The Evening Mouthful

reasoned splutterings & hasty wisdom

Archive for January 2010

In Pace (Sacred Musical Poem in Latin)

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This is from the “Book of Wisdom,” and was adapted into an operatic piece by Patrick Doyle for the 1996 Ken Branagh adaptation of Hamlet.

Here it is as performed in the film by Placido Domingo:

Here it is with full chorus:

Here is the text with English translation:

Cherish righteousness, o judges of the earth.

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and the torment of death will not touch them.

In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, and their departure is taken for misery – but they are at peace.

The ungodly ruler has no hope, and even if he lives long, he shall be regarded as nothing.

But the just prince, he is at rest.

Written by Dave Dueck

January 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Posted in film music, poetry, video

‘Brothers’ Soundtrack by Thomas Newman – Suite101

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Read my Suite101 review of Thomas Newman’s newest (and briefest?) score here.

Written by Dave Dueck

January 25, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Posted in film music, link

Midwinter Poem – “Now Winter Nights Enlarge”

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Originally posted in my Great Expectorations updates about a year ago, this is a little nugget of bleak midwinter post-renaissance goodness by Thomas Campion, titled “Now Winter Nights Enlarge.”


Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze,
And cups o’erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love,
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.

~Thomas Campion (1617)

Written by Dave Dueck

January 22, 2010 at 9:19 am

Posted in poetry

The Yellow Balloon: A Personal Parable

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I wrote this almost a year ago, when I was undergoing a major period of spiritual discovery and renewal. It was original published as part of the Great Expectorations update series, both as an article and in the audio podcast series. Here it is in its original form. I plan on publishing a poem version sometime soon. I’m curious if the parallels to Christian surrender are as clear to others as they are to me.


There was once a Yellow Balloon.

There was nothing about it worth noting before it was inflated. It was just a flat, sticky piece of rubber.

One day the balloon was inflated, with helium. It was filled with that heavenly element which caused it to swell and rise – it became instantly an item to be admired, enjoyed: it was pleasing and even valuable. It began rising to the heavens, and got some little way… until it was stopped, tethered to a grubby, ill-mannered boy who would not let go of the string. If the balloon tried floating higher, it was jerked quickly back down, and the boy would insist it was “his balloon.”

The balloon reluctantly decided it was satisfied: it had already been freed once from the astounding worthlessness it once knew, what more could it want? The truth that his beauty was best meant for higher heights faded from his mind all too quickly, and he contented himself with being towed about by the filthy little boy. The boy was his world: it was a small and dirty world, but he told himself he could make the best of it: he must make the best of it.

But gradually the boy’s sweaty, slimy fingers began to dirty the rope: he sometimes handled the rubber of the balloon as well, and got brown fingerprints all over it. The balloon never rose any higher than the string would let it, and he gradually became dirtier and dirtier. His essence as a beautiful yellow balloon never disappeared, but it did become frightfully less apparent. His connection to his tiny, spoiled world, and his dull coating of the earth that covered from his world, masked his inherent qualities, value and purpose.

And then one day the boy grew a little bit older. The beauty of the balloon was well known to him: perhaps better than to anyone else, for the boy still knew what the balloon had looked like when it was new. But now it was wearing old on his fancy, and he decided that the balloon might be a better, more worthwhile balloon if it was seen by other people. He brushed it off, shined it up as best he could, and took it outside to show it off, to see if anyone would notice it.

But no one would: they too had owned balloons, but now none of them held one except the boy. They would glance at him as he walked by, and then go back to their business. The boy waved the balloon about, shouting loudly about its size and colour and magnificence. But it was still tied to a grubby, selfish boy, and people could not notice the balloon without also noticing the repulsive child to which it was tied.

And then the boy looked up and saw the deep blue sky, and billowing white clouds: he saw the golden Sunlight beaming down, and he saw the balloon straining to reach higher. He saw the sky and the Sun and the balloon all of a sudden as one beautiful picture, and the sight caused his grip on the string to loosen.

The balloon shot up into the sky.

The boy was upset for a moment, but then he looked again and saw that the balloon, higher now in the lofts of the sky, made the stunning picture he had just seen even better. He watched the balloon float towards the sun, and realized that as it went higher it became more beautiful, more amazing, more worthy of his attention.

And then he saw something even more magnificent: as the balloon drew even higher towards the fiery orb of the Sun, as it became lost in the glory of the celestial beams, it joined something that the boy had failed to notice when he had been trying to boast about his balloon a few minutes before.

He saw a huge and resplendent cloud, a shimmering swarm, made of many more balloons, hundreds of balloons, of all different colours and sizes and shapes: and they all rose to the sunlight in one giant balloon-shaped cluster, infinitely more awesome and gorgeous and stunning and valuable than any one individual balloon.

Then the boy looked about him, and remembered that all the people he had just tried to impress with his one balloon had all had balloons, and had all likewise let them go.

And, high up in the air, the balloon looked around him. He noticed that some balloons were higher, and some were yet beneath him as they rose to joined the cloud: but they all rose as one towards the glory of Heaven, and as he looked about he realized he could see not only the boy who had been his world, but also the neighborhood where the boy lived, and the river near the town, and the mountains which the river flowed down, and the oceans that the river met at its end. And his world was suddenly so much bigger and cleaner and more beautiful than he had ever imagined it being that he began to grow yet again.

As he flew higher, he began to grow bigger and more wonderful: and the higher he went, the brighter the light of the Sun was through him. The balloons were all swelling and growing brighter and more colourful.

And suddenly, as the entire cloud of balloons reached an amazing, breathtaking height, they all burst.

They had grown so full of light and grown so large and so beautiful that they could no longer remain balloons. Their thin, fragile skin disappeared and was pierced for good and all by the intense and blinding glory of the Sun, and their beauty was absorbed forever in it.

The people down below watched it happen. And the boy did not even remember having the balloon with him before. He would never recollect how the balloon looked in his bedroom, or how it felt to hold the string and look up and see it straining above him. His attention was completely absorbed in the ecstasy and majesty of what he had just seen. After some moments he declared that it was the most amazing and beautiful thing he had ever seen, and ever would see.

And everyone around him nodded in agreement.

The End.

Written by Dave Dueck

January 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Posted in fiction, journal

Mindful of the Covenant

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Currently Listening: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Score)

by Mychael & Jeff Danna

So Psalm 111 is loaded with good promises too. Jeez, this little search could fill volumes. Anyways:

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear him: He will ever be mindful of his covenant. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverent is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Hebrews 8 continues the subject of God’s covenant with His people, detailing the promises of His mercy and the coming of the Holy Spirit to believers:

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises… For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

And lastly, Psalm 141, for someone working 60 hours a week and not really seeing anyone or doing anything outside of his job, is a good reminder for what God is not only capable of doing, but what He really does for us every day!

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth. But mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.

Nor shall my soul be destitute when it is filled with Him. Amen.

Written by Dave Dueck

January 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Posted in journal, quote

A few promises which have been fulfilled!

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Read through my daily arsenal of Psalms and Hebrews, these verses jumped out at me in particular. They are full of assurances of God’s work in and towards us, but in the sense that these things have been accomplished already, rather than something to which we look forward. For example, in Psalm 21:

The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance. For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.

Now granted, “the king” is in context King David, who is considered to be the true “man after God’s own heart,” but really, are we not all kings and priests through the work of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit? As well as sons and daughters of God Himself? But there’s more, Psalm 81:

Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah.

…which He follows up with some good promises for the future:

I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

I pray God I hearken to Him when He calls, and submit to His will. Only if I draw unto Him can He satisfy me with the fruits of His promises. Amen.

Written by Dave Dueck

January 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Posted in journal, quote

The Promises of Faith

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Continuing the theme of trusting in God’s promises (see previous post), here are a few verses from my devotions the other day which further encouraged me in holding God to His Word. It is going to be my goal in the coming weeks to seek out specific promises of God in His word, both to me and to the children of God in general, and post those promises here. For now, though, here’s what Hebrews has to say.

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

~Hebrews 6:10-15

Written by Dave Dueck

January 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Posted in journal, quote, regular