St. Francis - Blessing of the Animals
Taelen Thomas, poetical showman
Melinda Coffey Armstead, piano & organ
Prelude: Animals Best Blessed at a Distance: Alligators, Buffalos, Skunks. Friendlier Beasts: Mice, Birds, Cats, Dogs
Poetry by: Taelen Thomas, George Eliot, Robinson Jeffers, Ambrose Bierce, Mother Goose, Robert Burns, Thomas Hardy, Pablo Neruda, Denise Levertov, Hafiz, Ogden Nash
Music by: Libby Larson, Ned Rorem, Sergei Prokofiev, John Thompson, François Couperin, Josef Haydn, Elliot Griffis, Astor Piazzolla, William Gillock
Offertory: The Friendly Beasts . . . 13th C. anon. French text and melody arr. by Daniel Burton
Postlude: Chorale from Finale, 3rd Organ Symphony . . . Camille Saint-Saëns
We’ve been missing the St. Francis Blessing-of-the-Animals celebration for years, and there’s a lot of pent-up barking, growling, mewing, neighing, hissing, and braying waiting for an outlet. And that’s just the pet owners.
Years ago I found a pet store in Marina selling tarantulas for ten dollars. I looked for the big slow, meditative kind that rarely bites. It would be charming to release a few in the church pews for the Blessing. with the notice in the bulletin that they were mostly harmless but to leave any that growled for the ushers to deal with. The ushers rebelled, so that was that. This year we have braver ushers, so prepare for a treat!
OK, just kidding. They vetoed me again without even a discussion. As if my parents had returned to intervene once more in anything remotely exciting and fun.
Still, if there are enough dogs and cats in the sanctuary, there is going to be an exchange of opinions, recorded and worth listening to. Some think that pets are just animals that don’t taste good, but pet owners know the truth: They touch you in the regions near your heart. They change you in ways that tell, and you will never forget.
Our guest artist today, Taelen Thomas, is well known as an entertainer, orator, actor and poet. He has a unique, resonant delivery and a riveting stage presence. Onstage, when he enacts Mark Twain, he BECOMES Mark Twain on the Mississippi. He is in touch with nature and its creatures. He has a friendly black Labrador, Belle, and we often see them walking together down our street in Carmel, for we are close neighbors and even closer friends. EnJOY!