Sunday, April 30, 2006

It Isn't the Church - It's You
Author Unknown

If you want to have the kind of a church
Like the kind of a church you like,
You needn't slip your clothes in a grip
And start on a long, long hike.

You'll only find what you left behind,
For there's nothing really new,
It's a knock at yourself when you knock your church;
It isn't' the church - it's you.

When everything seems to be going wrong,
And trouble seems everywhere brewing;
When prayer meeting, young people's meeting, and all,
Seem simmering slowly - stewing,
Just take a look at yourself and say,
"What's the use of being blue?"
Are you doing your "bit" to makes things a "hit"?
It isn't the church it's you.

It's really strange sometimes, don't you know,
That things go as well as they do,
When we think of the little -- the very small mite-
We add to the work of the few.
We sit, and stand round, and complain of what's done,
And do very little but fuss.
Are we bearing our share of the burdens to bear?
It isn't the church - it's us.

So, if you want to have the kind of a church
Like the kind of a church you like,
Put off you guile, and put on your best smile,
And hike, by brother, just hike,
To the work in the hand that has to be done--
The work of a saving a few.
It isn't the church that is wrong, by boy;
It isn't the church - it 's you.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

In Memory of Our Cat, Ralph

by Garrison Keillor


When we got home, it was almost dark.
Our neighbor waited on the walk.
"I'm sorry, I have bad news," he said.
"Your cat, the gray-black one, is dead.
I found him by the garage an hour ago."
"Thank you," I said, "for letting us know."
We dug a hole in the flower bed
With lilac bushes overhead,
Where this cat loved to lie in spring
And roll in dirt and eat the green
Delicious first spring bud,
And laid him down and covered him up,
Wrapped in a piece of tablecloth,
Our good old cat laid in the earth.
We quickly turned and went inside
The empty house and sat and cried
Softly in the dark some tears
For that familiar voice, that fur,
That soft weight missing from our laps,
That we had loved too well perhaps
And mourned from weakness of the heart.
A childish weakness, to regard
An animal whose life is brief
With such affection and such grief.
If such is weakness, so it be.
This modest elegy
Is only meant to note the death
Of one cat so we won't forget
His face, his name, his gift
Of cat affection while he lived,
The sweet shy nature
Of this graceful creature,
The simple pleasure of himself,
The memory of our cat, Ralph.

Posted in memory of our cat, Mittens, who died February 16, 2006.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I Corinthians 13:1-13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am know. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

King James Version

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mealtime Poetry

Be present at our table, Lord,
Be here and everywhere adored:
Thy creatures bless, and grant that we
May feast in paradise with thee.

John Cennick (1718-1755)

This is the blessing I said, when it was *my turn* as a child. I found it in The Lion Book of Family Prayers by Mary Batchelor. Post a comment and tell me what poem you prayed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Confederate Women
Subject of Praise


Butts County (GA) Progress

EDITOR PROGRESS:
Your paper of some weeks past was handed to me on sick-bed in McDonough.
I read a suggestion from my brother Wilson Smith on the Women of the Confederacy and I was forcibly impressed. I dare say there is hardly an ex-confederate soldier in Butts county but what would vote to give the monument to the Women of the Confederacy instead of the Soldier, if the Daughters in Butts county decide to build one. And the new idea, the spinning wheel instead of the gun, is grand.
Yes, while other sections are raising the shaft in honor of the men who stood in line with gun and bayonet, let Butts county raise the shaft in honor and memory of the noble women who stood behind the lines and prayed and spun and wove, and buried the dead that were sent home. God bless them, heroines all. Who is it that went through that fearful ordeal that can now meditate upon the sacrifices, suffering and hardships of those mothers, wives, sisters and daughters and keep back the tears?
I can tell you what it was that caused the Confederate soldiers to astonish the world by their endurance of hardships and heroic bravery. It was the mother, wife, sweetheart and sister at home. And who has attempted to write the history of their heroic struggle? No one. And the half can never be told.
A personal explanation will illustrate the cause of the Confederate solders staying in the last ditch until killed or captured. Two years of the war had passed before I was old enough to go. My older brother as well as many neighbors had been brought home shot to pieces and many other dear friends left dead on the battle field. We knew then what it meant to go to the war. The time for my departure had come. My clothes were packed and I, a small boy (stature 5'8"), had put on the Confederate gray. My mother, with tears all streaming down her cheeks, stood in the hall, at the foot of the stairs. Throwing her arms about my neck she said, "Put your trust in God and He will bring you through. I would rather you would die in battle than desert." And those were her last words of farewell.
Too full of emotion to utter one word, I left her with those words indelibly stamped on my conscience and memory. I was at once a man. From that moment I was a changed being.
In all the crack and onslaught of battle I did not stay there because I was brave but because my other told me to. And I know that was the experience of thousands of others who suffered the pangs of hunger, cold and heat, shot and shell, sickness and death, on account of the loved ones at home.
They gave their sons, husbands, and brothers, lovers, all and received back a fragment of battered and torn limbs, and they nursed them back into the greatest industrial struggle the world has even known.
Yes, give the women the monument.

W. F. Smith
Captain, Confederate States of America
McDonough, GA
April 23, 1909

This letter to the editor is copyrighted and published in the book Rival Lovers by William Ferguson Smith, edited by Harriet Stovall Kelley.
Rival Lovers
A story of the War Between the States
by William Ferguson Smith
Edited by Harriet Stovall Kelley



Written more than 125 years ago, Rivals is a story of a young Georgia boy who went away to war in 1863, fell in love and into great adventure and returned to write of his experience. It is a courtly tale of romance that lay lost and forgotten until his great niece discovered the original text while cleaning out the old Smith Family home in Flovilla, GA in 1971.

The second half of the book contains a biographical sketch and other writings by Smith, who became one of his county's leading and most conscientious citizens.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Meaning

When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
- And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
- Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.

Czeslaw Milosz

Monday, April 24, 2006

Intimations of Mortality

on being told by the dentist that this will be over soon


Indeed, it will soon be over, I shall be done
With the querulous drill, the forceps, the clove-smelling cotton.
I can go forth into fresher air, into sun,
This narrow anguish forgotten.

In twenty minutes or forty or half an hour,
I shall be easy, and proud of my hard-got gold,
But your apple of comfort is eaten by worms, and sour.
Your consolation is cold.

This will not last, and the day will be pleasant after.
Ill dine tonight with a witty and favorite friend.
No doubt tomorrow I shall rinse my mouth with laughter.
And also that will end.

The handful of time that I am charily granted
Will likewise pass, to oblivion duly apprenticed.
Summer will blossom and autumn be faintly enchanted.
Then time for the grave, or the dentist.

Because you are shrewd, my man, and your hand is clever,
You must not believe your words have a charm to spell me.
There was never a half of an hour that lasted forever.
Be quiet. You need not tell me.

Phyllis McGinley

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Jehovah Tsidkenu
by Robert Murray McCheyne


I once was a stranger to grace and to God,
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.

I oft read with pleasure, to sooth or engage,
Isaiah’s wild measure and John’s simple page;
But e’en when they pictured the blood sprinkled tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu seemed nothing to me.

Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,
I wept when the waters went over His soul;
Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu—’twas nothing to me.

When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see—
Jehovah Tsidkenu my Saviour must be.

My terrors all vanished before the sweet name;
My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came
To drink at the fountain, life giving and free—
Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.

Jehovah Tsidkenu! my treasure and boast,
Jehovah Tsidkenu! I ne’er can be lost;
In thee I shall conquer by flood and by field,
My cable, my anchor, my breast-plate and shield!

Even treading the valley, the shadow of death,
This “watchword” shall rally my faltering breath;
For while from life’s fever my God sets me free,
Jehovah Tsidkenu, my death song shall be.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Why Do Birds Sing?

Let poets piece prismatic words,
Give me the jewelled joy of birds!

What ecstasy moves them to sing?
Is it the lyric glee of Spring,
The dewy rapture of the rose?
Is it the worship born in those
Who are of Nature's self a part,
The adoration of the heart?

Is it the mating mood in them
That makes each crystal note a gem?
Oh mocking bird and nightingale,
Oh mavis, lark and robin - hail!
Tell me what perfect passion glows
In your inspired arpeggios?

A thrush is thrilling as I write
Its obligato of delight;
And in its fervour, as in mine,
I fathom tenderness divine,
And pity those of earthy ear
Who cannot hear . . . who cannot hear.

Let poets pattern pretty words:
For lovely largesse - bless you, Birds!

Robert W. Service

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Rose Family


The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple's a rose,
And the pear is, and so's
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose-But were always a rose.

Robert Frost

Illlustration by Redoute

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lord, Make a Regular Man Out of Me

This I would like to be - braver and bolder,
Just a bit wiser because I am older,
Just a bit kinder to those I may meet,
Just a bit manlier taking defeat;
This for the New Year my wish and my plea -
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This I would like to be - just a bit finer,
More of a smiler and less of a whiner,
Just a bit quicker to stretch out my hand
Helping another who's struggling to stand,
This is my prayer for the New Year to be,
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This I would like to be - just a bit fairer,
Just a bit better, and just a bit squarer,
Not quite so ready to censure and bland,
Quicker to help every man in the game,
Not quite so eager men's failings to see,
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This I would like to be - just a bit truer,
Less of the wisher and more of the doer,
Broader and bigger, more willing to give,
Living and helping my neighbor to live!
This for the New Year my prayer and my plea -
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

Edgar Albert Guest

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Advice to Writers
For the Daily Press


When you've got a thing to say,
Say it! Dont take half a day.
When your tale's got little in it,
Crowed the whole thing in a minute!
Life is short - a fleeting vapor -
Don't you fill the whole blamed paper
With a tale which, at a pinch,
Could be cornered in an inch!
Boil her down until she simmers,
Polish her until she glimmers.

Joel Chandler Harris

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Paul Revere's Ride

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Some poems are long, some short, some rhyme, some dont. Some tell a story.
So, in honor of the anniversary of this midnight ride, I commend to the attention of all my readers, this excellent poem.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Time Is

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

by Henry Van Dyke
1852-1933

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Up from the grave He arose

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain

Death cannot keep its Prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain

Words & Music: Ro­bert Low­ry, 1874

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hall of Thorns



Tread lightly among the thorny growth
Below the eaves of filtered sun and
Dead, brown limbs of barbs still sharp with use.
Dare to lift your head and see the greenly growth,
A crown of leaf above the thorn and
Arching boughs that sprout anew with
Fresh rows of thorns on limbs of green.
A roof of sun, held by beams of the live
And dead branches,
Beams that twine and gather to form
A hall of thorns,
lit by blossoms, white and fading,
like flickering lights in the shadows
of the briary corridor.
Tapestries of white and golden hue
To grace
A hall of thorns.

Margaret Jago
May 2002

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Lamb

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

William Blake

Thursday, April 13, 2006

To My Family Doctor

A woman's work is never done
That's what they always say,
But what about your Doctor
Where does he end his day?
His day starts with an office full
Of people who complain,
And need to give the small details
Of all their aches and pains

When office hours are over
You'd think that would be all,
Then he sits down for dinner
And here comes that frantic call:
"My baby has a fever,"
"My husband has a cough,"
"My big toe hurts so badly
Could you PLEASE just cut it off"

We really haven't got a clue
Of the things he must endure,
While listening to our problems
And seeking out a cure,
Let's be kind to our Doctor
Cause it's not an easy life,
So have compassion for him
And sympathy for his wife.

by Linda Brown
copyright 2004

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Always Marry An April Girl


Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true --
I love April, I love you.

Ogden Nash

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Whole Duty of Children


A child should always say what's true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table;
At least as far as he is able.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, April 10, 2006

Myself

by Edgar Guest

I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for things I have done.

I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of man I really am;
I don't want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.

I can never hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Strife is o'er

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!

Refrain

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

Refrain

The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!

Refrain

He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!

Refrain

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!

Refrain

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Miracles
by Walt Whitman

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with anyone I love, or sleep in the bed at night with anyone I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honeybees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Female of the Species

by Rudyard Kipling



When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag, the wayside cobra, hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can,
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail -
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws -
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale -
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the others tale -
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations, worm and savage otherwise,
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise;
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger; Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue - to the scandal of the Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same,
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity - must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions - not in these her honor dwells -
She, the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else!

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate;
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions - in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him, who denies!
He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot wild
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges - even so the she-bear fights;
Speech that drips, corrodes and poisons - even so the cobra bites;
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw,
And the victim writhes with anguish - like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of abstract justice - which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern; shall enthrall but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him and Her instincts never fail,
That the female of Her species is more deadly than the male!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Naming of Cats

by T.S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

PS Comments should be working as you see I have chosen a new template and the updated model allowed by specifications to work :)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sick

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

Shel Silverstein

Love this poem and just about all of his. We read the books and listened to them on tape.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What Life Have You?

What life have you if you have not life together?
There is no life that is not in community,
And no community not lived in praise of GOD.
Even the anchorite who meditates alone,
For whom the days and nights repeat the praise of GOD,
Prays for the Church, the Body of Christ incarnate.
And now you live dispersed on ribbon roads,
And no man knows or cares who is his neighbor
Unless his neighbor makes too much disturbance,
But all dash to and fro in motor cars,
Familiar with the roads and settled nowhere
Nor does the family even move about together,
But every son would have his motorcycle,
And daughters ride away on casual pillions.

Much to cast down, much to build, much to restore;
Let the work not delay, time and the arm not waste;
Let the clay be dug from the pit, let the saw cut the stone,
Let the fire not be quenched in the forge.

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
From *The Rock*

NOTE: To my readers: I cant figure out why comments cant be posted, so I am listing my xanga site, so you can *talk* to me there.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Outwitted

Poem of the day, short after two long ones.

He drew a circle that shut me out --
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

Edwin Markham

Click on the time to comment.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

How Sweet and Awful Is the Place

I cry every.single.time we sing this in church. Listen.

How sweet and aweful is this place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores!

Here every bowel of our God
With soft compassion rolls;
Here peace and pardon bought with blood
Is food for dying souls.

While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?

“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”

’Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

Pity the nations, O our God!
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.

We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May with one voice, and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.

by Isaac Watts

I commend to you this article about Watts' writing.

Click on the time to comment.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Betrothed

This poem is posted in honor of LPMcD, whose 71st birthday would have been today. He read this poem at the dinner table one night in 1980, and ever since it has been a favorite of mine. Why he loved this poem, I will never know...since he was not a smoker. However, he did like Kipling.


"You must choose between me and your cigar."
-- BREACH OF PROMISE CASE, CIRCA 1885.

Open the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.

We quarrelled about Havanas -- we fought o'er a good cheroot,
And I knew she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider a space;
In the soft blue veil of the vapour musing on Maggie's face.

Maggie is pretty to look at -- Maggie's a loving lass,
But the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest of loves must pass.

There's peace in a Larranaga, there's calm in a Henry Clay;
But the best cigar in an hour is finished and thrown away --

Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown --
But I could not throw away Maggie for fear o' the talk o' the town!

Maggie, my wife at fifty -- grey and dour and old --
With never another Maggie to purchase for love or gold!

And the light of Days that have Been the dark of the Days that Are,
And Love's torch stinking and stale, like the butt of a dead cigar --

The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket --
With never a new one to light tho' it's charred and black to the socket!

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider a while.
Here is a mild Manila -- there is a wifely smile.

Which is the better portion -- bondage bought with a ring,
Or a harem of dusky beauties, fifty tied in a string?

Counsellors cunning and silent -- comforters true and tried,
And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride?

Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close,

This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return,
With only a Suttee's passion -- to do their duty and burn.

This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead.

The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
When they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again.

I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal,
So long as the gulls are nesting, so long as the showers fall.

I will scent 'em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides,
And the Moor and the Mormon shall envy who read of the tale of my brides.

For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o' Teen.

And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear,
But I have been Priest of Cabanas a matter of seven year;

And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light
Of stums that I burned to Friendship and Pleasure and Work and Fight.

And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove,
But the only light on the marshes is the Will-o'-the-Wisp of Love.

Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire?
Since a puff of tobacco can cloud it, shall I follow the fitful fire?

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider anew --
Old friends, and who is Maggie that I should abandon you?

A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.

Light me another Cuba -- I hold to my first-sworn vows.
If Maggie will have no rival, I'll have no Maggie for Spouse!

Rudyard Kipling