“Carmel”

How long must we still dither, hedge our bets?
The fallen flames leap high, and burn so bright—
Despite our best attempts to douse the wood,
To soak the sacrifice, and drown the stone,
And frenzied prayers to gods who’d do our will,
Our self-inflicted wounds accomplished nothing.
The sign is clear: The Lord alone is God!
Why will we not repent, nor bend our knee
Before our Maker and our rightful King?

I’ve always found the Bible’s story of Elijah to be both a fascinating story and a fertile source of lessons applicable to the world today. (Which is, I suspect, part of why I’m so fond of Mendelssohn’s oratorio.) I began this poem back in 2016, when the first two lines flew into my head, but I didn’t get any farther until I took it up again earlier this month and finished it. And then it occurred to me that it would be a good fit to post in this, the first week of Lent.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments), follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things), or get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

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Strategic Primer assistive programs release, development report, and roadmap (0.4.9015-rc3)

In the three months since the previous release candidate and point release, there have been a number of mostly-minor improvements to the suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer. I had hoped this would be “version 0.4.9015 final,” but in addition to a number of unambiguous “fixes,” I added enough new features and such that I didn’t feel comfortable marking it as such yet. Next time, I expect. Perhaps even this very code might just be relabeled, if it proves solid enough. I’ve made a new “point release,” version 0.4.9014.3, that includes the bug fixes described below and those in 0.4.9014.2 but not any new features beyond 0.4.9014, and also a release candidate for 0.4.9015 as I was mentioning. You can download them from GitHub (at those links) as usual. Continue reading

Ashes

For dust I am, and to dust I shall return.

And so shall all my works, such as have not already crumbled to ashes in my hand.

By the nature I have inherited from every ancestor, and recapitulated of my own doing, I am inherently inclined “to hate God and my neighbor.”

What life I have comes to me—and what of any worth I am able to do, I am able to do—only by the unfathomable grace of God extended to me for the sake of Jesus Christ his Son.

Whenever time and circumstance bring me to reflection, I can say little more than (to adapt the epigram of Ovid I found two years ago) “Videbam meliora probabamque, deteriora sequebar“: “I have seen and approved the better, [but] followed the worse.”

Lord, you have been gracious and merciful, permitting this unworthy person to continue in life, health, and breath. To this but add the mercy of repentance, and the grace to walk in your ways!

I am not my own; I have been bought at a price (a price far heavier than the symbolic ashes of last year’s palms), and so belong to Jesus Christ.

Shine Cycle Character Profile: Blanchefleur

This is the next in the series of profiles of characters who will appear in the Shine Cycle, my fantasy-series-in-preparation.

Blanchefleur – Lady in waiting to Rhiannon. When the King was court bard to Arthur as Taliesin he fell in love with her and she with him, but Merlin warned them that unless they postponed their love tragedy would ensue. Much later, she appeared in the Empire at the same time as the rest of the Chosen. Continue reading

Shine Cycle Character Profile: Regina

This is the next in the series of profiles of characters who will appear in the Shine Cycle, my fantasy-series-in-preparation.

Regina Princess at large, journeyman mage under the tutelage of Windstorm of the Rivers Kingdom, and a senior ombudsman in the Imperial Service. She has declined to attempt the great-mage examination even though she is obviously eminently qualified. Continue reading

2017 Review, 2018 Goals

In this last full week of the civil year, as in past years I’ve taken this opportunity to review the year that was and set new goals for the coming year. I began with the two “magna opera” that have taken up so much of my attention, the Shine Cycle on Tuesday and Strategic Primer on Wednesday. Today, I’ll cover “the rest,” starting with a review of the goals I set for myself a year ago. Continue reading

Strategic Primer 2017 Review, 2018 Goals

As the year draws to a close, I am again looking back to the goals I set a year ago, and forward to set new goals for 2018. I began with goals related to the Shine Cycle yesterday; today, I’ll consider Strategic Primer, the strategy game I’ve been developing in one form or another for many years, starting with the goals I set back in January. Continue reading