Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy New Year

Atelier Pindar is under snow . . . but work continues . . .

‘. . . when you take a walk with your children
They trot along in front of you like little puppies. They run ahead, they lag behind. They come and they go. They play around. They jump.
They make the trip twenty times.
It’s because as a matter of fact they’re not going somewhere.
They’re not interested in going somewhere.
They’re not going anywhere at all.
The grown-ups are the ones who are going somewhere [. . .]
But the children are only interested in making the trip.
To come and to go and to jump.’

– Charles Péguy, The Portal of the Mystery of Hope (1911)

Over Christmas I read a long Catholic poem in free verse, The Portal of the Mystery of Hope by the French poet Charles Péguy (1873–1914). It is very much a poem by a father, written for fathers – especially fathers of little girls (in the poem, Hope is a little girl – the poet had two boys and a girl, who make a coded appearance in the poem).

Péguy values Hope above Faith and Charity precisely because it is so difficult to maintain in the modern world. If you have never given much thought to Hope before, Péguy’s extended meditations on work, the night, and how his children will outlive him are uplifting, even for an atheist like myself.

There is added poignancy in the fact that Péguy was killed at the head of his section on the first day of the Battle of la Marne.

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