It is the collection of poetry I wrote in my early years, which I have kept with me all my life. It was first privately printed years ago as part of some of my Esoteric work. This second edition adds a much more recent poem, “Sun, Word, and Wisdom,” first published in the December 2010 Rosicrucian Digest Web Supplemental, and reprinted here with permission from the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC.
The first section, “Bucking Broncos” contains poems written while I was a student at Brophy College Prep, the Jesuit High School in Phoenix AZ, 1968-1972. I had a wonderful time in High School, and still stay in contact with friends from Brophy. Since the class of 1972 graduated, Brophy has grown tremendously, now having an academic campus, an athletic campus, and a spiritual retreat campus. In addition, while being the standout academic and athletic
High School in Arizona, Brophy has recently added the Loyola Academy, a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade division which accepts students who demonstrate academic promise but have had limited educational opportunities. This, of course is directly in line with the Ignatian spirituality of the Faith that does Justice. I am eternally grateful to my friends and teachers at Brophy. I use what I learned there, academically, humanly, and spiritually, every day.
The Dead Shall Be Raised
The next section contains poems from my early Yale years, 1972-1974. The title of the section comes from Yale itself. On the Lintel over the entrance to the Egyptian Revival Gateway to the Grove Street Cemetery next to the Campus, is inscribed “The Dead Shall Be Raised.” The citation, of course, comes from 1 Corinthians 15:52:
ἐν ἀτόμῳ, ἐν ῥιπῇ ὀφθαλμοῦ, ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ σάλπιγγι· σαλπίσει γάρ, καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐγερθήσονται ἄφθαρτοι, καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀλλαγησόμεθα.
…in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
This, of course resonates with me for spiritual reasons (and please note, the resurrected body will be the Glorified Body, or as Martinists call it, le Corps Glorieux, not limited by time or space, just as was the Resurrected Body of The Christ, in my belief), and also for its resonance with the Paschal Troparion of the Byzantine Liturgy:
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,
θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι,
Christós anésti ek nekrón,
thanáto thánaton patísas,
ké tís en tís mnímasi,
Old Church Slavonic:
Хс҄рсто́съ воскрє́сє ᾿иꙁъ мє́ртвъіхъ,
смє́ртїю смє́рть попра́въ,
᾿и су́щимъ во гробѣ́хъ Живо́тъ дарова́въ.
Khristos voskrese iz mertvykh,
Smertiyu smert poprav,
E sushchim vo grobekh
المسيح قام من بين الأموات
و وطئ الموت بالموت
و وهب الحياة
للذين في القبور
|Al-Masīh qām min baīni’l-amwāt
Wa wati’ al-mawt bi’l-mawt
Wa wahab al-hayāt
Christ is Risen from the Dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And unto those in the Tombs
Furthermore, the Egyptian Revival Architecture may have been a mystical precognitive moment pointing to my work and life as a Rosicrucian, and at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum!
Not only is this a landmark in New Haven, there is Yale lore attached to it. New students are told that whenever there is a new Mayor elected in New Haven, or a new President at Yale, the two would take a ceremonial walk around the campus. When they crossed before the entrance to the Grove Street Cemetery, it is said that the Mayor would always read the inscription: “The Dead shall be Raised.”
The President of Yale would respond, “When Yale needs the land.”
I doubt that it is true, but it has entered into the lore of Old Eli.
The Fear of the Lord
The poems in this section are from my Junior and Senior years at Yale, 1975-1976. I am most grateful to Fr. Dick “Francis” Russell, Fr. Peter Fagan, and Sr. Ramona Pena for being there for me at St. Thomas More House. Yale was a graced time, and a lot of work, but it cemented what Brophy had begun as I became a young adult.
I am incredibly grateful to all of my friends, colleagues and professors. I just had a chance to visit recently with one of my roommates, Caesar T. Storlazzi in New Haven, where he serves the University as Chief Financial Aid Officer. We also hobnobbed with Bruce Shenitz in Manhattan in June.
I’m not good at staying in touch with people, but I am grateful to Peter Fish, Bruce Shenitz and John Hsiao who have never let me drift too far out in space. Peter is an editor-at-large in Travel for Sunset Magazine, Bruce worked for many years in journalism, has a book out (that somebody else published, not like me!), and is now in Information Services. John is a psychiatrist at NIH and the National Institute on Aging. Thanks to all of you, and to all at Silliman, at More House, and at Yale!
The Queen of Peace
The next section has poems from my time at the Jesuit Novitiate in Montecito, CA, The College of the Queen of Peace, 1977-1979. There I met brothers and friends who have been with me for the rest of my life. Thank you to all of the Society of Jesus, and the families, students and mentors I have been graced to stand with! After those years, I got so busy, my muse took a vacation. I want to send my love to all those I have been with at St. Ignatius Mission, the Tecate and Tijuana Sisters, Fordham, Loyola High, Weston, St. Andrew’s, St. Michael’s, St. Andrew’s in Westbury, Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Catholic Church, Annunciation Cathedral, St. Anne’s, Holy Transfiguration, St. George’s, the Melkite, Russian, Ruthenian, and Ukrainian Catholic Churches, the ECPA, the JCE, John XXIII Center, The Orthodox Churches, Clergy and Members I have worked with, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and the BTI, the GTU, USF, SI Prep, and everyone else. I pray to the Servant of God the Hieromonk Walter Ciszek, S.J. that he will ask blessings for you all. I wasn’t writing poetry then, you all were poetry for me!
Domus Sancti Spiritus
There are four Muses of Poetry:
Calliope: Καλλιόπη, Kalliopē “beautiful-voiced” guides epic poetry
Euterpe: Eὐτέρπη, “rejoicing well” or “delight” from Ancient Greek εὖ ‘well’ + τέρπειν terpein ‘to please’) guides song and elegiac poetry
Erato Ἐρατώ “desired” or “lovely” inspires lyric poetry.
I presume it was Erato who jump-started my poetry again in 2010 for the Mithraic Mysteries Issue of the Rosicrucian Digest. This latest poem was not in the first, privately printed edition, and I am grateful to Grand Master Julie Scott for giving permission for this reprint.
The name of the section comes from a Rosicrucian Manifesto:
In the Fama Fraternitatis, the first of the Rosicrucian Manifestos, published in 1614, we are told that once a year, the members of the Rosicrucians would gather on a specific day at a particular location: “That every year upon the day C. They should meet together at the house S. Spiritus, or write the cause of is absence.”[i]
In the veiled language of the Manifestos, this can be interpreted as follows: “Every year on the Feast of Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ), they should meet at the House of the Holy Spirit (Domus Sancti Spiritus)…”
The observance of Corpus Christi in the Western Christian Churches which celebrate it, falls on the second Thursday after Pentecost, which usually places it very near the Summer Solstice, and it is probably one of the reasons this date is found in the Fama. It is also interesting to note that Thursdays have been the traditional Sanctum evening for Rosicrucians.
Espiritu Santo Springs
The connection with the Holy Spirit was highlighted for Rosicrucians from the Americas some years ago when we held one of our planning workshops in Safety Harbor, FL, just outside of Tampa/St. Petersburg. We discovered that in 1539, the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto had found and named a natural mineral spring in Safety Harbor, Espiritu Santo Springs. Later, the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa was built over the Holy Spirit Springs to take advantage of its waters, and that was exactly where we were meeting, in “The House of the Holy Spirit,” so to speak! We returned last November for another weekend of meditation and inspiration.
It goes without saying but bears repeating (opposites that mean the same thing!), that I am so grateful to all of the members and officers of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC for the home I have found in the Order! Thank you!
Just like The Lord of the Rings, this little volume has an appendix, since much of my poetry has foreign words and phrases. Also, many of the poems are dedicated to people represented by initials. That is an old publishing concept, not much used now. It used to be very common in the 19th century. I may work with computers, but I do remember the old ways. This device was used by one of my favorite authors, Gene Wolfe in a wonderful short story, “The Detective of Dreams.” Read it, it’s awesome!
And of course, thanks to Chris and Angus. The book has quite a few pictures of Angus!
I hope you enjoy the poetry! Get it here!
Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant