Friday, January 25, 2013

Prepare For the Fire

"RELIGIOUS and philosophical beliefs are, indeed, as dangerous as fire, and nothing can take from them that beauty of danger. But there is only one way of really guarding ourselves against the excessive danger of them, and that is to be steeped in philosophy and soaked in religion." -~G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy) This quote from
Chesterton gives the clue for our need to have an advance mentality, and a preparedness that accepts that fire is a part of our landscape in more ways than the volatility and seasonality of Australian days of summer: -

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Solzhenitsyn's Fire


“The turn introduced by the Renaissance was probably inevitable historically: The Middle Ages had come to a natural end by exhaustion, having become an intolerable despotic repression of man’s physical nature in favor of the spiritual one.

But then we recoiled from the spirit and embraced all that is material excessively and incommensurately. The humanistic way of thinking, which had proclaimed itself our guide, did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man, nor did it see any task higher than the attainment of happiness on earth. It started Western civilization on the dangerous trend of worshipping man and his material needs... as if human life did not have any higher meaning. Thus gaps were left open for evil, and its drafts blow freely today. … a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their reserves of mercy and sacrifice…
All the celebrated technological achievements of progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the twentieth century’s moral poverty.
… “If the world has not approached its end, it has reached a major watershed in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.

It will demand a spiritual blaze; we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, as in the Middle Ages, but even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled on, as in the modern era.
This ascension is similar to climbing onto the next anthropological stage. No one on earth has any other way left but – upward.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

[Harvard Address 8 June 1978]

Aerial Voices at Two Martydoms

- the meeting of two fires

Aerial Voices at the Axeblock
of Lord Chancellor Thomæ Mori (Sir Thomas More)
and at the Pyre
of Guillaume Tyndalus (William Tyndale).

Two candles meet,
and burn against
one another, as if
the flame each carried,
in a wick which each
one burned with being
were the whole flame,
and the other, not.

The axeblade glints
like firelight, it's edge
strikes down mere matter
smiling wide as fire;
while the holy flints
kindle in the tinder fledge
and splutter, splutter
in the refining pyre.

Self’s candle flickers
and fades in the wind,
each as a lone bush
burning in a wilderness,
holding a share of
the spark, the early flame
Indeed: That Flame!
Yet less than all flame.

Two stiff candles
Meet & burn against
One another, as if
The flame each carried,
In a limp wick which each
One burned with as being,
Were the whole flame,
And the other, not flame.

Tyndalus burned
with blue-blood
flames of people’s Englisch;
Wanting holy writ
at the ready in
that vernacular.

More burned with
the red-blood
flames of Roman England
dreading to legalise
everyman as acting pope
Without training
or holiness.

The fuel
was More
and Tyndale.

Both men
were wrong
Both men
were right
But what
colour in
the flame.

Thomas More and
William Tyndale,
each one caused
the other’s death
by martyrdom

Two tallow-wick candles
Meet & burn up against
One another & the heat of
the flame each carries,
intensifies so that the fire
of each burns with being
that consumed its candle
burned, burned with

the light that fires,
fires and inspires.

4 April 2009 © Wayne David Knoll


Born: February 7, 1478, City of London, England
Died: July 6, 1535, Tower Hill, London, England
Cause of Death: execution by decapitation
Buried: Church of St Peter ad Vincula, England


Born: fl. 1484–1496 Gloucestershire, England
Died: c. 6 October 1536 near Vilvoorde, Duchy of Brabant, Seventeen Provinces [Belgium]
Cause of death: Executed by strangling, then burnt at the stake

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Incarnate Word

"Incarnate Word,
in whom all nature lives,
Cast flame upon the earth:
raise up contemplatives
Among us, men who walk
within the fire
Of ceaseless prayer,
impetuous desire."

James McAuley,
from‘Letter to John Dryden’


Uncreated Fire

Fifty Candles for the Holy Pyromaniac

“... O, Source of uncreated light,

The Father’s promis’d Paraclite!

Thrice Holy Fount with Heav’nly Love inspire;

Come, and thy Sacred Unction bring

To Sanctifie us, while we sing!

“...Refine and purge our Earthly Parts;

But, oh, inflame and fire our hearts!

Our Frailties help, our vice control;

Submit the senses to the soul;”

John Dryden,

from ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’


- ( based on a true event in the 1980s)

Mystery Horror

Lydia of the Ukraine,

arrested for typewritten prayers

interrogated ten days

to try make her tell

of a catacomb church

collapsed down the stairs

of the G.P.U. cellar

and Guard Ataev gentled

her to re-stand.

‘Christ save you’ she said.

And the words fell on Cyril Ataev

as her eye flashed in pain.

G.P.U. Special Command dispensed

with the usual unmarked tortures

giving Lydia hot noise for silence.

“Don’t you feel pain?’ they asked.

‘Pain! What is pain?’ she sparked.

‘ My God is consuming fire!

According to your disposition,

He either illuminates or burns.’

That set them devising sex therapy squared.

The four, not enough

called Guard Ataev down

who came, but abominated,

so before he knew what he did

and pulled his army pistol

and shot two from tortures.

A third G.P.U. man

brained Ataev with pistol butt

but while battered Ataev began to throttle him.

The fourth G.P.U. man, point blank,

shot Ataev who fell towards Lydia

‘ Saint take me with you’

‘I will’, Lydia was radiant.

And as these words knocked open

doors to another world

terror darkened with violence the minds

of the two G.P.U. men still alive

until yelling as if God was there,

insanely, they fired, fired, fired...

& shot till the martyr's deaths

emptied their revolvers

and they fled as if

they could ever get away

from what - an unknown

- mysterious horror!

One G.P.U. man,

afterwards, went quite insane.

The other died soon of nervous shock.

But before he died he told his friend Alexei...

and Alexei Ikonnikoff, believing in Christ,

brought the story to light in respect

of the Mysterious Horror

1992 © Wayne David Knoll


Out of their depth

in the universe,

and come up

to sheer edge

to admit it

(that is, their

need for God)

might just be

the definition

of the Christian.

15 Feb 2010 © Wayne David Knoll