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Monday, March 13, 2017

A Prayer To The God Of Nature

A Prayer To The God Of Nature

God of the roadside weed,
Grant I may humbly serve the humblest need.

God of the scarlet rose,
Give me the beauty that Thy love bestows.

God of the honey bees,
Help me to reach deep joys from all I see.

God of the spider's lure,
Let me, from mine own heart, unwind such grace.

God of the lilly's cup,
Till me! I hold the empty chalice up.

God of the sea -gull's wings,
Bear me above each dark and turbulent thing.

God of the watchful owl,
Help me to see at midnight, like this fowl.

God of the antelope,
Teach me to scale the highest crags of Hope.

God of the burrowing mole,
Let cold earth have no terror for my soul.

God of the chrysalis
Grant that my grave may be a call of bliss.

God of the butterfly,
Help me to vanquish Death, although I die.

~  Fredric Lawrence Knowles

From my mother's poetry notebook

Hang Me Among Your Winds

Hang Me Among Your Winds

Hang me among your winds, O God,
     Above the tremulous stars,
Like a harp of quivering silver strings,
     Showering, as it swings,
          Its tuneful bars
     Of eerie music on the earth.

Play over me, God,
     Your cosmic melodies;
The gusty overture for Spring's
     Caprice and wayward April's mirth;
          The sensuous serenade
     Of summer, languid in the alder glade;
          The wistful symphonies
     Of Autumn; and Winter's rhapsodies
          Among the drifted dunes --
     Her lullabies and her torrential tunes
Moody with wild cadenzas, with fitful stress
          And poignant soundlessness.

Touch me, O God, with but a gesture --
     And let each finger sweep
Over my strings until they leap
     With life; and rain
Their silver chimes upon the plain,
In harmonies of far celestial spaces
     Of high and holy places.

~ Lew Sarett

From my mother's poetry notebook

Love's Beauty

Love's Beauty

All that I had I gave you, never dreaming
Of a return; for it was love I gave.
I gave as a star gives her beauty streaming
In deep of night to a dark western wave.
It was my spirit that I yielded to you,
Surrendering all things; and I asked no more
Than that my mystery none other knew
Should be the secret diadem you wore.

But love is richer than we ever know:
We lavish it, and love comes back to us
A thousandfold.  How can I think it so?
How else?  Our little child proclaims it thus.
For in him love returns, in flower and light,
More than I gave you in the glimmering night.

~ Archibald Rutledge

From my mother's poetry notebook

Sunday, March 5, 2017

High Flight

High Flight

Ah, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swinging
High in the sunlit silence.  Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

~ John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

From my mother's poetry notebook



The Dawn is a pale, cold nun
    with a silver rosary,
And saint am I in the morning,
     who would not be?

But a man of the world am I,
     Careless and debonair
When the gypsy Dusk comes out of the west
     With a star in her hair.

~ Nellie Burget Miller

What Is Poetry

What Is Poetry

The basic language of the soul,
Through which dumb life is made
At last, articulate;
The strangled cry
Of world-democracy, new-born,
With wide-eyed vision, unafraid;
          Rhythmic stir
               Of the primal clod,
          To follow the flute-call
               Up to God.

~ Nellie Burget Miller

From my mother's poetry notebook



Have you ever known the wonder of a June day in the clouds
With a soft breeze gently tugging at your bark?
Known the joy of sailing, sailing
Over mountain peak and town
Like a carefree wren or jasper meadow lark?
Have you felt the downy softness of a cloud upon your cheek,
Known the comfort of one pillowed neath your arm?
Known the thrill of drifting, drifting
Over endless seas of blue
On a balmy breeze that blows caresses warm?
Snow-white clouds float out to meet you,
Crystal palaces glide by,
Hazy dancers beckon to you from afar;
Rome may fall and worlds may totter,
Does it matter to you now
When your cloud skiff sails so surely for a star?

~ Margaret Harvey

From my mother's poetry notebook

Saturday, March 4, 2017

June Belongs To Me

June Belongs To Me

June belongs to me;
It is my legacy.

I treasure its sunny days,
It's panoply of wandering clouds
With sky-blue seas and open bays,
The haunts of thunder-surf reverberating loud.

Part of my wealth and my delight
Is new-green leaves that dance in the day
And whisper in awe at night
At the bright moon's silver-painting ray.

I count the warmth of summer rain,
The thirsty sun that drinks the water-ridden air,
The thrush's joyously ringing refrain
That spills from a swelling throat as I listen there.
I hoard the dark aroma of the wood,
Where the shadows seem to be weighed down
And lazy hours move in ponderous mood,
And brooks fashion of each boulder a jeweled crown.

And like a miser I grasp the ever-changing sight
A flash of wing, a shift of light so brief,
The splendor of the days, the secrets of the night
The fierceness of joy; and the mellowing of grief.

June belongs to me:
A priceless legacy.

~ Robert Lee Chadbourne

From my mother's poetry notebook

Friday, March 3, 2017

Marriage Values

Ten Commandments for Wives

1. Honor thy own womanhood, that thy days may be long in the house which thy husband provideth for thee.

2. Expect not thy husband to give thee as many luxuries as thy father hath given thee after many years of hard labor and economies.

3. Forget not the virtue of good humor, for verily all that a man hath will be given for a woman's smile.

4. Thou shalt not nag.

5. Thou shalt cuddle thy husband, for verily every man loveth to be fussed over.

6. Remember that the frank approval of thy husband is worth more to thee than the sidelong glances of many strangers.

7. Forget not the grace of cleanliness and good dressing.

8. Permit no one to assure thee that thou art having a hard time of it; neither thy mother, nor thy sister, nor thy maiden aunt, nor any of thy kinfolk, for the judge will not hold her guiltless who letteth another disparage her husband.

9. Keep thy home with all diligence, for out of it cometh the joys of thine old age.

10. Commit thy ways unto the Lord thy God and thy children shall rise up and call thee blessed.

Ten Commandments for Husbands

1. Remember that thy wife is thy partner and not thy property.

2. Do not expect thy wife to be thy wife and wage-earner at the same time.

3. Think not that thy business is none of thy wife's business.

4. Thou shalt hold thy wife's love by the same means that thou won it.

5. Thou shalt make the building of thy home thy first business.

6. Thou shalt co-operate with thy wife in establishing family discipline.

7. Thou shalt enter into thy house with cheerfulness.

8. Thou shalt not let anyone criticize thy wife to thy face and get away with it; neither thy father, nor thy mother, nor thy brethren, nor thy sisters, nor any that are thy relatives.

9. Thou shalt not take thy wife for granted.

10. Remember thy home and keep it holy.

To Young Married Folks

1. Don't ever both get angry at the same time.

2. Never talk at one another, either alone or in company.

3. Never speak loud to one another, unless the house is on fire.

4. Let each strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other.

5. Let self-denial be the daily air and practice of each.

6. Never find fault unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed, and always speak lovingly.

7. Never taunt with a past mistake.

8. Neglect the whole world rather than one another.

9. Never allow a request to be repeated.

10. Never make a remark at the expense of each other -- it is meanness.

11. Never part for a day without loving words to think of during absence.

12. Never meet without a loving welcome.

13. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance.

14. Never let any fault you have committed go by until you have frankly confessed it and asked forgiveness.

15. Never forget the happy hours of early love.

16. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is.

The above three passages of rules or advice for marriage were included in my mother's poetry notebook.  Knowing my mother, I think some of these might have been written with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, and yet, I also think these recommendations were characteristic for her generation.  What's interesting to me is that I know how some of these practices were faithfully kept by Mom and Dad in our home when I was growing up and I have internalized some of them as "natural" good-manners or common-sense, and a few I have consciously and deliberately embraced as good advice, worthy of practice.  Whatever ideal a married couple envisions for their-selves, I believe it is profoundly valuable to co-create their vision at the beginning of their marriage and to update it as needed as their marriage grows and matures.

It's fun for me to have this serendipitous experience of coming across these notes of my mother's marriage advice on the heels of attending a niece's wedding.  K&T had a six-pillared unity-candle, representing their chosen key-components of their relationship.  I think they were honesty, intimacy, trust, kindness, loyalty, and laughter.  (Although their officiant composed her message around their six values and spoke about each at length; I didn't take notes, so I'm not sure I have the list right, but that's how I remember it!)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Silent Night (in Spanish)

Silent Night in Spanish
Mom wrote out the hymn "Silent Night" in Spanish, as we sang it in Puerto Rico.  It is titled "Noche De Paz".  I want to transcribe it, but I need to wait until I figure out how to do all the characters used in Spanish.
Mom wrote five verses.  This post is just a "book-mark"/reminder to include this hymn in this collection of "From My Mother's Poetry Notebook".

My Risen Lord

My risen Lord, I feel Thy strong protection;
I see Thee stand among the graves today;
"I am the Way, the Life, the Resurrection," I hear Thee say.
And all the burdens I have carried sadly
Grow light as blossoms on an April Day;
My cross becomes a staff, I journey gladly
This Easter day.

Peace On Earth

Peace once more has come upon this earth.  Our confidence in man is being restored.  The price has been dearly paid by the lives of countless numbers.  The eternal things of life are not secured by mortal hands.   It cost the life of the Son of God.  Triumphantly He lives today, bringing to our acceptant hearts peace and joy, faith and trust, and hope of life eternal.

The above quote was hand typed on the back of a church bulletin that my mother had saved with her notebooks of poetry.  She didn't put it in quotes and didn't indicate the source.