:
To-day we clothe with Pallium from Rome.
The first Archbishop of our Newfoundland!

High definition cameras on cell phones are incredible inventions. We are accustomed to dazzling imagery that it has had the unintended consequence of taking the mystery out of photography.  In the past strange phenomena, supernatural sightings, fantastic beasts, divine apparitions, ghosts and goblins were best when slightly obscured through a grainy or blurry image, letting our imaginations take part in what may or may not exist.  I found this reference to a mystical photograph when searching for a sonnet to pair with the poem by Olaf Bull.  A year ago I was in Norway being bewitched by its beauty.  Although there were no ice-burg sightings, I was enchanted by the lush green of the landscape and the many kinds of ferns and moss that covered every inch of available soil and rock.

Do you have a favorite picture you have taken where there is something unexplained in the image?  Is it just a trick of light and shadows, an optical illusion or something more mysterious?



by Olaf Bull

Som kjærlighed er trangen til at mødes
og gjøre jordens ørken til et Eden,
trængs der en drift, som ligner kjærligheden,
skal skilte tanker festligt sammenglødes.

Det er i fantasiens brudekammer
at blomst og kvinde saligt sammenfalder,
og smilehuller vorder til konvaller,
og munde roser, i vidunderflammer.

Men alle ting i deres spredte vrimmel
som staar og suser mørke mod hverandre
maalik som dø — og kun som sjæle vandre
og samles bag en ensom pandes himmel!

Dens bærer blir en gud, naar livet gløder
bag haanden, som er presset over øiet.
Det er, som om hans hode tungt er bøiet
af heftigheden ved de tusind møder!

As love is the urge to meet
and make the earth’s desert an Eden,
if there is an operation that is similar to love,
divorced thoughts must be celebrated together.

It is in the bridal chamber of the imagination
that flower and woman blissfully coincide,
and smile holes become convalescent,
and mouths of roses, in flames of wonder.

But all things in their scattered garbage
staring at each other in darkness
Angels dying – and only as souls wandering
and gather behind the lonely brow of heaven!

Its bearer becomes a god when life glows
behind the hand, which is pressed over the eye.
It is as if his head is heavily bowed
of the vehemence of the thousand meetings!


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A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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