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Hea i ka Haku

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On day two we fired the harpist. “The music is really very lovely,” the nurse had explained, as if we’d never heard a harp before. My sister and I sat facing each other in plastic chairs on either side of a hospital bed. We watched the nurse smear Vaseline on our mother’s lips. Our mother’s…

Listening to Silence

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I arrived at the advanced screening for Martin Scorsese’s new film, Silence, in the worst possible frame of mind. For one thing, I was running late after seeing to some errands. Also, I was starving. My only option for getting some food in time was a fancy burger joint near the entrance to the multiplex.…

There Is No Free Breakfast

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When I joined the gym, I was given two free personal training sessions to help “jump-start” my fitness routine. Almost every gym I’ve joined came with such a pass, but I never used them, because I used to coach cross country track, for goodness’ sake. I thought I knew how to exercise. Six babies later…

A Song of Songs for These American Days

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highway 61 by H. Michael Karshis on flickr

With thanks and apologies to the Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Emily Dickinson, Neil Young, Wallace Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, the Wailin’ Jennys, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan, God, Joni Mitchell, Bob Marley, Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Sam Baker, The Band, Bruce Cockburn, The Grateful Dead, Richie Havens, and all the musicians and poets who have sustained and nourished…

Transcendence: A Tribute to William Christenberry (1936-2016)

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william christenberry house

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master,” Elizabeth Bishop said, with irony. Still, it’s true that we mislay so many things over a lifetime that we become quite adept at bearing our deprivations. By the end, it’s a wonder that we have so much left to convey; the reading of wills should be bankrupt…

Poem for the New Year: “In the Candleroom at Saint Bartholomew’s on New Year’s Eve”

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Image

This poem moves me and impresses me with its sense of almost-but-not-quite arriving at connection. Everywhere I turn within the walls of this poem, I come face to face with human need and the world’s shortcomings in meeting that need. Mourning her mother, the speaker attempts throughout the poem to do a simple thing: light…

Poetry Friday: “New Year, Good Work”

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A delightful scene is set in this poem. At the start of the new year, the speaker and some friends are doing volunteer woodwork to repair their church’s altar. As the speaker details the steps of their careful work, we’re carried along by the poem’s base rhythm of iambic pentameter. Soon religious language enters the…

Quaecumque Vera: 16 Songs for 2016

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hartse-best-of-2016-music-playlist

You do not have to feel guilty about loving music. Please keep this in mind. Alan Jacobs, in his The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, writes, “read what gives you delight…and do so without shame.” Amen, I say, and don’t be afraid to apply this to the music you like, too. There…

Thirty Minutes Without My Phone

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ihop coffee

The fact that a half-hour meal alone in an IHOP occasions its own blog post shows just how far I’ve devolved in my practice of solitude. I’ve gotten pretty good at putting my phone away when going out for meals with friends and family. But when I’m alone in a waiting room, in line at…

ImageUpdate’s Top Ten of 2016

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Every week, the Image staff curates a digital dispatch of compelling new books, music, artwork, and more, with personal recommendations, links from around the web, and a community message board with calls for art and job postings (not to mention exclusive access to Image discounts and VIP workshop registration!). We deliver these dispatches from the…

Image’s Daily Blog

For the humanists of the Renaissance, literature mattered because it was concrete and experiential—it grounded ideas in people’s lives. Their name for this kind of writing was bonae litterae, a phrase we’ve borrowed as the title for our blog. Every weekday, one of the gifted writers on our blogging team will offer a personal essay that makes a fresh connection between the world of faith and the world of daily life, spanning the gap between theology and experience and giving language a human shape.

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