That Which is Bread

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? – Isaiah

Month: August, 2012


Earlier this month my family and I took part in the annual St. Panteleimon Pilgrimage at Holy Cross Hermitage in Wayne, WV. I’m happy to see that they’ve published a gallery of photos from the pilgrimage. Some are quite beautiful: the image here, for example, is taken from the gallery.

From long before our family’s conversion to Orthodoxy, the search for a spiritual community has been important to us. I can’t say that we’ve ever found the kind of believing community that we dreamed of, and I doubt that we ever will in this life. But visits to Monasteries, and especially pilgrimages like this one, always feel to me like a full immersion in the Church as I’d always hoped it would be. I come away refreshed, strengthened and grateful.

Millay: ‘I shall go back again’

I shall go back again to the bleak shore
And build a little shanty on the sand
In such a way that the extremest band
Of brittle seaweed shall escape my door
But by a yard or two; and nevermore
Shall I return to take you by the hand.
I shall be gone to what I understand,
And happier than I ever was before.
The love that stood a moment in your eyes,
The words that lay a moment on your tongue,
Are one with all that in a moment dies,
A little under-said and over-sung.
But I shall find the sullen rocks and skies
Unchanged from what they were when I was young.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay was one of the only 20th-century poets I know who worked seriously with the sonnet form: there’s a whole book of her sonnets, from which this gem is taken. e. e. cummings was another modern sonnet-lover; his are more modernist, as you might expect, but often formally strict.
The image above is a panoramic view of Maine’s Penobscot Bay, where Millay grew up. No doubt she had its rocky shores in mind when she wrote this.