Sons of the morning

At least stars are feminine in Portuguese and, I rather fancy, come out in the evening.

It was at eventide that I took some fat oil pastel sticks and made this bad drawing of the house opposite. I made it much brighter than it actually is because that is how it looks with foreign eyes when you see it for the first time.  Nowadays, though, after three years of seeing it daily, I think it needs another coat of paint or two, so I gave it them here. (<– That is a dative ‘them’, by the way.)

pink and yellow house

The title of today’s piece makes reference to a hymn, “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning”by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826, which, in its turn, is a reference to the Star in the East which signalled the advent of Jesus Christ.

I was reminded of this particular hymn this morning while in Mass conducted entirely in Portuguese.  The connection, since I know you are dying to find out, is that the choir (and a good many others) in today’s service were lazy with their enunciation, so “Deus” (God, whose final ‘s’ is pronounced) became a somewhat lesser being as “Deu” (which if heard on its own without context would mean “he/she/it gave”). It seems a pity to chop God off like that, I always think; just as it is a pity to mangle a perfectly good first line of a poem by singing “Brightest and best are the sons of the morning”.

Thus it was that for most of my childhood I heard people gaily singing things that made no fucking sense whatsoever.

It is easy to misunderstand all manner of things. Take, for instance, my various strange postures at odds with the rest of the congregation during Mass today because of a herniated lumbar disk, ditto one in my neck, the latter causing me much dizziness.

Whether dizzy or not, it is my wont after receiving Communion to kneel (normally), cover my face thereby shutting every other thing out, and pray, mostly for family and friends far from me. This is a very intense moment, and I am not usually disturbed. Today, kneeling was too painful, so I merely sat forward, with my elbows resting on the back of the pew in front of me.  I had not seen the woman on my right before, and she probably did not know me either.

Anyhow, during this intense moment, she tapped me on the arm and asked if I was okay. I sat up and said that I had been praying, but hey, not to worry, “all done!”.  I explained that I was suffering from dizziness as a result of an accident, hence the odd posture.

We had a small chat, and because of my accent she asked me what my nationality was.  I hesitated when trying to answer. She mistook this to mean that I had not understood her. I had indeed understood her; the problem was I could not decide how to answer. I never know what to say. Today, I made it as far as “English African”.  As if that is a nationality.

©2017 Allison Wright

One thought on “Sons of the morning

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  1. I thought it was “Brightest and best are the suns of the morning” – which also makes no sense seeing as we only have one sun … silly. Mind you, not many hymns made sense to me and still don’t. Ditto, Psalms.


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