The Ancient Modern 

A Series of Reflections on Poetics, Personhood & the Cosmos by the Author of As Far As I Can Tell & Now A Major Motion Picture

257. Long Into Night   NEW

256. The Archangel Contemplates A Buddha  

255. The Tale of the Two Guides 

254. Unconditional Conditions 

253. The Chase

252. Motion Picture Soundtrack  

251. Texit (with Audio)

250. One Question Asked Three Ways 

249. To Thusness 

248. I’ll Step Now Down (with Audio)

247. Aeternus Adventus 

246. Wide-Wide 

245. There Was No Beginning 

244. No One Knows the Hour 

243. Inherence / Repercussion 

242. Theotokion 

241. Patience

240. What I Think When I Think Of The Moon

239. Who Are Awake 

238. Where (Not) To Look 

237. Prothesis

236. Eighteen Death Haiku 

235. Enclosed, Disguised

234. Unless I Ache  

233. Seven Images of Opposition 

232. Castles 

231. Did I?  

230. To You The Cursed 

229. Observances  

228. Here And In A Thousand 

227. To Them That Go Down  

226. Orthodox 

225. Step Outside  

224. Prima Causa 

223. The Trees 

232.  I Have No Island  

231.  Vin Nouveau 

230.  Always to the Clouds

229.  Return To The Elixir

228.  I Tried Walking Off The Job

227.  Informed 

226.  Boundary 

225.  The Sunday of the Paralytic 

224.  Whereunto Shall I Liken This Generation? 

223.  Apprentice 

222.  More Are The Children 

221.  Wounded Reaching 

220.  In Praise of Arthur Machen  

219.  Between Two Lives 

218.  Those Who Came Before  

217.  Poetic Catechism

216.  Telling Time 

215.  Give Everything Away 

214. Physics of Insight  

213. Water, As A Witness 

212. Song of the Pacific Boatman 

211. Room of Exits  

210. Standard of Living  

209. Bar Gods 

208. Timing 

207.  I Am Like The Birds 

206.  The Old Learning 

205.  Scientia Nostra 

204.  Heir of Prophecies, Part X 

203.  Heir of Prophecies, Part IX  

202.  Heir of Prophecies, Part VIII 

201.  Heir of Prophecies, Part VII 

200.  Heir of Prophecies, Part VI 

199.  Heir of Prophecies, Part V 

198.  Heir of Prophecies, Part IV

197.  Heir of Prophecies, Part III 

196.  Heir of Prophecies, Part II  

195.  Heir of Prophecies, Part I  

194.  How You’ll Know  

193.  I Watched With Them  

192.  The Noise from the Party 

191.  Correction

190.  Periodical

189.  Etc., Missing You  

188.  After All, Heaven 

187.  Anyone Could Find It  

186.  The Old Answers 

185.  But If It Dies 

184.  A System of Cross-Referenced Files 

183.  Voyage

182.  Another Dream of Yellow Millet

181.  Nile 

180.  The Sea Is Nothing 

179.  Passing Through

178.  Primrose

177.  Mortal

176.  Anguish In This Flame 

175.  The Idolaters  

174.  Prayer and Germination 

173.  What More From Earth?  

172.  Hellenic Haiku 

171.  Ritual 

170.  Anagogy 

169.  Open 

168.  On Leaving Two Spaces  After A Sentence 

167.  Defer  

166.  Solipsis 

165.  Mythopoesis  

164.  The Forest Shade  

163.  A Little Rhyme About Trash 

162.  Damn Normans  

161.  Lear   

160.  20/20 

159.  Three Stories of Education

158.  The Chrysoberyl Necklace… Fairies & Ghosts 

157.  Celestial Cartography

156.  Center

155.  By the Stream

154.  Honestly

153.  Certain

152.  Night Sounds

151.  Abbreviated

150.  Letter

149.  Feast of Books

148.  The Descent

147.  Endgame

146.  The Writer’s Wife

145.  Two Saints

144.  Lost

143.  All the Writing of the World

142.  Silent Water, Spoken Light

141.  Le Pays de L’Amour-Propre

140.  Subway

139.  All the Rage

138.  Haunted By Virtue

137.  Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 5…Fairies & Ghosts  

136.  Christopher

135.  To Write A Poem Like Baudelaire

134.  Old Tom Has Some Work To Do

133.  Terms of Venery for Solitary Birds

132. The Rabbit Creation Myth

131.  Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 4…Fairies & Ghosts  

130.  Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 3…Fairies & Ghosts  

129.  It’s a Lifelong Singalong, If You Let It Be

128.  The Work of Reading

127.  Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 2…Fairies & Ghosts  

126.  Out of Courtesy

125.  Beautiful Moon! Bella Luna!

124.  Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 1… Fairies & Ghosts

123.  Honesty

122.  Two, Hearts, Two Paths, Two Ends

121.  Seconds

120.  This And Not Another

119.  My Friend Shal

118.  Local Weather

117.  Eat Them All

116.  Life Untended

115.  The Woman Who Followed the Wind… Fairy Tales and Ghost Stories

114.  The Terror of the Day’s Routine

113.  I Saw the Wonder and Glory

112.  The Elixir of Life Continued

111.  Human Life in a Lotus

110.  Regarding Eggs

109.  Evelyn Mary’s Dictionary

108.  Isolation and Permanence During the Pandemic

107.  A Poem While Gardening

106.  Poetry and the Real

105.  I Dream a Renovation

104.  Fratricide

103.  The CMB

102.  Stories from the Other World

101.  Eve

100.  Cape Town

99.  Minotaur

98.  Interpreting Depression

97.  Fitted for Gracefulness

96.  The Boy Who Tasted the Moon

95.  Listen

94.  The Unknown Project

93.  A Tale of Jerusalem

92.  Sermon

91.  Hospitality and Insurance

90.  The Floating Crucifix

89.  We Dream of Cosmic Laundry

88.  Further Thoughts on Myth

87.  The Raven Creation Myth

86.  Even from the Silence

85.  The Heart of the Debate

84.  To Craft a Recognizable Story

83.  Together, Whispering

82.  Only a Gesture

81.  Comparing the Metaphysical Triads

80.  As the Beginning, So the End

79.  Poetry and the Image of God

78.  Stress, Sensitivity and the Inner Life

77.  Overlooking a River Downstream from a Clearcut Forest

76.  The Lost City, A Fairy Tale… Thin Places

75.  On the Way to Church Today

74.  The Reflection

73.  Tang Poems

72.  Countdown

71.  The Eighth Step Is the Water

70.  Heaven

69.  Returning to a Symbolic Worldview

68.  Reflections on Lalibela, the Spiritual Heart of Ethiopia

67.   41, 68, 99, 11, 6

66.  Behind the Silk Mirror

65.  The Copper Chain 

64.  The Elixir

63.  Searching for the Center, Part 3

62.  Searching for the Center, Part 2

61.  Searching for the Center, Part 1

60.  Two Birds Over the Sky in Addis…

59.  Prophecy and Narration

58.  Jimsonweed

57.  Dream Tornadoes Make Deadly Company

56.  My Impressions on Safari: The Infinite and the Absolute

55.  The Runes

54.  A Thousand-Year Storm

53.  Late Night on the Favorite Five

52.  Empty

51.  Interpreting Asian Poetry: Passivity or Conservation?

50.  A Reaction to the Recently Televised Self-Surgery

49.  The Loom

48.   The Garden Tour

47.   On the Relationship of Good & Evil in Religion & Fairytales

46.  Nicodemus

45.  Poetic Education

44.  Never By the Clock

43.  Literacy as Medicine for Obsessive Thoughts

42.  Tea Will Teach You

41.  The Bell Park

40.  Cain

39.  The Importance of Modern Art

38.  The Carpenter’s Wife, a Fairy Tale

37.  The Ongoing Debate

36.  Inspiration

35.  A Combination of Wings… A Fairy Tale in Verse

34.  Something to Keep in Mind

33.  Shelter From the Noise

32.  The Coyote Creation Myth

31.  Some Advice for Contemporary Mesopotamians

30.  Science and Culture

29.  Ambrose and the River Troll

28.  I Am Drinking With Li Bai In New Mexico And We Interrogate The Moon!

27.  Sidereal Invitation

26.  Pleasure and Personhood

25.  Why You Should Read Arthur Machen

24.  Another Wednesday in Africa 

23.  The Orgy

22.  Rocks and Seeds

21.  Pain in Childbearing

20.  A Forgotten Tale of the Early Church

19.  Turtles as Revelation

18.  Psychological Astronomy

17.  Who Walks When I Am Walking (A Poem in Prose)

16.  The Wise General

15.  Too Many Doors

14.  Enjoying Slowly

13.  Poetry and Biology

12.  Handmade Beauty

11.  Ethics and Poetry

10.  A Pedestrian Nightmare

9.  The Falsity of Measurement

8.  On The Eagle and the Lightning

7.  What Heaven Reveals

6   On the Two Types of Music

5.  The Hidden Life of Time

4.  Poetry and Environment

3. Time, Death and Science

2.  Two Poems

1    Holy Wednesday: A Poem

2 thoughts on “Joshua Alan Sturgill

  1. Comments on Reflection XII: Handmade Beauty:

    The connection between how we express ourselves non-verbally, and non-physically, using the grammar and language as we put forth as words on paper (handwritten or typed, but not typed into an electronic document), usually distinguishes the amount of effort that we are willing to put into any matter.

    In this short reply, I am using a dictation program (Dragon) that allows me to “write” without typing or using a writing instrument such as a pen or pencil. What I say can be edited (and usually is edited, at least lightly), but I can never achieve the focus that comes from the slower writing process of using a pen on paper. I can type quickly and I can speak quickly, and– just ask my wife– my words usually somehow get me into trouble. The pen forces us to think-ahead, and that can only help us, right?

    I believe that setting our thoughts down for others to read is a sort of Beauty in itself. I would not have used that word, but I like how Joshua used it and has coined it for himself. Whether putting my thoughts down through writing using script or typing a few words into an online blog, many of us are trying to get our world-view across to others. I’ve never been able to write well in cursive. I can hardly remember how to write a capital Q or Z in script. For this reason, when I write, I use the method I first learned: printing.

    I went to elementary school in the early 1980s. Even back then, in a rural town on the East Coast, handwriting was being deemphasized in general. The typewriters had arrives many decades before the 80s, and my first use of a computer at school happened in about 1984. We were introduced to computers as newfangled typewriters.

    The loss of handwriting is a valid point here, but even worse, is the loss of Beauty that Joshua sees coming from our handwriting. I believe our thoughts ought to be the Beauty, not how we choose to express them. How we choose to express this Beauty is a personal choice for most of us. For Joshua, it seems, handwriting is important (and it is important for me too), but for others who have limited experience with this method of communication, the tool of choice is probably a computer keyboard or a phone’s touch screen– at least in the Western world where technology is readily available.

    However a person chooses to express their Beauty– if there is beauty inside of them– seems valid. In the same way that a person can use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to manipulate digital “matter,” others will use acrylic or oil paints on canvas to actually paint. For my writing methods, I choose to dictate, handwrite, and type. All of these methods allow me to express what I hope is Beauty.


    1. I really enjoyed this thoughtful post. I think you’re right about expressing the beauty any way we are able. I wonder if what grieves me most about the loss of handwriting is a loss of tradition and connection with past generations of pre-keyboard writers. I’ve heard that C.S. Lewis and Rene Guenon, as examples, handwrote whole manuscripts that required very little editing. How did they sustain a single narrative for such a long time!? I’m feeling good if I can get through a whole typed paragraph without the urge to check my phone! Slow, sustained thought, handwriting, expression of story and philosophy – the “beauty inside” – the connections seem deep, but fragile.


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