Media Vita

image ©dorahak

Media Vita

“In the midst of life

we are in death” sang fair

Notker the Stammerer


whose spoken words

when they emerged

wingless apart hobbled:


but when he sang

Notker’s sodden eyes

gathered gold like wheat


till we fared as kings

upon the bread of angels.


In the year 912, Notker the Stammerer, a monk of the Abbey of Saint Gall, is said to have written what became the Gregorian chant below, the English translation of which is a poetic adaption from the Book of Common Prayer (1549).

Media vita in morte sumus
quem quaerimus adjutorem
nisi te, Domine,
qui pro peccatis nostris
juste irasceris?

Sancte Deus,
sancte fortis,
sancte et misericors Salvator:
amarae morti ne tradas nos.

In the midst of life we are in death
of whom may we seek for succour,
but of thee, O Lord,
who for our sins
art justly displeased?

O Lord God most holy,
O Lord most mighty,
O holy and most merciful Saviour,
deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.

2 Samuel 14:14
We must all die;
we are like water spilled on the ground,
which cannot be gathered up again.
But God will not take away life,
and he devises means
so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.

Image for Cee's Flower of the Day (FOTD), November 15, 2021
Linda at dVerse: Quadrille#140 asks us to use some form of the word "fair"
in a poem of exactly 44 words. Click Mr. Linky and join in!

61 thoughts on “Media Vita

      1. Women hit hardest, unsurprisingly. Of course the rich were able to leave the cities and quarantine themselves in their country houses. Recently read of a non-conformist Puritan pastor who stayed in London to tend to the sick and dying while the state-sponsored CoE ecclesiastics left their parishes and fled. The mothers may have had a hard time smiling, but their clear-eyed perception of the way things were probably gave them more than their share of compassion.

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      2. Their notions of hygiene and how diseases spread were so up the creek that they probably spread the plagues rather than fled them. Life must have been so hard. I find it difficult to imagine. Life expectancy being in the thirties. Nasty, brutish and short.

        Liked by 1 person

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