Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a countdown Day 2. Care for the earth
Why speak of the earth?
because we are of it,
because we are destroying it,
because we have nowhere else.
Hildegard did not have the advantages of the 21st century, she did not know the earth from an astronauts view as we do, she did not have the science we have today, yet she knew how precious this luminous pearl adrift in a dark ocean is.
She speaks of oneness, unity . . . the microcosm of the tiniest unit, the macrocosm of the universe and how they are all one .
Here is a poem from my new book, Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey in praise of the earth.
Amid the local gardener’s chatter
about plants and herbs
their culinary and medicinal uses,
and laughter of the young sisters
bubbling live with the world,
She leans against her spade and listens.
pecking at the scattered soil.
Hildegard gazes towards the hills
soft curved as a mother’s breast.
Is it the hills singing she hears?
Is it her heart surging with love?
Like a mantra she hears the words,
The earth is mother,
mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human.
mother of all,
for contained in her
are the seeds of all.
Hildegard looks about her.
The sisters at work, all is the same,
yet she is full of song
of trees and plants and flowers,
of herbs and ferns and stones.
Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a countdown Day 3.
Three days until Hildegard’s Feast Day – 17th September.
In this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey, we see how important MUSIC and SINGING is to HILDEGARD and to the LIFE OF HER ABBEY.
Hildegard is is now the Magistra (meaning teacher.) Jutta has died and Hildegard holds her sisters together. She leads them away from the old monastery to begin the creation of their own Abbey. (the new Abbey in Bingen)
To lift their spirits she composes music that carries them on the breath heavenwards. The year is 1151 at their new Abbey on the Rhine River.
Seamless fold of seasons.
Not so seamless, their daily struggle..
Life is still comfortless
Music carries them.
Singing gladdens them.
Hildegard is invigorated
by harmonies of sound
sees music in the dawn
light on the hills
in the caress of the wind
shape of the clouds
sound of the entwining rivers
the patter of rain
chatter of verdant tendrils of vine.
Music moves in her mind
fills her writing
defines her day.
She sings with her sisters.
Her sisters sing with her.
Singing softens their tired
like blossoms soften stone walls.
In giving voice to her poetry
Hildegard bursts into song.
Words of Divine Light,
sounds from the heavenly spheres
echo in her,
O fleeting soul, be strong.
Clothe yourself in the armour of light.
You are surrounded
with the embrace of Divine mysteries.
She sees creation, a symphony of joy and jubilation,
a great chorus of the cosmos itself.
In the garden with her sisters
she draws lines with a stick on the earth
dots out the shift of sounds,
with the stick as baton and pointer
she teaches them her new music.
Their eyes shine.
Her antiphons and canticles
enrich the Divine Office.
Richardis leads, her voice ethereal,
the sisters join, words and rhythms soar,
breathless notes, higher and ever higher.
Their unfinished church
embraces their song,
a new heaven and new earth.
Photos of music scores fro around Hildegards time to show the beautiful calligralhy and the second photo is of the author in the vicinity of where Hildegard is supposed to have lived in the anchorage at the Disibodenberg Monastery from 1112 – 1150
This is a Countdown.
Five days until Hildegard’s feast day – 17th September.
In this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey,
Hildegard is a girl developing into a young woman.
In the intimacy of the anchorage Hildegard’s world of the early 12th century seems closed off.
Yet during the 20 years as a walled-in anchorite, Hildegard is preparing for the greatness of her expanding future as one of the worlds first composers, writers, environmentalists and healers.
Her voice speaks to us down the centuries. Today, 840 years later, we are reminded to be wide eyed and curious, about our planet, other species and our fellow human beings.
Take your mind back over 900 years, Jutta, her Benedictine sister and Hildegard are living and learning in the anchorage attached to a monastery with around 60 Benedictine monks in a life of prayer, work and study. It is about 1116 AD.
Wide Eyed and Curious
Under Jutta’s tutelage,
Hildegard writes out prayers.
Wide eyed and curious
she absorbs the Divine Office.
With the tablet and stylus
Latin comes alive.
The ten strings of the psaltery
zither the air
as she sings the psalms.
She and Jutta stitch gifted fine silk
for altar cloths and vestments.
Stone walls, monastic chant
by osmosis, her world of music.
Sometimes her mind drifts back to home,
smell of the Bermersheim forest
and meadows in spring.
How she loved running wildly
that last summer
in the woods with her brother Roerich.
In moments of loneliness
she gazes inwards.
Was she a tithe to God
the last of ten children?
Or despite her mother’s warning
was she betrayed
by her secret?
1. At top: Taken in March 2017 in our stay place. At work on the writing of Hildegard.
2. Spring just peeping through on the further bank of the Rhine River in Bingen.
3.This photo shows late Spring the grapes greening up on the far bank of the Rhine