Monday, April 30, 2007

My Funny Valentine

Behold the way our fine feathered friend,
His virtue doth parade
Thou knowest not, my dim-witted friend
The picture thou hast made
Thy vacant brow, and thy tousled hair
Conceal thy good intent
Thou noble upright truthful sincere,
And slightly dopey gent
You`re my funny valentine,
Sweet comic valentine,
You make me smile with my heart.
Your looks are laughable, un-photographable,
Yet, you`re my favorite work of art.
Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak, are you smart?
But, don`t change a hair for me.
Not if you care for me.
Stay little valentine, stay!
Each day is Valentine`s Day
Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak, are you smart?
But, don`t change a hair for me.
Not if you care for me.
Stay little valentine, stay!
Each day is Valentine`s Day

Lyrics to a song sung by DD#4 with Lovett's Duke Ellington jazz band at their Spring Concert. Wikipedia can tell us more about it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rejoice Ye Pure in Heart

Lyrics by Edward H. Plumptre, 1865
Tune: Marion by ARthur Messiter, 1885

Rejoice ye pure in heart;
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing;
Your glorious banner wave on high,
The cross of Christ your King.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,Give thanks and sing.
Bright youth and snow crowned age,
Strong men and maidens meek,
Raise high your free, exultant song,
God’s wondrous praises speak.

Yes onward, onward still
With hymn, and chant and song,
Through gate, and porch and columned aisle,
The hallowed pathways throng.

With all the angel choirs,
With all the saints of earth,
Pour out the strains of joy and bliss,
True rapture, noblest mirth.

Your clear hosannas raise;
And alleluias loud;
Whilst answering echoes upward float,
Like wreaths of incense cloud.

With voice as full and strong
As ocean’s surging praise,
Send forth the hymns our fathers loved,
The psalms of ancient days.

Yes, on through life’s long path,
Still chanting as ye go;
From youth to age, by night and day,
In gladness and in woe.

Still lift your standard high,
Still march in firm array,
As warriors through the darkness toil,
Till dawns the golden day.

At last the march shall end;
The wearied ones shall rest;
The pilgrims find their heavenly home,
Jerusalem the blessed.

Then on, ye pure in heart!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing!
Your glorious banner wave on high,
The cross of Christ your King.

Praise Him Who reigns on high,
The Lord Whom we adore,
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
One God forevermore.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Luci Shaw (1928 - )

After her daughter's wedding
she cleaned out the bedroom - rolling up
the posters of Venice, the Greek
Islands, virginal sails like wings
in golden bays. Surveying the naked
closet and walls from the doorway
she felt the chill, as though
she had just expelled
her afterbirth. And from

some deep place she remembered -
that beginning of loss, a pushing out
and out that left the matrix hollow.
The newborn's muted cry still
echoes - another expulsion,
another wave goodbye.
Every division of cells widens
the change; the ripples circle out;
the boat leaves harbor.

Friday, April 27, 2007

To All Archivists and Executors

By Harriet Ann Stovall Kelley (1933- )

The maple-sugar mustiness of old papers
clings with a strange, dark sweetness to our hands,
and photos, faded sepia, arouse
a memory of twilights told in tans--
of eras lived in the long, slant-light of autumn,
deep shade beneath each tree and under eyes
caught staring,
archetypes dim, disturbingly detected
beyond the arch of treelimbs, gables, arms
strong ancestral brows arched in surprise,
Here is the delving-dust, the ochre tracks
of ancient pens defy deciphering.
Here someone's soul is bared, but Time--
discreet informer - looks the other way,
deceives us now.
This fragile book's rose-petal leaves dissolve
with handling, though our touch be delicate
and caring as a surgeon's, or a lover's.

What shall we let live, what sacrifice?
What make history of, or what consign
to neverborn oblivion?
We're gods. We cannot infiltrate the future
with all our memorabilia, all our dreams.
The burden of our work weighs heavily:
we decide what sees the light of day,
what is destroyed;
which heirlooms last to coming generations
or which, undocumented, are denied.

Did what we now reject exist at all,
for our rejection?

Heavy on our hands we bear the stain,
as Shakespeare's Lady did,
And all we touch hereafter shares the taint
of glory, or regret.
So, whom do gods propitiate for error?

The odor lingers languid on the air
with motes that mock our motion in this shaft
of evening gold that compensates our task,
if not our hearts.

In 1978, this poem won The Conrad Aiken Prize, awarded by the Poetry Society of Georgia, Savannah.

This poem is found in a handcrafted book, Look Back, Beholden: Poems of Heritance by Harriet Stovall Kelley (my first cousin) in 1998.

What a treasure! What a labor of love!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

by Oliver Reeves

How many springs have gone since they
Who wore the uniform of gray
Last looked upon summer snow of dogwood, blooming below
Their southern skies and friendly sun,
Or watched the winding rivers run
Or knew when spring wind's gentle hand
Stretched forth to heal their wounded land.
They sleep where the azaleas spread
Their glorious colors, where the red old hills
And mountain peaks
Stand listening while nature speaks.
And from the woodlands sound the strains
Of memories; where coastal plains
Run down to join the ceaseless tide
Ebbing and flowing as they died.
Let us remember them as time
And tide move on in endless rhyme.
When spring is wearing her bouquet
For the lost legions of the gray.
While bud and blossom, hill and tree
Remember them, so shall we.

In my great state of Georgia, we celebrate *Confederate Memorial Day* by closing the State Capitol and State Offices on the Monday closest to April 26th.

The War Between the States was the pivotal event in our Nation's history.
If you want only the facts about the conflict, any textbook will do.
But if you want to understand the thoughts and emotions
of the men who faced each other across the battlefield
and those who waited for them at home,
look to the poems and songs written during and after the War.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

All of A Summer's Afternoon
by Bettie Sellers (1926- )

If you click on the link and click another link in the top right-hand corner of the Georgia Encyclopedia page, you will be able to hear Ms. Sellers recite this poem. The accent is delicious. Enjoy!

When my mother had turned
her sad, slow heel back into childhood,
She ran away for most of a summer's afternoon.

Neighbors with pitying faces
came to help my father
search the Flint River bottoms
where she had scratched up arrowheads for us
and told such tales that Creeks were lurking
behind every pine and oak for all our summers.

They combed high grasses
skirting the beaver ponds where she once sat
shushing our very breath to quietness
even the shyest beaver could trust.

They found her in the farther pasture
tugging feebly at her print dress
caught in a tangle of barbed wire.

She stood with wide eyes
watching the Indians come
from behind the trees.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Cloud Shadow
by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

A breeze discovered my open book
And began to flutter the leaves to look
For a poem there used to be on Spring.
I tried to tell her "There's no such thing!"

For whom would a poem on Spring be by?
The breeze disdained to make reply;
And a cloud shadow crossed her face
For fear I would make her miss the place.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Phoenix and the Turtle
By William Shakespeare

Commentary found here.

Let the bird of loudest lay,
On the sole Arabian tree,
Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.

But thou, shrieking harbinger,
Foul pre-currer of the fiend,
Augur of the fever's end,
To this troop come thou not near.

From this session interdict
Every fowl of tyrant wing,
Save the eagle, feather'd king:
Keep the obsequy so strict.

Let the priest in surplice white,
That defunctive music can,
Be the death-divining swan,
Lest the requiem lack his right.

And thou, treble-dated crow,
That thy sable gender mak'st
With the breath thou giv'st and tak'st,
'Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.

Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead;
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.

So they lov'd, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain.

Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
'Twixt the turtle and his queen;
But in them it were a wonder.

So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phoenix' sight:
Either was the other's mine.

Property was thus appall'd,
That the self was not the same;
Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was call'd.

Reason, in itself confounded,
Saw division grow together;
To themselves yet either-neither,
Simple were so well compounded

That it cried how true a twain
Seemeth this concordant one!
Love hath reason, reason none
If what parts can so remain.

Whereupon it made this threne
To the phoenix and the dove,
Co-supreme and stars of love;
As chorus to their tragic scene.


Beauty, truth, and rarity.
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclos'd in cinders lie.

Death is now the phoenix' nest;
And the turtle's loyal breast
To eternity doth rest,

Leaving no posterity:--
'Twas not their infirmity,
It was married chastity.

Truth may seem, but cannot be:
Beauty brag, but 'tis not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.

To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair;
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lord's Day Evening

from The Valley of Vision:
A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

May the close of an earthly sabbath
remind me that the last of them will one day end.

Animate me with joy that in heaven praise will never cease,
that adoration will continue for ever,
that no flesh will grow weary,
no congregations disperse,
no affections flag,
no thoughts wander,
no will droop,
but all will be adoring love.

Guard my mind from making ordinances my stay or trust,
from hewing out broken cisterns,
from resting on outward helps.

Wing me through earthly forms to thy immediate presence;
May my feeble prayers now show me the emptiness and vanity of my sins;
Deepen in me the conviction that my most fervent prayers,
and most lowly confessions, need to be repented of.
May my best services bring me nearer to the cross
and prompt me to cry, 'None but Jesus!'
By thy Spirit give abiding life to the lessons of this day:
Let all who see me take knowledge that I have been with thee
that thou hast taught me my need as a sinner,
hast revealed a finsihed salvation to me,
hast enriched me with all spiritual blessings,
hast chosen me to show forth Jesus to others,
hast helped me to dispel the mists of unbelief.

O great creator, might protector, gracious preserver,
thou dost load me with lovingkindnesses,
and has made me thy purchased possession,
and redeemed me from all guilt;

I praise and bless thee for my sabbath rest, my calm conscience,
my peace of heart.

Today's sermon was from Colossians 2:20-23

Saturday, April 21, 2007

by Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

Of Courtesy, it is much less
Than Courage of Heart or Holiness,
Yet in my Walks it seems to me
That the Grace of God is in Courtesy.

On Monks I did in Storrington fall,
They took me straight into their Hall;
I saw Three Pictures on a wall,
And Courtesy was in them all.

The first the Annunciation:
The second the Visitation;
The third the Consolation,
Of God that was Our Lady's Son.

The first was of Saint Gabriel;
On Wings a-flame from Heaven he fell;
And as he went upon one knee
He shone with Heavenly Courtesy.

Our Lady out of Nazareth rod--
It was Her month of heavy load;
Yet was Her face both great and kind,
For Courtesy was in Her Mind.

The third it was our Little Lord,
Whom all the Kings in arms adored;
He was so small you could not see
His large intent of Courtesy.

Our Lord, that was Our Lady's Son,
Go bless you, People, one by one;
My Rhyme is written, my work is done.

Friday, April 20, 2007

To ___, With a Rose

by Sydney Lanier

I asked my heart to say
Some word whose worth my love's devoir might pay
Upon my Lady's natal day.

Then said my heart to me:
Learn from the rhyme that now shall come to thee
What fits thy Love most lovingly.

This gift that learning shows;
For, as a rhyme unto its rhyme-twin goes,
I send a rose unto a Rose.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Doctor's Story

by Will Carleton (1845-1912)
Hillsdale College graduate

Good folks ever will have their way--
Good folks ever for it must pay.

But we, who are here and everywhere,
The burden of their faults must bear.

We must shoulder others' shame,
Fight their follies, and take their blame;

Purge the body, and humor the mind;
Doctor the eyes when the soul is blind;

Build the column of health erect
On the quicksands of neglect:

Always shouldering others' shame--
Bearing their faults and taking the blame!

Deacon Rogers, he came to me;
"Wife is a-goin' to die," said he.

"Doctors great, an' doctors small,
Haven't improved her any at all.

"Physic and blister, powders and pills,
And nothing sure but the doctors' bills!

"Twenty women, with remedies new,
Bother my wife the whole day through.

"Sweet as honey, or bitter as gall--
Poor old woman, she takes 'em all.

"Sour or sweet, whatever they choose;
Poor old woman, she daren't refuse.

"So, she pleases whoe'er may call,
An' Death is suited the best of all.

"Physic and blister, powder an' pill--
Bound to conquer, and sure to kill!"

Mrs. Rogers lay in her bed,
Bandaged and blistered from foot to head.

Blistered and bandaged from head to toe,
Mrs. Rogers was very low.

Bottle and saucer, spoon and cup,
On the table stood bravely up;

Physics of high and low degree;
Calomel, catnip, boneset tea;

Everything a body could bear,
Excepting light and water and air.

I opened the blind; the day was bright,
And God gave Mrs. Rogers some light.

I opened the window; the day was fair,
And God gave Mrs. Rogers some air.

Bottles and blisters, powders and pills,
Catnip, boneset, sirups and squills;

Drugs and medicines, high and low,
I threw them as far as I could throw.

"What are you doing?" my patient cried;
"Frightening Death," I coolly replied.

"You are crazy!" a visitor said:
I flung a bottle at his head.

Deacon Rogers he came to me;
"Wife is a-gettin' her health," said he.

"I really think she will worry through;
She scolds me just as she used to do.

"All the people have poohed an' slurred,
All the neighbors have had their word;

"'Twere better to perish, some of 'em say,
Than be cured in such an irregular way."

"Your wife,," said I, "had God's good care,
And His remedies, light and water and air.

"All of the doctors, beyond a doubt,
Couldn't have cured Mrs. Rogers without."

The deacon smiled and bowed his head;
"Then your bill is nothing," he said.

"God's be the glory, as you say!
God bless you, Doctor! Good day! Good day!"

If ever I doctor that woman again,
I'll give her medicine made by men.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Hippopotamus
by T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

THE BROAD-BACKED hippopotamus
Rests on his belly in the mud;
Although he seems so firm to us
He is merely flesh and blood.

Flesh and blood is weak and frail,
Susceptible to nervous shock;
While the True Church can never fail
For it is based upon a rock.

The hippo’s feeble steps may err
In compassing material ends,
While the True Church need never stir
To gather in its dividends.

The ’potamus can never reach
The mango on the mango-tree;
But fruits of pomegranate and peach
Refresh the Church from over sea.

At mating time the hippo’s voice
Betrays inflexions hoarse and odd,
But every week we hear rejoice
The Church, at being one with God.

The hippopotamus’s day
Is passed in sleep; at night he hunts;
God works in a mysterious way—
The Church can sleep and feed at once.

I saw the ’potamus take wing
Ascending from the damp savannas,
And quiring angels round him sing
The praise of God, in loud hosannas.

Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean
And him shall heavenly arms enfold,
Among the saints he shall be seen
Performing on a harp of gold.

He shall be washed as white as snow,
By all the martyr’d virgins kist,
While the True Church remains below
Wrapt in the old miasmal mist.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lines Scribbled on an Envelope
While Riding The 104 Broadway Bus:

by Madeleine L'Engle

There is too much pain
I cannot understand
I cannot pray.

I cannot pray for all the little ones with bellies bloated by starvation in India;
for all the angry Africans striving to be separate in a world struggling for wholeness;
for all the young Chinese men and women taught that hatred and killing are good and compassion evil;
or even all the frightened people in my own city looking for truth in pot or acid.

Here I am
and the ugly man with beery breath beside me reminds me
that it is not my prayers that waken your concern, my Lord;
my prayers, my intercession are not to ask for your love
for all your lost and lonely ones,
your sick and sinning souls,
but mine, my love, my acceptance of your love.
Your love for the woman sticking her umbrella and her expensive
parcels into my ribs and snarling, "Why don't you watch where you're going?"
Your love for the long-haired, gum-chewing boy who shoves
the old lady aside to grab a seat,
Your love for me, too, too tired to look with love,
too tired to look at Love, at you, in every person on the bus.

Expand my love, Lord, so I can help to bear the pain,
help your love move my love into the tired prostitute with false eyelashes and bunioned feet,
the corrupt policeman with his hand open for graft,
the addict, the derelict, the woman in the mink coat and
discontented mouth,
the high school girl with heavy books and frightened eyes.

Help me through these scandalous particulars
to understand
your love.

Help me to pray.

This poem seems especially appropriate to contemplate today, the day after the senseless massacre of 32 people on the campus of VA Tech.

Indeed, Lord, help me to pray.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Horse Sense

A horse can't pull while kicking.
This fact I merely mention.
And he can't kick while pulling,
Which is my chief contention.

Let's imitate the good old horse
And lead a life that's fitting;
Just pull an honest load, and then
There'll be no time for kicking.

Author Unknown

Sunday, April 15, 2007

When Morning Gilds the Skies
By Anonymous, German (trans. by Edward Caswall 1858)
Sung to the Tune Laudes Domini

When I went to bed I had a different selection in mind for posting, but this hymn is what came to mind during the night. You can find it at

When morning gilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When you begin the day, O never fail to say,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
And at your work rejoice, to sing with heart and voice,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Whene’er the sweet church bell peals over hill and dell,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
O hark to what it sings, as joyously it rings,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

My tongue shall never tire of chanting with the choir,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
This song of sacred joy, it never seems to cloy,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

To God, the Word, on high, the host of angels cry,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let mortals, too, upraise their voice in hymns of praise,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this at meals your grace, in every time and place;
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this, when day is past, of all your thoughts the last
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When mirth for music longs, this is my song of songs:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evening shadows fall, this rings my curfew call,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When sleep her balm denies, my silent spirit sighs,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evil thoughts molest, with this I shield my breast,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

The night becomes as day when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The powers of darkness fear when this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

No lovelier antiphon in all high Heav’n is known
Than, Jesus Christ be praised!
There to the eternal Word the eternal psalm is heard:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Let all the earth around ring joyous with the sound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
In Heaven’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Sing, suns and stars of space, sing, ye that see His face,
Sing, Jesus Christ be praised!
God’s whole creation o’er, for aye and evermore
Shall Jesus Christ be praised!

In Heav’n’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let earth, and sea and sky from depth to height reply,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this, while life is mine, my canticle divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Sing this eternal song through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Flesh and the Spirit
By Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

Dear Blog Visitor,
I suspect when you see how long this poem is that you may not read 'til the very end. I hope at some point (today or some other) that you will read this poem in its entirety. Its message is timeless.

In secret place where once I stood
Close by the Banks of Lacrim flood,
I heard two sisters reason on
Things that are past and things to come.
One Flesh was call'd, who had her eye
On worldly wealth and vanity;
The other Spirit, who did rear
Her thoughts unto a higher sphere.

"Sister," quoth Flesh, "what liv'st thou on
Nothing but Meditation?
Doth Contemplation feed thee so
Regardlessly to let earth go?
Can Speculation satisfy
Notion without Reality?
Dost dream of things beyond the Moon
And dost thou hope to dwell there soon?
Hast treasures there laid up in store
That all in th' world thou count'st but poor?
Art fancy-sick or turn'd a Sot
To catch at shadows which are not?
Come, come. I'll show unto thy sense,
Industry hath its recompence.
What canst desire, but thou maist see
True substance in variety?
Dost honour like? Acquire the same,
As some to their immortal fame;
And trophies to thy name erect
Which wearing time shall ne'er deject.
For riches dost thou long full sore?
Behold enough of precious store.
Earth hath more silver, pearls, and gold
Than eyes can see or hands can hold.
Affects thou pleasure? Take thy fill.
Earth hath enough of what you will.
Then let not go what thou maist find
For things unknown only in mind."


"Be still, thou unregenerate part,
Disturb no more my settled heart,
For I have vow'd (and so will do)
Thee as a foe still to pursue,
And combat with thee will and must
Until I see thee laid in th' dust.
Sister we are, yea twins we be,
Yet deadly feud 'twixt thee and me,
For from one father are we not.
Thou by old Adam wast begot,
But my arise is from above,
Whence my dear father I do love.
Thou speak'st me fair but hat'st me sore.
Thy flatt'ring shews I'll trust no more.
How oft thy slave hast thou me made
When I believ'd what thou hast said
And never had more cause of woe
Than when I did what thou bad'st do.
I'll stop mine ears at these thy charms
And count them for my deadly harms.
Thy sinful pleasures I do hate,
Thy riches are to me no bait.
Thine honours do, nor will I love,
For my ambition lies above.
My greatest honour it shall be
When I am victor over thee,
And Triumph shall, with laurel head,
When thou my Captive shalt be led.
How I do live, thou need'st not scoff,
For I have meat thou know'st not of.
The hidden Manna I do eat;
The word of life, it is my meat.
My thoughts do yield me more content
Than can thy hours in pleasure spent.
Nor are they shadows which I catch,
Nor fancies vain at which I snatch
But reach at things that are so high,
Beyond thy dull Capacity.
Eternal substance I do see
With which inriched I would be.
Mine eye doth pierce the heav'ns and see
What is Invisible to thee.
My garments are not silk nor gold,
Nor such like trash which Earth doth hold,
But Royal Robes I shall have on,
More glorious than the glist'ring Sun.
But such as Angels' heads infold.
The City where I hope to dwell,
There's none on Earth can parallel.
The stately Walls both high and strong
Are made of precious Jasper stone,
The Gates of Pearl, both rich and clear,
And Angels are for Porters there.
The Streets thereof transparent gold
Such as no Eye did e're behold.
A Crystal River there doth run
Which doth proceed from the Lamb's Throne.
Of Life, there are the waters sure
Which shall remain forever pure.
Nor Sun nor Moon they have no need
For glory doth from God proceed.
No Candle there, nor yet Torch light,
For there shall be no darksome night.
From sickness and infirmity
Forevermore they shall be free.
Nor withering age shall e're come there,
But beauty shall be bright and clear.
This City pure is not for thee,
For things unclean there shall not be.
If I of Heav'n may have my fill,
Take thou the world, and all that will."

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)

from The General Prologue

Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote
The droght of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yoonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne;
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye--
So priketh hem Nature in hir corages--
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,,
To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury the wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.

This poem spells Spring to many people. I get that feeling :)

In addition, I selected it in hopes that DD#2, who is taking a college course dedicated to this tale, will read these lines aloud to me. Edit: Save this link to audio versions of some poetry

While perusing Americans' Favorite Poems (an interesting project in and of itself), I discovered several more poems to highlight over the course of the coming month. But it takes pouring over a variety of anthologies and such to find poems I really like. And old stand-by is The Best Loved Poems of the American People. What's neat about my 1936 copy is that it belonged to a great aunt, who has made marks by the ones she liked: a little glimpse into her tastes.

What's the title of one of your favorite poetry books?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No Friend Like a Sister

by Kurt Vonnegut
RIP 1922-2007

For my own part, though:
it would have catastrophic
if I had forgotten my sister at once.
I had never told her so,
but she was the person I had always written for.
She was the secret of whatever
artistic unity I had ever achieved.
She was the secret of my technique.
Any creation which has any wholeness and harmoniousness,
I suspect, was made by an artist or inventor
with an audience of one in mind.
Yes, and she was nice enough,
to allow me to feel her presence for
a number of years after she died -
to let me go on writing for her.
But then she began to fade away,
perhaps because she had
more important business elsewhere.

This poetic excerpt is taken from Slapstick.

This entry is not an endorsement of Vonnegut, (esp since I havent read any of his books). But I was intrigued to learn from the obituary that he adopted his sister's three children after her death.

Sisters are indeed special. I am thankful for my three.

And so, Christina Rosetti's verse rings true(ly).

For there is no friend like a sister
In calm and stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Victory in Defeat

Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
When the great oak is straining in the wind,
The boughs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
To stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.

by Edwin Markham

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree

Undoubtedly, this poem is familiar to all, but I post it today because the trees have been absolutely spectacular of late.

I first heard this poem when my mother recited it. She had had to memorize it school, not I.

Is there a poem like that for you?

PS This crossword puzzle looks like fun. I'll let you know if I am able to complete it.

Finished the crossword puzzle without any trouble. Yes, this brain still works :)
I did have to google the answer for the singer Bonnie ? Raitt?

Monday, April 09, 2007


by Johnny Hart
RIP 1931-2007

Just 'getting to give'
At gift-giving time
Is the gift
That givers give.
'Cause they know
That the love
That they love
To give gifts with
Is also a gift from above.

From a BC Comic strip circa 1993

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jesus lives, and so shall I

Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and reigns supreme,
And, his kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised: be it must:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and by his grace,
Vict'ry o'er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways,
Ever to his glory living.
Me he raises from the dust.
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, I know full well
Nought from him my heart can sever,
Life nor death nor powers of hell,
Joy nor grief, hence forth forever.
None of all his saints is lost;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and death is now
But my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian's Trust.

by Christian Furchtegott Gellert (1715-1769)
Translated by J D Lang
Sung to the tune Jesus, Meine Zuversicht

Saturday, April 07, 2007

(Indicative of the Passion of the People on the 15th Day of April, 1865)
by: Herman Melville (1819-1891)

GOOD Friday was the day
Of the prodigy and crime,
When they killed him in his pity,
When they killed him in his prime
Of clemency and calm--
When with yearning he was filled
To redeem the evil-willed,
And, though conqueror, be kind;
But they killed him in his kindness,
In their madness and their blindness,
And they killed him from behind.

There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand:
Beware the People weeping
When they bare the iron hand.

He lieth in his blood--
The father in his face;
They have killed him, the Forgiver--
The Avenger takes his place,
The Avenger wisely stern,
Who in righteousness shall do
What the heavens call him to,
And the parricides remand;
For they killed him in his kindness,
In their madness and their blindness,
And his blood is on their hand.

There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand:
Beware the People weeping
When they bare the iron hand.

"The Martyr" was originally published in Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War. Herman Melville. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1866.

Perhaps I should be embarrassed that I didnt know *for sure* about whom Melville was talking. Here's an interesting article about this book of poetry.

Did you know?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wounds of a Friend

Faithful are the wounds of a friend:
It is so good, this pain I'm feeling!
Thankful for the wounds of a friend.
There are no scars with love's strong healing.

Many are the kisses of my enemies
So empty is their flattery, oh-o.
I know I can count on you to speak the truth in love,
'Cause I know how much you care for me.


I know the truth is sometimes hard to tell
And the truth is always hard to take, oh-o
I know I can count on you to speak the truth in love
And I know its only for my sake.


Many are the kisses of my enemies
Only shallow compliments they throw, oh-o.
I know I can count on you to speak the truth in love
'Cause I know you want to help me grow

Faithful are the wounds of a friend
I'm so thankful for the wounds of a friend.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend.

Copyright 1990 Judy Rogers

Judy is a singer/songwriter whom I have the pleasure of knowing. There are several Proverbs about the wounds of a friend, but I'm guessing this song is based on 27:6
I suppose in the poetry world, these lyrics would be considered free verse, which is not my favorite form. However, setting Bible verses/concepts to music helps me remember them. When my children were young, we listened to all of her music. This particular song is on the Stand Up CD, which is on sale this month.

Check out her website.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Friend's Greeting

by Edgar A. Guest

I'd like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me;
I'd like to be the help that you've been always glad to be;
I'd like to mean as much to you each minute of the day
As you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way.

I'd like to do the big things and the splendid things for you,
To brush the gray from out your skies and leave them only blue;
I'd like to say the kindly things that I so oft have heard,
And feel that I could rouse your soul the way that mine you've stirred.

I'd like to give you back the joy that you have given me,
Yet that were wishing you a need I hope will never be;
I'd like to make you feel as rich as I, who travel on
Undaunted in the darkest hours with you to lean upon.

I'm wishing at this (Christmas) time that I could but repay
A portion of the gladness that you've strewn along my way;
And could I have one wish this year, this only would it be:
I'd like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me.

Read here about the friend who made me think of this poem.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

by Sally DeFord

Gethsemane lay still and dark
Creation watched in silent awe
As Jesus suffered his Father's will
To satisfy unyielding law

He knelt in earnest prayer alone
His friends, o'ercome with sorrow, slept
Beneath the burden of grief he groaned
Beneath the weight of sin he wept

And with his blood so freely spent
He bought my soul; he paid my debt
What work of love was wrought for me
In the stillness of Gethsemane

"This bitter cup wilt thou remove?
Yet not my will, but thine be done."
Behold his anguish and weep anew
For love of Christ, the sinless one

With his wounds my own are healed
My every pain o'ercome in his
My shame, my weakness, my grief untold
Find ransom in his priceless gift

For with his blood so freely spent
He bought my soul; he paid my debt
What work of love was wrought for me
In the stillness of Gethsemane

This song is part of the I Stand All Amazed cantata.

DD#4 sang this in chapel today.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Family Poetry


Cousins Week at Callaway

Cause we have so much fun
Out and about
Under the trees
Spending time with all our loved ones
Involved in all the water fights
Nature all around
Surgery on the kitchen table

Winning in Monopoly against Grey (finally!)
Evenings spent around the circle
Ending the summer in style
Keeping the ball in the fairway

Always capturing the flag
Teeing up with the guys

Coming home with long-lasting memories
Arriving with anticipation
Learning to tie-dye
Leading cousins down the bike trail
Afternoons spent around the pool
What's a Woelke?
Assisting the director in homemade movies
Yearning to return for another year of adventure

Love, The Simpsons

I hope you enjoy reading this cute acrostic-style poem written by my sister's family as a thank-you note to my parents for the week-long family reunion they host every year at Callaway Gardens. For over twenty years my parents have invited their grandchildren to get to know one another by attending *Cousins Week*. After receiving this poem in 2001, it was printed on the back of T-shirts which everyone receives annually.

There are few better ways to build family ties....than writing poetry together.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mondays Child

by Mother Goose

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Do you know on what day of the week you were born?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God his Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.


Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle,
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?

The Lord Almighty--
he is the King of glory.

Psalm 24 is one of my favorite because I was selected to read it aloud in an elementary school worship service. Although I was very nervous standing in front of everyone, this memory is a pleasant one: an early recollection of declaring and claiming the promises of God.

Here's a link to the rendition we sing in church.