Buechner and I have an old aquaintance, but we've never walked together in a fictional world for an extended time. My familiarity with Godric comes from his daily meditation book, Listening to Your Life, which I hold most dear to my heart. So, it is with pleasure that I am finally getting to read this book in total. I started it some time ago but couldn't get into the medieval tone, so it's been on the TBR shelf for awhile. Back in January, one of the Godric passages in LTYL moved me beyond words (in reference to Joe R.), and since then, I've been thinking about it more. So, here I am, diving in again, this time ready to swim.
Four pages in, I have come to this place to record some touches of humor and beauty.
On why he has sent Reginald to Godric:
"To put your life on parchment, Godric," Ailred says. His cough's like the splitting of wood. "To unbushel the light of your days for the schooling of children. To set them a path to follow." Did he but know where Godric's path has led or what sights his light has lit, he'd bushel me back fast enough. I've told Mother Reginald tales to rattle his beads and blush his fishbelly tonsure pink as a babe's bum, but he turns them all to treacle with his scratching quill. I scoop out the jakes of my remembrance, and he censes it all with his clerkish screed till it reeks of mass. He brings me broth and plover's eggs. He freshens my straw when I foul it. If some dream shipwrecks me at night, he's there with his taper to beacon me safe to shore. Just the sight of his sheepface gives me the cramp. (6-7)
That's funny stuff. And so human. I had to look up about 5 words (tonsure, treacle, jakes, censes, screed) to really get the greatness of this passage. It was worth the effort. Especially jakes, which means privy. What a great image.
Then just two paragraphs later:
That's five friends, one for each of Jesu's wounds, and Godric bears their mark still on what's left of him as in their time they all bore his on them. What's friendship, when all's done, but the giving and taking of wounds? (7)
I anticipate finishing this book and wanting more.