Monday, October 7, 2013

post-grad bumblings

In between cleaning, taking care of cute little chilluns, teaching a quickly-growing studio of private voice and dance students, and grading essays for AP English classes, I've been keeping pretty busy these days.  However, it has been on my agenda for a while to get back into regular blogging... so here is a quick list of random various things.

- I've been trying to get a lot more reading done.  right now: in the midst of That Hideous Strength.  the action is finally picking up, and I'm loving it.  I'm intrigued to find out whether this will become my favorite of Lewis' trilogy (as it is for several people I know)!

- this is very much slow on the uptake, but I'm kind of excited for the premiere of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland!  Why does it look so much better than Once Upon a Time...?  Perhaps it's the neverending allure of magic + Victorian England...

- And speaking of new series, Emma Approved starts today!  Lizzie Bennet Diaries was a lot of fun, so I'm looking forward to this.

- also, speaking of Victorian England, I'm in the process of trying to piece together a Victorian schoolgirl-esque costume for All Hallows' Eve.  I'm going as, shall we say, a certain entity... :)

- if all goes well, I'll be visiting the Cloisters in NYC over Thanksgiving with my wonderful boyfriend!  anyone who knows how much I love the Unicorn Tapestries can imagine all of the feelings I am feeling at this time. :)

- some friends recently introduced me to the magical Japanese-American artist Kishi Bashi, and I'm in love!  check him out:

I woke this morning to 52-degree weather, for which I am abundantly grateful after the sweltering weekend.  it's beginning to feel like proper fall! 'tis the time to revel in hot tea and bonfires and warm apple pie!  till next time, dear friends!  God bless!

image credit:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Song for Two Voices

HER: I am no prophetess,
but I caught a glimpse this morning,
as I kept the dragon at bay -
my mind's eye showed me this:
a knight's dark head
bending over my hand,
laying his lips on my wrist,
where the blood pulses beneath my skin.

There's largely haziness these days:
gray fog in the mornings,
black smoke by night.

I used to dream about a garden,
when I was small,
and that, one day, a knight would be waiting there
(waiting for me),
standing beneath a tree of golden leaves:
sword set aside -
armor put to rest -
his face steeped in illuminated-manuscript splendor;
his shoulders broad with Gothic grandeur.

But a snake entered the garden,
as I slept.
He sang to me in my slumber,
and spoke to me when I woke.
He offered me fruits that
bit at my tongue,
and burned bitterly all the way down,
caustic to the heart's core.

A prince entered the garden
never at all.

None of my companions have been sweet.


HIM: It's been years, now,
since I was sent forth.

I went out in search of
the maiden who battles the dragon
by night,
the warrioress,
for she would be
in need of a helper.

There was neither map nor fare,
but I was given a horse,
and I was given a sword,
and I was given a blessing
for the way.

My lord told me that
sustenance would fall
into humble beggar hands,
and only these.

He told me that
the way would be found
carved into my heart,
or not at all.

There have been times
when it seemed that
the path which beckoned to me
would destroy me, in the end:
such treacherous terrain,
such thick vine-growth,
such hungry thorns.
Firestorms surround me,
ahead and behind.

But this road is all I know.
And you should know, my lady,
that even if I lost my steed,
I would continue on until
my bloody feet had brought me
to your throne.

I gallop across fields of flame for you.
Perhaps you're enduring the dark smoke, too? -
I hear your voice crying from far beyond -

And now your beauty comes thundering through.
You are every promise, come true.

What's this darkness you speak of?
You make the night brighter than day.
See the sunbeams streaming from
your hair,
your fingertips,
your face -

oh, if I could
seize that light,
and swallow it like rich bread,
it would be food enough for all this journey.


HER: I was promised a heart-pounding
good dream of a fairytale,
back in the beginning.
Where are you now?

And what has passed?
Where am I now?

Fast asleep in a tower of gold,
waiting to be wakened with a kiss.
Oh, it's a sweet dream,
such a sweet dream,
just a sweet dream.

My body, once so white and fresh,
is now bruised by this bleak armor,
striped red from the dragon's claws;
my hands scorched by his breath.
My mane used to trail after me,
a train of gold,
but I sheared it off long ago
(a warrioress cannot daydream of
letting down her hair).

Once I was the white-and-gold maiden.
Now I am blackened
and reddened
and burnt all over.

I fear, my prince, that you will find me
different than what you were promised
(for you, too, were made promises).

HIM: No, princess,
for here is the gold,
here is the treasure
(though you may not see it).

I see you,
a small, sweet-nimble soldier,
fluttering by the gates,
a wound in your shoulder -
Your mouth is sad,
your eyes are long,
but your arms are sure
and your heart is strong
and I want nothing else
than this lovely white dove,
this soldiering songbird
singing the daybreak to life.

HER: I sometimes hear you singing,
from very far away.
Will I ever see your face?

HIM: I see yours.
Please, do not turn it away.

HER: Here I am, cast out of my castle again.
I am shivering and alone in the night,
and I am frightened.
This sword weighs heavy on my arms.
When will your hands join mine upon the hilt?
Am I to be a vagabond princess?

HIM: You'll match me, at the very least.
Will you be my vagabond princess?
We might go wandering together.

HER: Then I would be only half-vagabond,
having found not heart's home, no,
but heart-haven, yes;

A cove along the stormy shore
where shorn princesses may rest
and become fresh-water naiads once again -

or we might build together a tower of gold,
here in the dale,
we might weave ourselves a castle of
golden flowers
(so tender and safe)
and I would be new again,
I might turn young, just from
gazing into your face -
face warm and open, like a cup,
from which to drink up all the sweet sun-rays.

But now the smoke all but swallows me up.
Where are you? How long?

HIM: I will find you.
I will see you by the dawn.

BOTH TOGETHER: Oh, the fire, the fire!
I see now how we must go through together,
trusting that the flames will meld us into
forms more noble, forms more able to love.

HER: Sometimes it seems that
the fire will last for ever and ever
and ever and ever and ever and ever
ever -

HIM: I am here now, princess.
My dusty feet have come to stand
before your gates.


HER: Now I see -
and I should have known -
how things spring up where you go;
you carry the garden in your step.
I thought that it was dead.

HIM: Have you forgotten?
Do you remember?
I hope that you never forget
all the living things that in you bloom.

HER: What a night it has been!

HIM: What a day it will be.

HER: Now I see your sweet, sun-burnt face.
The golden tree is in your eyes.

HIM: You are so lovely -
please, let me help you slay the dragon -
you are so lovely.

HER: Good morning, my wandering minstrel.

HIM: Good morning, my lady.


HIM: The fire may last long into the night,
but only Beauty will last for ever.

HER: All of my life,
I have wandered, thirsty, throughout this land,
searching for the cool spring that runs
down the mountainside.
My body has always chafed
against the world.
My heart has always ached
for the company of another pilgrim -
ached for one
with which to ache
for Beauty.

None could understand,
though I wanted someone to -
desperately I did -
and now you do.


HER: Promise me this, my dearest:
that no matter how much I may protest,
you will not let me glance back at you
as we climb out of the shadows.

Do not let me lift the lid of the box,

the pomegranate to my mouth,

or the candle to your face.

If I wake to strange noises in the night,
will with all your might
that I will not fly out
in search of the source,
but rather draw closer to you in our bed,
holding your hands to my ears.

HIM: There's no use pretending:
autumn will follow summer.
The knives will pierce your feet.

HER: And the glass will tear at your eyes.

HIM: So the circle will run complete.
But let us keep on climbing,
let us keep looking up;
I will carry you across this desert,
if you will be my eyes.
Let us always help one another from falling.
Let me carry you in my arms.

HER: Let me guide you.
He keeps us hidden away in the mountains;
he schools us until we are fit
to go out and sing of him -
oh, teach me nightly of the stars:
their shapes and their signs.

HIM: Discourage me from gazing too distractedly
into the constellations of your eyes.

HER: Tonight, my love,
I dream of when
I realized that
you would be my sole companion:

We had been fighting together
against that black snake, and
I had lost far too much blood.

Forgetting to think of yourself,
but knowing only the Home
which is waiting for us,

you pressed your lips to mine;
my veins to yours -
it was a transfusion of wine
and sunshine

and it surely saved my life.

Copyright © 2013 by Olivia Meldrum

Monday, December 17, 2012

Here, have some magic

Hello, dear friends.

It has been almost three months since I last posted here!  The fall semester was crazy - I wrote my senior theology thesis (and, with the help of the Mystical and Mellifluous Doctors, got an 'A-'), sang a full role in our Sacred Music program's production of St. Hildegard's Ordo Virtutum, and was kept quite busy with other endeavors on top of it all.  But now I am done (at least for a few weeks...) and am ready for Christmastime celebrations to commence!

With some leisure time finally at my disposal, I've returned to hunting down splendid and delicious art - and I simply must share what I have found recently.

ok first of all, confession: I guess that John Singer Sargent had, up till now, been classified in my mind as a guy who did a whole lot of not-particularly-exciting portraits...

But then I found THIS.

Chiron and Achilles (c. 1922-1925)

the contrast here is perfect: Chiron (who is inexplicably leaping through the clouds), Achilles and the eagle lend structure to the composition with their paralleled bows, arms and wings; while the clouds are simply fluffy and peacefully ubiquitous.  (are you enjoying my artistic commentary so far?)

(feel free to scroll on once you have reveled sufficiently)

this next artist is probably my most exciting discovery in a long time.  so prepare yourself for

JOHN BAUER.  (The Fairy Princess, 1905)


and THIS

from The Crofters and the Gnomes  by Anna Wahlenberg

and I think my favorite so far is THIS

"He found her hiding in a tree"

and that is all I will share for the time being, because prolonged exposure to John Bauer's art has been known to cause confusion, fatigue, and occasionally explosion of the brain.

I will be posting again hopefully within the next couple of days - stay tuned!

Wishing you a joyful last week of Advent,


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stern and splendid: why abortion can never be the "compassionate" solution

Yesterday, I received a tumblr message from a fellow user of the blogging site.  She was challenging the pro-life views that I occasionally express on my tumblr blog.  Her claim?  That it is "uncompassionate" to deny an abortion to a woman with an unwanted pregnancy.

Here's my response:

'The great theologian and philosopher C. S. Lewis once asserted that “love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.”
What’s he saying here? That kindness is unimportant? That we can stop being nice to each other, because it doesn’t really matter? No: just that kindness alone can’t be considered the epitome of love. It is only one side of a multi-faceted gem. Sometimes things must be put before comforting expressions of affection – things like truth. Love does not, and never can mean simply letting someone do whatever they want. Failing to interfere when someone is about to make a bad decision isn’t called love, it’s called cowardice. It seems that true love is often tough love.
Ok, now consider this. In my class on the theology of healing this semester, one of the many wonderful texts we’ve been studying is Peter Kreeft’s Making Sense Out of Suffering. In it, at some point, he talks about the ancient Greek philosophers’ understanding of the meaning of happiness. To them, happiness is not a mere emotion. Rather, it is a state of being. The Greek word for happiness is eudaimonia, which means “good spirit” or “good soul”. Whether or not one is authentically “happy” is dependent upon his moral state. And thus, to these great thinkers, there existed much greater evils than to suffer, or even to die. To sink into moral depravity is the greatest evil – and greatest killjoy, if you will – imaginable.
To quote Kreeft: “What is the greatest good? What gives our lives meaning? What is our end? Modernity answers, feeling good. The ancients answer, being good…Furthermore, the most popular modern answer to the question of what it means to be a good person is to be kind. Do not make other people suffer. If it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s O.K. By this standard, God is not good if he lets us suffer. But by ancient standards, God might be good even though he lets us suffer, if he does it for the sake of the greater end of happiness, perfection of life and character and soul, that is, self.” (Making Sense Out of Suffering, 1986, pp 64-65.)
See, you speak of “compassion”. I suppose that if, faced with a frightened, distraught, confused pregnant woman, I could convince myself that it would be “compassionate” towards her to support her in getting an abortion. But oh, wouldn’t I feel like a hypocrite? And wouldn’t I be one, showing her “kindness”, at the expense of her own child’s life? Forced to choose one or the other, feeling good can never be chosen over being good. Emotions are fleeting. Your substance – well, that’s who you are.'

Receiving such messages via a computer - and from complete strangers, no less - often frustrates me, and always saddens me.  But I've discovered that these situations are really blessings in disguise.  Not only do they force me to think through, articulate and defend my beliefs, but they give me the opportunity to witness.

What do you think about the issues this woman brought up?  How would you respond?  Share below!

image: Charon and Psyche (detail) by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

Sunday, September 9, 2012

the great and wild Fairytale

To the atheist living in the secular world, fairytales do not exist, because they are too fantastic and too beautiful to possibly be true. Gerda never trekked across the frozen wilderness to save Kay from the Snow Queen. Beauty never went to stay in the Beast's palace. A certain dapper cat never set out to make a prince of a miller's son. It is good to believe that such stories are real when one is a child, and it is good to believe in their “messages” when one has grown up. But that is all.

To the Christian, the fact that the aforementioned events did not actually occur in history is mere happenstance: the Divine Author simply chose not to write those stories upon the pages of time. Instead, he chose to write the greatest and wildest Fairytale of all: the story of how God became man, suffered and died, in order to conquer death within us; and then rose again from the dead, in order to restore life within us. Before returning to Heaven, he bestowed upon certain chosen men the power to transform bread and wine into his very body and blood, and he commanded us all to eat this strange and beautiful Food, so that he might be with us always, and so that he might be always bringing us back to life.

See, the Christian does not shy away from the fantastic. It is his sustenance, his pilgrim's fare.

He is the quintessential dreamer, the odd-one-out, the one who has been to the magical world and back, who has seen wonderful things there and who has been changed by them. He is the one whom no one believes, who is named the fool or worse, the madman; he is the one whom society rejects, because a society obsessed with being modern and sophisticated has no place and no patience for the one who still believes in fairytales.

And yet, he is the one who always seems to be proved right at the end of the story. His childlike faith is always rewarded.

The world says to the Christian: “Your tale tickled our fancy at first, but now you have taken it too absurdly far. How could you believe that such impossible things actually happened? And how could you believe it so much as to let it change the way you live every part of your life? We will not be so changed – such a change would be too hard, too risky for us.

“Enough. Stop dreaming. Rub that stardust from your eyes.”

The Christian's reply is simple: “No, I cannot. The stardust allows me to see.”

Image: St. George and the Dragon by Edward Burne-Jones, found at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In which the music of Georges Bizet does not prove conducive to getting to bed early

I think I've found my theme song.

I discovered it the other night, stayed up till 1:00 auditorially ogling it, and have been in love ever since.

It's going to be part of my French set for senior recital next semester.

Just look at the translated lyrics:

One day in the Springtime
as they walked in the valley,
Joseph sang a song
 to express his desire:
Shepherdess, oh shepherdess, 
 Oh tra la la (bis)
Shepherdess, oh shepherdess, 
Oh tra la la (bis)
Please allow, grant me this, may I now steal a kiss?
Oh fair shepherdess, won't you let me steal a tender kiss?
Oh fair shepherdess, please let me steal a tender kiss.

She then in reply
answered him in this way:
You wish, says your song,
 to take something of mine.
No, Joseph. No, Joseph,
 tra la la (bis)
No, Joseph. No, Joseph,
tra la la (bis)
Would you dare steal a kiss? Could I be so remiss?
No no no no, Joseph. You won't steal it.
I will give it away!
No no no, Joseph. You will not steal it.
For I'll give it away to you!

It's humorous and heart-melting at the same time. It's just so sweet. I love, love, love it.

gah. I can't wait

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pulchritude tam antiqua et tam nova

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!  You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.  In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.  You were with me, but I was not with you.  Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.  You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.  You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.  You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.  I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.  You touched me, and I burned for your peace."

St. Augustine, pray for us, that Beauty might ever draw us into deeper conversion, and deeper into Himself.  Thus may creatures come to resemble Creator; thus may we all become little beauties, fit for stirring hearts and rousing the world.

image source: