Lexicon : Sophia Nugent Siegal

“As poets and as readers we are both the users and the transmitters of this lexicon. Today we need to keep adding not subtracting meaning, remembering not forgetting, to connect ourselves to the chain that ultimately joins all cultures.”

Sophia Nugent-Siegal

Welcome to Lexicon

CONVERSATION with SophiaWittgenstein famously concluded his Tractatus with the memorable comment: “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent”.

Unlike Ludwig, Sophia, in whose memory this site is maintained, did not accept “remaining silent” as a viable intellectual option—not because she thought ultimate meaning any more expressible than did Wittgenstein, but because she thought the battle was necessary.

Heroic, doomed to failure, absolutely essential.

Read on …

July 30th, 2020

July 30th, 2020 Another year, another birthday, unmade from life that should have been. Yet how grateful I am that you lived, my darling—that you lived in the world, and lived in it in such richness of inner being. You were so light in your step in life, graceful in every gesture, but deep is the impression left on those who see. The Snowflake and the Star Sometimes I feel I am akin only to the dead That all my consubstantiality is with bones Can it be that I have no remnant amongst the living? Subtle as fire I have seen

The Shimmering Otherness of RAIJ

The Shimmering Otherness of RAIJ RAIJ (Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus), the eclectic and multitalented group of musicians based in the UK, recently released their latest album Songs of Yearning (plus a limited edition accompanying album, Nocturnes). Prayer, the last track on Songs of Yearning, has a particular significance for me. It is RAIJ’s lovely arrangement of the simple prayer which I sang driving home from the cemetery one day after visiting Sophia’s tomb.  It is—for me and for those who love Sophia—one of the ripples in time of her beautiful young life. But it is also a song

Blogpost in a Plague Year

Blogpost in a Plague Year             There is a very real sense in which the coronavirus epidemic is an overturning of the world.  Most people are aware—even if only subliminally—that our world has changed forever. Nothing, I suspect, will ever be quite the same again. The death of one’s child gives a profound perspective on the fragility of human existence—a fragility now being borne out to us (as it has throughout history) in a time of plague—so I understand how disorienting the unfolding catastrophe of the pandemic is for so many people. However, the terrible

Azure Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher This past week I have on four occasions seen glorious azure kingfishers, singly or in a pair, in heart-leaping flight over the now-flowing waters of our local creek. No photograph can do justice to these resplendent little creatures. They truly must be experienced “momently”. It made me think of a poem I wrote a long time ago—long before Sophie died, long before she became seriously ill, when she was still a teenager. It was written following one of our many walks together. I had dedicated it to Sophie, because it reflected her developing worldview, in which she saw

Love is eternal. . .

Sophia 30.07.1991---17.01.2014 Loving you always. . .   And if this was the world’s last night I should not fear to be undone. Love is the songline of the soul, A cascading radiance, linked like synapses in the brain, Rippling in one scintillant universal thought. For this is grief’s impossible truth, the paradox Lived in deepest loss. Love is eternal. Leaf XLVII by R. Nugent (from Leaves: Poems for my Daughter)    

January 17th, 2020|Tags: , , , |

Of Love and Light. . .

Of Love and Light. . . Sophie, age 4, with her beloved Auntie Kaye, stepping into the light, Assisi, Italy This Christmas, Sophie’s article about Christian mission has really been resonating in my mind. The article concludes with the following paragraph: “Jesus didn’t lay out a grand plan for a Christian social system. He came to speak to individual men and women to lead them to faith. By busily searching for the mote in the eye of political institutions, one risks failing to see the beam in one’s own. Moreover, the conflation of Christian theology and political thought

December 25th, 2019|Tags: , , , |

Another Spring…

Another Spring. . . Written 2 years ago, the poem below is as true this year as it will be each year of the future you will never see, my darling. But this too is true---that you live in every word of it, Soph. You are in every thought, in every word I write. For one of the things you taught me, beautiful child, is the discipline of choosing light over darkness. . . the necessary discipline of shaping from sorrow a painful beauty. Another spring, and the maple tree Where last night’s stars, those glittering baubles, Tangled pendant in

October 30th, 2019|Tags: , , |

Quadrant: Sophia’s Poems

Quadrant: Sophia’s Poems Quadrant magazine has published two of Sophia’s poems in their October edition. How wonderful this is! I think Sophie would be very pleased. One of the things that would please her most was that the poems were submitted, and subsequently accepted, with no reference having been made either to her age at the time of writing them or to the fact of her death. The poems were taken from Antiquity, her earliest collection, which was concerned largely with mythological themes. The two poems published were written when she was 13. They are thus the work of a very

A Beautiful Thing. . .

A Beautiful Thing. . . MTC Cronin's Sometimes the Soul, dedicated to Sophia, has been published in a limited edition of only 22 copies---one for each year of Sophia's life. Each signed and numbered copy is printed on archival paper. The booklets are hand-stitched by artist, Fiona Dempster (who also provided the title calligraphy), and have been wrapped in acid-free tissue paper. They are designed to last for hundreds of years. Sophia was an historian as well as a poet concerned with time and mortality. It seems only fitting, in her memory, to make beautiful objects of beautiful ideas that

September 12th, 2019|Tags: , , , |

A Pause in Space-Time: Sometimes the Soul

A Pause in Space-Time The first reading of MTC Cronin’s Sometimes the Soul, dedicated to Sophia, was given to a small invited audience on September 24th. It was a special event—a wonderful poem read to an appreciative audience under a brilliant blue sky with rainbow lorikeets for accompaniment. It was gentle, intimate, and real—a “pause in space-time” that will speak to those who understand why it matters. Sophia was---and is---a joy and a gift. The poems written for her award are intended as a gift to others in her memory. MTC Cronin’s Sometimes the Soul is a beautiful thing. Sophia would

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