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Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Secret

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: The Secret
The Secret
I met God in the morning,
When my Day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.
All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very troubled sea.
Other ships were blown and battered.
Other ships were sore distressed;
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.
Then I thought other mornings
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I, too, had loosed the moorings
With the Presence left behind.
So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way;
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day.
~ Dr. Ralph S. Cushman

The Love Chapter

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: The Love Chapter -- I Cor. 13
The Love Chapter -- I Cor. 13
If I could like an angel preach
And with all wisdom others teach;
Yet, if God’s love were not in me,
All this as sounding brass would be.
The love of God, naught takes its place --
No gifts, nor works; not even faith.
The love of God is patient, kind;
It envies not, no fault doth find.
This love divine, seeks not its own,
Will bear all things when self is gone
And love divine behave aright --
No evil thinks, and shows no pride;
Cannot rejoice in what is wrong;
But in the truth -- even though alone.
Yea! love divine will all endure;
Hopes and believes what’s best and pure.
And love divine shall yet increase
When prophecy and tongues shall cease.
We know and speak in part while here --
It will be so till He appear.
Like thro’ a glass we see things here
Then face to face -- there He is near --
And now abides Faith, Hope, and Love --
But greatest of them all is Love.
~ Maurice Boursen --

Birth Night

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Birth Night
Birth Night
Here is where stars are falling softly,
continually, and the snow is white,
white as the white of doves’ wings; here
where snow crystals sparkle in the
blue moonlight, and here where things are
pure and sweet, there is peace.
--Here is God, and here moreover is
Christ, that beautiful Christ who was
born on this night, and to whom all
choirs are singing, and for whom
all chimes are pealing, and because
of whom there is tonight joy o’er all
the countryside.  
-- forgotten for a time individual
destinies, for we are one, we frail human
beings, this night, as we rejoice and
feel once more this great beauty which
God has given us; and it is far too
much beauty to hold at once.
-- God was so kind, O Christ-Child
to give us Thee, so infinitely kind --
to be our loving Saviour, to teach us
to walk in love and to know that some
day this great peace we feel tonight
may be ours forever and for all time.
~ Author Unknown

Gloria In Excelsis

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Gloria in Excelsis
The glory-song of the ages lifts and rings
Where an organ rolls its thunder to the sky,
And a great cathedral choir stands and sings:
“Gloria in Excelsis.” Like a cry
Of victory it sounds across the earth
To herald out the little Christ Child’s birth.
The carolers down many a darkened street
Raise glad triumphant voices to the stars.
Climbing the windless air the song is sweet
And heaven itself has lowered its jeweled bars
That words once showered on a field’s white sod
May take their straight way to the throne of God.
“Gloria in Excelsis,” far and clear
From upflung throats of bells there comes the shout,
And through the night for listening hearts to hear,
The silver singing of great chimes ring out.
O sing it, shout it, and may nothing dim
The Christmas music mankind lifts for Him.
~ Grace Noll Crowell

Lessons From Nature

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Lessons from nature
From the prisons of anxious tho’ts that greed has builded,
From the fetters that envy has wrought, and pride had gilded,
From the noise of the crowded ways and the fierce confusion,
From the folly that wastes its days in the world of illusion,
(Ah, but the life is lost that frets and languishes there!)
I would escape to be free in the joy of the open air.

By the faith that the flowers show when they bloom unbidden,
By the calm of the river’s flow to a goal that is hidden,
By the trust of the tree that clings to its deep foundation,
By the courage of wild birds’ wings on the longing migration,
(Wonderful secret of peace that abides in nature’s breast!)
Teach me how to confide, and live my life, and rest.
~ H. Van Dyke (untitled)


From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Habits
What habits build my character better, braver, stronger?
What habits make my health secure; make life finer, longer?
What habits keep my mind alert and farther seeing?
What habits help me in my work, my highest talents freeing?
What habits make me sweet and strong to aid a friend in sorrow?
Help someone stand against the wrong? Find new hope for the morrow?
What habits spread Christ’s praise abroad?
Help me ever near to God?
Author Unknown

God In The Marsh

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: God in the Marsh
As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sand,
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God;
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies,
In the freedom that fills all the space ‘twixt the marsh and the skies;
By so many roots as the marsh-grass send in the sand,
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God.
~ S. Lanier (?) [untitled]

Peace, Be Still

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Peace, Be Still
I found a spot of beauty rare,
Both God and nature lingered there;
And in the quiet of the hill
I hear God whisper, “Peace, be still.”
In the deep arch of blue above
I read of His unbounded love
While in the murmur of the breeze,
The gentle rustling of the trees,
I heard His voice speak low and sweet:
“Fear not, my child, go forth and meet
Life squarely, for it is My will,
Receive My blessing: Peace, be still.”
~ M. Elizabeth Coulson (?) [untitled]


From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Release
Peace I have found in the soft-wind’s singing
And a glad new rest for my heart;
Gladness and joy in the gay bird’s winging
Into the west, peace impart;
Into my heart comes a silent lifting
Of a prayer to the skies above --
Here, in the quiet of the dew-wet evening,
I shall throw all my cares away;
Sorting them over, I shall go singing,
Leaving them here by the way.
~ Margaret Schaeffer Connelly

Jesus For Me

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Jesus For Me
Jesus For Me
In the beginning of my day, with its care and its problems,
Jesus shall be my Counselor and my Help.
In the beginning of my temptation,
Jesus shall be my Defense.
In the beginning of discouragement,
Jesus shall be my Strength.
In the beginning of every joy,
Jesus shall receive my praise.
In the beginning of all my plans and hopes,
Jesus shall be my supreme Guide.
~ Author Unknown

Psalm Of The Teacher

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: A Psalm of the Teacher
A Psalm of The Teacher
The Lord is my teacher.
I shall not lose the way to wisdom.
He leadeth me in the lovely paths of learning,
He prepareth a lesson for me every day;
He findeth the clear fountains of instruction,
Little by little He showeth me the beauty of truth.
The world is a great book that He hath written,
He turneth the leaves for me slowly;
They are inscribed with images and letters,
His face poureth light on the pictures and the words.
Then am I glad when I perceive His meaning.
He taketh me by the hand to the hilltop of vision;
In the valley also He walketh beside me,
And in the dark places He whispereth to my heart.
Yes, though my lesson be hard it is not hopeless,
For the Lord is very patient with his slow scholar;
He will wait awhile for my weakness,
He will help me to read the truth through my tears.
Surely Thou wilt enlighten me daily by joy and sorrow;
And lead me at last, O God, to the perfect knowledge of Thee.
~ Henry Van Dyke

Prayer For When I Am Weary

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Prayer for when I am weary
Lord, when I am weary with toiling,
And burdensome seem Thy commands,
If my load should lead to complaining,
Lord, show me Thy hands,
Thy nail-pierced hands, Thy cross-torn hands,
My Savior, show me Thy hands.
Christ, if ever my footsteps should falter,
And if I be prepared for retreat,
If desert or thorn cause lamenting,
Lord, show me Thy feet,
Thy bleeding feet, Thy nail-scarred feet,
My Jesus show me Thy feet.
O God, dare I show Thee --
My hands and my feet!
Author Unknown

Holy Spirit's Breath

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Holy Spirit’s Breath
Breathe ore me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.
~ Edwin Hatch

Draw Thou my soul, O Christ, closer to Thine;
Breathe into every wish Thy will divine!
Raise my low self above, won by Thy deathless love;
Ever, O Christ, through mine let Thy life shine.
Not for myself alone may my prayer be;
List Thou Thy world, O Crist, closer to Thee!
Cleanse it from guilt and wrong; teach is salvation’s song,
Till earth, as heaven, fulfill God’s holy will.
~ Lucy Larcom

Building Of The Ship

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Longfellow’s Building Of The Ship
From “The Building of the Ship”
“Like unto ships far off at sea,
Outward or homeward bound are we.
Before, behind, and all around,
Floats and swings the horizon’s hound,
Seems at its distant rim to rise
And climb the crystal wall of skies,
And then again to turn and sink,
As if we could slide from its outer brink.
Ah! it is not the sea;
It is not the sea that sinks and shelves,
But ourselves
That rock and rise
With endless and uneasy motion,
Now touching the very skies,
Now sinking into the depths of the ocean.
Ah! if our souls but poise and swing
Like the compass in its brazen ring,
Ever level and ever true
To the toil and task we have to do,
We shall sail securely, and safely reach
The Fortune Isles, on whose shining beach
The sights we see and the sounds we hear,
Will be those of joy and not of fear!”

I remember Mom loved Longfellow’s poetry. Especially his “The Song of Hiawatha.”

New Year's Day

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Oxenham’s New Year’s Day
Each man is captain of his soul,
And chooses his own crew;
But the Pilot knows the unknown seas,
And he will bring us through.
~ John Oxenham
Mom typed out only the above verse, but I thought I had heard this before so I looked it up. Oxenham wrote a longer poem which can be found here:
But it also reminded me of another poet’s exploration/interpretation of a similar theme. William Ernest Henley wrote “Invictus” which uses similar imagery but really gives a message rather opposite to Oxenham’s. Text and background info can be found here:
I remember one of Mom’s brother’s reciting both these poems. I wonder if she shared with him or him with her, or if Grandma or Grandpa Troyer enjoyed poetry and this was a family favorite? I think it’s most likely Mom shared with Uncle Omar.

Praying Friends

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Praying Friends
I want my friends to pray for me,
While traveling o’er life’s rugged way,
That I may true and faithful be,
And live for Jesus every day.
I want my friends to pray for me,
To bear my tempted soul above,
And intercede with God for me;
I need the prayers of those I love.
Author Unknown


From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Service
You cannot serve the Master
With stress on I and me --
Self-centered service never finds
Thy Father close to thee.
But when you lose yourself in love
He’ll love the world through thee.
Untitled, Author Unknown

Primer Lesson

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Primer Lesson by Sandburg
Primer Lesson by Carl Sandburg
Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go, it’s
not easy to call them back.
They wear long boots, hard boots,
they walk off proud;
They can’t hear you calling --
Look out how you use proud words.

True Humility

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: Quote on Humility
“The true way to be humble is not to stoop until you are smaller than yourself, but to stand at your real height against some higher nature that will show you what the real smallness of your greatness is.” ~ Phillips Brooks
She added beneath the quote: Stand and look at Jesus.

What Does Easter Mean To You

From My Mother’s Poetry Notebook: What does Easter Mean To You
What does Easter mean to you?
Stately church with cushioned pew,
Where, Lenten season gone at last
And days of self-denial past,
Richly-clad, devoted throngs
Of worshipers unite in songs
Of praise in lily-scented air?
Is this what makes your Easter fair?
Does it mean the end of winter’s reign,
Bright skies and welcome warmth again,
Singing of birds, budding of trees,
Sweet spring odors on the breeze
From daffodil and crocus bed
And balsam branches overhead?
Sad is the world and cold and gray
If this is all of Easter Day.
But if this blessed season brings,
A firmer faith in holy things;
Assurance of a living Lord;
A strengthening of the tender cord
Of love that binds us to the life to come
Where loved ones ‘wait us in the heavenly home,
No pain or loss can e’er afface the bliss,
Dear friend of Easter, when it means all this.

Untitled poem with no author credit, hand-typed on the back of an old bulletin from Pleasant View Mennonite Church, (Pastor Lester Mann, my uncle, Aunt Elsie’s husband); no date.
Found in one my mother’s poetry notebooks.