Friday, December 26, 2008

New Yuletide Carols

Last time, I may not have made my email address quite clear. Please use:

At about age 24, I would have hated the thought of Joseph having an earlier wife, or being more than ten years, maximum, older than Mary: I would have preferred the Catholic interpretation of the "brothers and sisters" whom the Gospels give Jesus being in fact cousins. At about age 46, I felt deliciously sympathetic to the Protestant view of those siblings being Mary's younger children by Joseph. At 64, I find myself more and more drawn to the theory that one member of the Holy Family knew what it was to be widowed of a beloved earlier spouse. Some ancient apocryphal writers named her Melcha.


How good that woman must have been
Who helped to grow the soul
Of him who made those free from sin
A loving family whole.
O Melcha, Joseph's former wife,
The mother of his sons
And daughters blessed to share the life
Of God's most holy ones --

Your spirit always stayed with him.
How gladly would I paint
You at the crib with all of them:
Yuletide's forgotten saint!
Saint Melcha, pray help ease each heart
Who, widowed, aching, grieves
The union that death keeps apart
Through longing Christmas Eves.

I believe this could be sung to the tune of either "O Little Town of Bethlehem" or "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. Speaking of which -- it seems to me that "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" would sound better to the tune of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" than vice versa. Has anyone else got an opinion about this?


Oh, poor little Baby!
We've weighted You down
With vast expectations
And pointy sharp crown.

We expect You to heal
In one single breath
All our ages of conflict,
Of greed, war, and death.

We expect You to clean
With one wave of Your hand
All the messes we've made
Over God's lovely land.

We've made waiting for You
Pious reason to shirk
What parts we might play
In God's holiest work.

No wonder You'll turn
From the conquest we seek,
To die on the cross
With the feeble and meek!

Does this one mark me as a child of the Sixties?
I have no particular melody in mind. I'd thought of trying to fit new words to something like "The Coventry Carol" or perhaps -- ironically -- "Oh Come, Little Children." But these words insisted on flowing out the way they wanted, two days ago.
Some years ago I tried to read a book which made the point that the word we translate "meek" in the Biblical Beatitudes originally meant something more closely akin to "balanced" in the martial arts sense: meeting situations with proportionate actions and reactions. Unfortunately, as nearly as I could see, the rest of the book was all padding for this one idea -- but the idea itself is certainly well worth consideration, so I thank the author heartily for bringing it to my attention.
I do not know whether posting these verses -- hot off my brain the week before Christmas 2008 -- on my blog constitutes "publishing" in the copyright sense, or not. I'd offer them to Public Domain right now, but am not sure I have a right to do so. In any case, I surely wouldn't be the one to prosecute anyone using them.

Friday, October 31, 2008


October 31, 2008
Home archeology (sifting and sorting through decades' worth of mss. and other assorted clutter) has turned up several copies of an antique self-publication:
BAR SINISTRE. Story & pictures by Frances Lauren [a pseudonym I crafted for myself in those salad days when I actually feared fame enough to threaten my private life] c1967, 1968 [the year I turned 24]. Since I have found this one offered on the Internet for quite a flattering price, it seems only fair to ask a donation of $50 apiece for my own old copies; $40 in combination with:
THE FOLLIES OF SIR HARALD. Green Knight Publishing, c2001. $10 in combination with BAR SINISTRE, otherwise $15.
Explanation: In the 1990's, I returned to the central characters of Bar Sinistre, doing a sort of alternative remake of their story in a more or less Chretien-de-Troyes Arthurian universe as opposed to my original heavily Americanized Malory-cum-Prince Valiant-cum-T.H.White one. The only original character of the 1960s supporting cast to reappear in the 1990s one was Sir Harald's horse Goblin. Follies is in no sense a sequel.
Sorry, I prefer not to attempt dealing over the Internet. Please email me for snail-mail directions. After shipping and handling costs, all proceeds from these "sales" will go to charity.
Phyllis Ann Karr
(Mrs. Clifton Alfred Hoyt)

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Thursday, July 31.
Well, after only a quarter of an hour refiguring out the right buttons to hit to get this screen, I'm able to tell the world that tomorrow I'm off to this year's Diversicon in Minneapolis. It's a good little con, that I always enjoy. Some year maybe I can see some of you there?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Experimental Stage (July 15, 2008)

As will no doubt be obvious, I'm still very new to this side of computerdom. Haven't yet figured out how to delete my designer's message, which may still appear above. [Oh! Below!] But didn't my designer do a great job? (Visit the personal website she laid out for me! My husband's middle name is really Alfred, but this looks like an easy fix for anyone who knows how.)
More will appear here as I learn more about this. Meanwhile, let me recommend the Thomas Love Peacock website, from which you can print out many of his works. NIGHTMARE ABBEY may offer the best first taste of this 19th century author.
Love and best wishes!
Phyllis Ann Karr (Mrs. Clifton A. Hoyt)