Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
1850 - 1919

"But no man can help you die" is the phrase that jumps out at me this morning. Corey's father (Tongue in Cheek) died yesterday. She's spent the last ninety days blogging about this final journey. She's a wonderful muse. Very artistic.

There are a couple of people I follow like this....

Do you?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses good-bye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Billy Collins
1941 -
American Poet Laureate

Ah, this poem is way too a propos for me.....I'm blogging furiously to record life, because I feel like there will be a time when I dont remember.... Then I can clean out closets. In the meantime, I will continue to ignore the mess..

At any rate, if you've made it this far in the post you must click over to the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation webpage. Scroll down to find last year's winner who recited this delightful poem. On the right his name is Jack Hille from Ohio. I hope you find the time to listen.

This year's competition is taking place today. I'm following the student from Georgia. I read about him in the AJC newspaper.

Reading aloud and poetry are not passe.

Go see!

Monday, April 28, 2008

When Daisies Pied and Violets Blue
by William Shakespeare

When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,

The cuckoo then, on every tree,

Mocks married men;

for thus sings he,


Cuckoo, cuckoo:

O, word of fear,

Unpleasing to a married ear!

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo, cuckoo: O, word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

These lines, along with their companion piece "When Icicles Hang by the Wall" come at the end of Love's Labour's Lost. The pun on "cuckoo" and "cuckold" is a reminder that the words are related, supposedly because of the behavior of the female bird. (Wm Harmon's comments)

This is my first introduction to this early comedy by Shakespeare. I look forward to reading the play which I *won* in a contest over at Buried Treasure. I correctly guessed a line from Taming of the Shrew :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Little Giffen

OUT of the focal and foremost fire,
Out of the hospital walls as dire;
Smitten of grape-shot and gangrene,
(Eighteenth battle, and he sixteen!)
Spectre! such as you seldom see,
Little Giffen, of Tennessee!

“Take him and welcome!” the surgeons said;
Little the doctor can help the dead!
So we took him; and brought him where
The balm was sweet in the summer air;
And we laid him down on a wholesome bed,—
Utter Lazarus, heel to head!

And we watched the war with abated breath,—
Skeleton Boy against skeleton Death.
Months of torture, how many such?
Weary weeks of the stick and crutch;
And still a glint of the steel-blue eye
Told of a spirit that would n’t die,

And didn’t. Nay, more! in death’s despite
The crippled skeleton “learned to write.”
“Dear mother,” at first, of course; and then
“Dear captain,” inquiring about the men.
Captain’s answer: “Of eighty-and-five,
Giffen and I are left alive.”

Word of gloom from the war, one day;
Johnson pressed at the front, they say.
Little Giffen was up and away;
A tear—his first—as he bade good-by,
Dimmed the glint of his steel-blue eye.
“I ’ll write, if spared!” There was news of the fight;
But none of Giffen.—He did not write.

I sometimes fancy that, were I king
Of the princely Knights of the Golden Ring,
With the song of the minstrel in mine ear,
And the tender legend that trembles here,
I ’d give the best on his bended knee,
The whitest soul of my chivalry,
For “Little Giffen,” of Tennessee.

by Francis Orray Ticknor
1822 - 1874
Georgia physican and poet

The character, Little Giffen, could easily have been my great-great grandfather, William Ferguson Smith (1845-1912) because he left home for battle as young as Giffen. Providentially spared, he returned to his native Butts County and became a well-respected citizen. In fact, he wrote a book, Rival Lovers: A Story of The War Between the States.

Friday, April 25, 2008


"I'm a Pisces, what are you?" she asked. "A Baptist," I replied.

We live in this life in a winter wood.
On each bare tree, and on the vacant-seeming ground
about what leaf, what growth? Eye cannot tell:
by Word, and rare Experience, we know.
"Keep to the path," HE warned us,
"Follow Me." (There are no shortcuts here,
no scenic routes).

In chill of winterness, the safe not-knowing,
suspended growth of demon poison ivy,
thorn and briar,
quicksand, bandit, pitfall, storm or snare
or fears of being lost, present no threat
to our clearcutting eyes.

Our vision wintertime seems clear, if stark.
It isn't that we do not dare believe
in the existence there of things unseen--
but that we fear
our own inexpert, foolish exploration
(they called it "whoring after" in the past)
in ways uncharted, into dells of death ...
The beech that seems to blossom is a wraith;
what look as flowers, but sunlit decay.

Yet in time's grim denouement, blooms with tell:
the crooked leaf, the wakened wasp, the fang...
and we who held the narrow way will tremble
in awe and horror at our near escape,
till safely meadowed, on beyond the Hill.

by Harriet Stovall Kelley
Georgia-born artist and poet

In this third year of highlighting poems in April in honor of National Poetry Month, I've spent more time reading and learning about the writers, authors, and poets from my own state and my own family.

Harriet is my cousin and frightfully creative. I have lifted the artwork from the cover of her originally published booklet The ArctAngel and Other Cold Poems where I found E S P. I must ask her public forgiveness for not knowing enough HTML to indent properly some of the lines of this compelling poem.

But I promise to find out.

While you wait for me to fix that, click over to my Xanga site and view one of her paintings.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Adoration

If I but had a little dress,
A little dress of the flax so fair
I’d take it from my clothespress
And give it to Him to wear,
To wear,
And give to Him to wear.

If I but had a little girdle
A girdle stained with the purple dye,
Or green as grass or green as myrtle
About His waist to tie,
To tie,
About His waist to tie!

If I but had a little coat,
A coat to fit a no-year old,
I’d button it close about His throat
To cover Him from the cold,
The cold,
To cover Him from the cold.

If I but had a little shoe,
A little shoe as might be found
I’d lace it on with a sheepskin thew
To keep His foot from the ground,
The ground,
To keep His foot from the ground.

If my heart were a shining coin,
A silver coin or a coin of gold
Out of my side I’d it purloin
And give it to Him to hold,
To hold,
And give it to Him to hold.

If my heart were a house also,
A house also with room to spare
I never would suffer my Lord to go
Homeless, but house Him there,
O there,
Homeless, but house Him there.

By Byron Herbert Reece
Georgia author and poet
1917 - 1958

Here's a link to a short biography of Reece, born not too far from where I live. In my research I discovered there's a trail near the AT named after him, a newly formed society to promote his work, and apparent funding to redevelop his farm and stage a heritage center. Even some of his sermon notes!

Sounds like a fun field trip.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wedding Sermon

"NOW, while she's changing," said the Dean,
"Her bridal for her traveling dress,
I'll preach allegiance to your queen!
Preaching's the thing which I profess;
And one more minute's mine! You know
I've paid my girl a father's debt,
And this last charge is all I owe.
She's yours; but I love more than yet
You can; such fondness only wakes
When time has raised the heart above
The prejudice of youth, which makes
Beauty conditional to love.
Prepare to meet the weak alarms
Of novel nearness; recollect
The eye which magnifies her charms
Is microscopic for defect.
Fear comes at first; but soon, rejoiced,
You'll find your strong and tender loves,
Like holy rocks by Druids poised,
The least force shakes, but none removes.
Her strength is your esteem; beware
Of finding fault; her will's unnerved
By blame; from you 'twould be despair;
But praise that is not quite deserved
Will all her noble nature move
To make your utmost wishes true.
Yet think, while mending thus your Love,
Of matching her ideal too!
The death of nuptial joy is sloth;
To keep your mistress in your wife,
Keep to the very height your oath,
And honor her with arduous life.
Lastly, no personal reverence doff.
Life's all externals unto those
Who pluck the blushing petals off,
To find the secret of the rose. --
How long she's tarrying! Green's Hotel
I'm sure you'll like. The charge is fair,
The wines good. I remember well
I stayed once, with her mother, there.
A tender conscience of her vow
That mother had! She's so like her!"
But Mrs. Fife, much flurried, now
Whispered, "Miss Honor's ready, sir."

Coventry Patmore
English Poet and Critic
1823 - 1896

Thank goodness for witnesses and guests at weddings or the bride and groom might remember nothing. My sister reminded me that our preacher covered I Peter 3:1-7 for our ceremony. Even though it is quite popular today, we're not recording (DVD or audio) our weddings. It makes for better stories :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thought that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti
English Poet
1830 - 1894

When I remember I mostly smile. I think this is a gift from God....for which I am very thankful.

My glass is always half full.

Sad is short-lived.

Monday, April 21, 2008

We Sing to Him

We sing to him whose wisdom form'd the ear.
Our songs, let him who gave us voices, hear.
We joy in God who is the spring of mirth.
Who loves the harmony of heav'n and earth;
Our humble sonnets shall his praise rehearse,
Who is the music of the universe.
And whilst we sing we consecrate our art.
And offer up with ev'ry tongue a heart.

by Henry Purcell
published in 1688

An English composer during the Baroque era, Purcell was considered one of the finest of his time.

This sacred song opened DD#4's voice recital yesterday.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Voice Recital Program

Well, I cant read that, so I suppose you can either. I will type it in later, as I have run out of time right now.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hummingbird Cake

For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 whole bananas, sliced & blended with
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple

For the frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
2 cups chopped pecans, plus 12 pecan halves, toasted

To prepare the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour three 8-inch round cake pans. In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg until well-blended; set aside. With an electric mixer, lightly beat eggs. Add sugar, oil and vanilla and blend. Add bananas and pineapple. Gradually add dry ingredients until well-blended. Scrape down sides, if necessary. Pour batter equally into cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely. Cut cakes in half horizontally to make six layers - optional.

To prepare the frosting: With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add confectioners' sugar. Scrape down sides and beaters and beat until incorporated. Spread the frosting between each layer, on the sides and on top. Press pecan pieces on sides. Put a circle of pecans halves on outer edges on the top.

Per serving: 823 calories (percent of calories from fat, 60), 6 grams protein, 80 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 55 grams fat (17 grams saturated), 97 milligrams cholesterol, 454 milligrams sodium

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Sniffle

In spite of her sniffle,
Isabel's chiffle.
Some girls with a sniffle
Would be weepy and tiffle;
They would look awful,
Like a rained-on waffle,
But Isabel's chiffle
In spite of her sniffle.
Her nose is more red
With a cold in her head,
But then, to be sure,
Her eyes are bluer.
Some girls with a snuffle,
Their tempers are uffle,
But when Isabel's snivelly
She's snivelly civilly,
And when she is snuffly
She's perfectly luffly.

I just love Ogden Nash!!

This poem is a perfect one to add to the collection I'm preparing for DH. In the not to distant future, I hope to create a booklet of poems about doctors and illness - pleasant, it can be on a table in the waiting room.

Already on the list is Shel Silverstein's *Sick*; A A Milne's *Sneezles*; Will Carleton's *The Doctor's Story*; and a couple of ones written by his own patients.

Let me know if you have a favorite.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Brownie Smile Song

I've something in my pocket.
It belongs across my face,
And I keep it very close at hand
In a most convenient place.

I'm sure you couldnt guess it
If you guessed a long, long while,
So, I'll take it out and put it on -
It's a great big Brownie Smile!!

Words by Harriett F. Heywood

Today is *Poem in Your Pocket Day* and this is the one I'm carrying around and sharing.

I hope it brings back fond memories for you AND makes you smile.

Added later: Even though this is a children's song/poem, I find it applicable to me as an adult.

There's nothing like a smile.

Here are some additional beauty tips I'll be carrying around my pocket!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Dormouse and the Doctor

There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bedOf delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),And all the day long he'd a wonderful viewOf geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:"Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed. Just say 'Ninety-nine,' while I look at your chest. . . . Don't you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?"

The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied(When he'd said "Ninety-nine") that he'd tried and he'd tried,And much the most answering things that he knew Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:"What the patient requires is a change," and he wentTo see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the viewOf geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),And he knew there was nothing he wanted insteadOf delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent."Now these," he remarked, "give a much better viewThan geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)."They took out their spades and they dug up the bedOf delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white)."And now," said the Doctor, "we'll soon have you right."The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh: "I suppose all these people know better than I. It was silly, perhaps, but I did like the view Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)."The Doctor came round and examined his chest,And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest."How very effective," he said, as he shookThe thermometer, "all these chrysanthemums look!"The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sightOf the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white)."How lovely," he thought, "to be back in a bedOf delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)."

The Doctor said, "Tut! It's another attack!"And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,And murmured, "How sweet your chrysanthemums are!"

The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes, And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise: "I'll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!"

The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,And saying, "There's nobody quite understandsThese cases as I do! The cure has begun!How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!"The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tightHe could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white.And all that he felt at the back of his headWere delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said) If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed, You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.

Alan Alexander Milne
1882 - 1956

Yup, that's the idea! Delphiniums and Geraniums for my container gardening.

Delphiniums (blue)!

Geraniums (red)!

I'm heading to the market for seedlings.

While I have seen a chipmunk around my flowers and birdseed on the back deck, I've never met a dormouse.

Have you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sister Cat

Cat stands at the fridge,
Cries loudly for milk.
But I've filled her bowl.
Wild cat, I say, Sister,
Look, you have milk.
I clink my fingernail
Against the rim. Milk.
With down and liver,
A word I know she hears.
Her sad miaow. She runs
To me. She dips
In her whiskers but
Doesn't drink. As sometimes
I want the light on
When it is on. Or when
I saw the woman walking
toward my house and
I thought there's Frances.
Then looked in the car mirror
To be sure. She stalks
The room. She wants. Milk
Beyond milk. World beyond
This one, she cries.

by Frances Mayes
1940 -

I could relate to the independence and finicky nature of Sister Cat, even tho' my cat(s) never drank milk. In the 1979 photo see my cat, Athena, who lived seventeen years.

While I prefer T S Eliot's cat poems, I'm highlighting Mrs. Mayes today because she is Georgia-born/bred. Learn more about her at this Georgia Encylopedia website.

She's well-known. Did you recognize the name before looking her up?

Tell me about a famous poet from your state.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconson
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling?

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing.
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind.

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7pm a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the words turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

This past February we heard Gordon Lightfoot in concert. At the age of 69, and after recouperating from a ruptured aneurism in 2000, he continues to serenade crowds with his folk music.

That's a testimony!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

All Things Bright and Beautiful


All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful:

The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.


[Most hymnals omit the following verse]
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.


The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.


The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.


The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.


He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


Words by Cecil Alexander
Hymns for Little Children, 1848

Tune : Royal Oak
17th Century English Melody
arranged by Martin F. Shaw in 1915

Photos by my niece

Friday, April 11, 2008

In the Garden of the Lord

The word of God came unto me,
Sitting alone among the multitudes;
And my blind eyes were touched with light.
And there was laid upon my lips a flame of fire.

I laugh and shout for life is good,
Though my feet are set in silent way,
In merry mood I leave the crowd
To walk in my garden. Ever as I walk
I gather fruits and flowers in my hands.
And with joyful heart I bless the sun
That kindles all the place with radiant life.
I run with playful winds that blow the scent

Of rose and jessamine in eddying whirls.
At last I come where tall lilies grow,
Lifting their faces like white saints to God,
While the lilies pray, I kneel upon the ground;

I have strayed into the holy temple of the Lord.

by Helen Adams Keller
(1880 - 1968)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

De Chu'ch

'Way down de lane, behin' a row o' trees,
Whaih all de summah croons de softes' breeze
De ol' lantashun chu'ch am shini' white.
We da'kies lingah daih each Sund'y night,
A-shoutin' praise to Gawd an' Jesus', too.
We love de benches, made o' pine tree wood,
We love de place whaih all de elduhs stood
Each qua'tly meetin' day, a singin' himes
An' tellin' us erbout de good ol' times
W'en 'ligion was de only thing on earf.
De preachuh's haid widout an inch o' turf
Went waggin' 'way lak he's b'en set on fiah
O Chillun, in de hebben libs de quiah
Ob dose who shaired de btubbles ob de Lawd,
Ob dose who found below de love ob Gawd.
Come throw yo'se'f befo' de Musssy Seat,
come wash in Jesus blood yo' sinful feet.
De Son ob Man's de Shephud ob de fol',
De crippple lain' beneaf His cloak He hol'.

In Hebben He hab filled yo' honey dish,
Yo' comin' homewa'd's all dat He kin wish."
He hug de bible, an' de sistahs shout
A-puttin' all de debbils to de rout,
"Ol' Mount Moriah's lifted to de sky
An' anguls on de wing go flittin' by."
But w'en de deacon pass de wine an' braid
Each Christ'un soul in reverence hang his haid.
He am de chosen brothah ob de King,
An' low an' mounful lak he's sho' to sing,
"Ah want to meet mah Saviour face to face."
No, honey! all de worl' kin hol' no place

Jes' lak de ol' plantsshun chu'ch ob mine;
It am de manshun ob de lowly folk,
It am de spot whaih Gawd Himself hab spoke,
It am de only place to shake de han',
An' know flat you's as good as any man.
Oh' dat's de place fu' me to live an ' die,
Benear de Mussy ob de Saviour's eye.

Fenton Johnson

Here's a link to an article about Johnson which lists Wendell Berry as an influence.

The illustration is a Currier & Ives A Cotton Plantation, 1884 found at AllPosters. The original is a chromolithograph.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings from broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice outburst among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carollings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

December 1900.

Truth in Reporting:

That's one of my photos taken last summer while I was walking through Callaway Gardens. While Hardy's poem is set in winter and this picture was taken in summer, I nevertheless thought it was a suitable illustration without borrowing from another.

Furthermore, I think it's a Catbird :/

Here's a link to Cornell's Lab, to which I refer often.

Are you a birdwatcher?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Reading Mother

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me plays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.

by Strickland Gillilan
American Poet and Humorist
1869 - 1954

Painting title: The Fairy Tale
Oil on Canvas
by James Sant
1820 - 1916

Send an e-card.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Duel

by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Images copied from
The Bumper Book
by Watty Piper
Illustrated by Eulalie

I'm pretty sure we had this book when I was growing up, but it would not garner the $50 some used booksellers are asking. That's because it was really used, truly read, and probably is *damaged*.

Funny how *children's* poetry is ageless.

Here are the words, in case the ones above are illegible.

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I was n't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I 'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw---
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate---
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

Here's a link to the Quilter's Muse page where I copied the apron:

The catalog is called, Premium Art Book, Richardson Silk Company, Chicago. On page 44, There is a "Cat and Dog Apron" with the first two lines of Eugene Field's poem, all to be embroidered on Blue Gingham (No. 2408), or on Pink Gingham (No. 2409). The kits included "Stamped Apron, Two Stamped Pieces of Cat and Dog to appliqué, and Lesson with complete instructions for embroidering. Requires (5) skeins Grecian Silk Floss or four (4) skeins Mercerized Cotton Floss."

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Poetry and Sermons

In today's sermon, not only did the preacher quote poetry (Swinburne's Hymn to Prozerpine and Henley's Invictus), but the passage of Scripture also contain references to poetry.

What a providential hat-tip to National Poetry Month!

We had a guest minister while our own was attending the baptism of a new grandchild (JCM V). He was such a treat. The Reverend Bob Lester presented a bit of a travelogue while he exposited Acts 17.

Having recently visited Athens himself, he was able to describe graphically the Aerogopolis where Paul spoke to the men of Athens at Mars Hill.

Verse 16:
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirits was being
provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.

The apostle Paul quoted three poets (Epimenides, Aratas, and Cleanthes) in order to create some common ground for approaching his audience. While he may have tickled their ears with his skillful use of their verses, Paul (and our preacher) hit them (and us) right between the eyes with a clear presentation of the Gospel.

The heart of apostolic preaching is the life, death, and resurrection of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Not heaven, or whatever a believer can gain by believing.

So, I will spend some time familiarizing myself with a poem or two by the above-referenced antiquarians (all unknown to me as I took Latin in highschool, not Greek).

But I will spend more time meditating on and praying the Word of God, specifically Acts 17:30-31

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

Read that aloud.

Several times.

Emphasizing different words for effect.

Be provoked.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

List Poem

Awaking..........5:30 am
Drinking.........Black coffee
Devoting.........with Spurgeon's Morning/Evening
Reading..........Edith Schaeffer's Affliction desk LOL
Writing..........a few checks
Sending..........a couple of greeting cards to ailing friends family members to coordinate transportation
Weathering.......the heat; high today is 96
Walking..........the neighborhood hills
Breakfasting.....with a strawberry smoothie a cute short jean skirt :)
Ironing..........white Irish linen table napkins
Shopping.........for groceries
Reunioning.......the Linches
Wedding..........on the brain
Eating...........BLT's for dinner
Watching.........1776 (film adaptation of musical)
Sleeping.........around 10p

by Dana
written 7/1/06

Well, well, well! I'm a poet and didnt know it. Giggle.

Carmon suggested we try our hand (pen) at writing some poetry and I promptly dismissed the idea.

But while catching up on Sherry of Semicolon, I discovered a neat website to encourage my poetic instincts. Lo and behold, there is such a thing as a list poem.

Really now?

Then I remembered Carol of Magistramater, who writes very well. Routinely she posts some compelling lists....I just didnt recognize it as poetry.

It is so true that we can *learn something new everyday*

So, does my poem need a title?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Letter to World

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me, --
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.

Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

Emily Dickinson
American Poet
1830 - 1886

In my efforts to get to know Miss Dickinson better, I have particularly enjoyed the books of her poetry illustrated by Tasha Tudor. I'm hoping to collect them all.

She corresponded with a selected few. I suspect she would approve of the USPS's Power of the Letter campaign that I've had a lot of fun with recently. Did you notice the postmark on your first class letters during March?

For further research I'm planning to see The Belle of Amherst next week. It's playing at Marietta's Theater in the Square.

Do you have a favorite Emily Dickinson poem?

I posted hers about roses at my xanga site.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


by Emily Carr, Canadian poet and artist (1871 - 1945)
from the point of view of her Old English Bob-tail Sheep Dog, Billie

Picture borrowed from a UK Kennel site

Poem copied from the book, Emily Carr and Her Dogs: Flirt, Punk, and Loo

I loved the last line :)

Are you a dog lover?

What's your breed?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Desk

by David Bottoms
Poet Laureate
State of Georgia

Under the fire escape, crouched, one knee in cinders,
I pulled the ball-peen hammer from my belt,
cracked a square of window pane,
the gummed latch, and swung the window,
crawled through that stone hole into the boiler room
of Canton Elementary School, once Canton High,
where my father served three extra years
as star halfback and sprinter.
Behind a flashlight’s
cane of light, I climbed a staircase almost a ladder
and found a door. On the second nudge of my shoulder,
it broke into a hallway dark as history,
at whose end lay the classroom I had studied
over and over in the deep obsession of memory.

I swept that room with my light—an empty blackboard,
a metal table, a half-globe lying on the floor
like a punctured basketball—then followed
that beam across the rows of desks,
the various catalogs of lovers, the lists
of all those who would and would not do what,
until it stopped on the corner desk of the back row,
and I saw again, after many years the name
of my father, my name, carved deep into the oak top.

To gauge the depth I ran my finger across that scar,
and wondered at the dreams he must have lived
as his eyes ran back and forth
from the cinder yard below the window
to the empty practice field
to the blade of his pocket knife etching carefully
the long, angular lines of his name,
the dreams he must have laid out one behind another
like yard lines, in the dull, pre-practice afternoons
of geography and civics, before he ever dreamed
of Savo Sound or Guadalcanal.

In honor of dreams
I sank to my knees on the smooth, oiled floor,
and stood my flashlight on its end.
Half the yellow circle lit the underedge of the desk,
the other threw a half-moon on the ceiling,
and in that split light I tapped the hammer
easy up the overhang of the desk top. Nothing gave
but the walls’ sharp echo, so I swung again,
and again harder, and harder still in half anger
rising to anger at the stubborn joint, losing all fear
of my first crime against the city, the county,
the state, whatever government claimed dominion,
until I had hammered up in the ringing dark
a salvo of crossfire, and on a frantic recoil glanced
the flashlight, the classroom spinning black
as a coma.

I’ve often pictured the face of the teacher
whose student first pointed to that topless desk,
the shock of a slow hand rising from the back row,
their eyes meeting over the question of absence.
I’ve wondered too if some low authority of the system
discovered that shattered window,
and finding no typewriters, no business machines,
no audiovisual gear missing, failed to account for it,
so let it pass as minor vandalism.

I’ve heard nothing.
And rarely do I fret when I see that oak scar leaning
against my basement wall, though I wonder what it means
to own my father’s name.

Does reading this poem make you think of a high school prank you played..... or does it conjure up memories of a missing a loved one?

I suspect that the old high school building broken into is the one in downtown Canton. It houses the Board of Education offices, I think. The most recent Canton Elementary on Marietta Hwy is brand-newly rebuilt and scheduled to open in the Fall 2008. I pass it every day. It's next to the high school, now called Cherokee High.

David Bottoms, “The Desk” from Armored Hearts: Selected and New Poems. Copyright © 1995 by David Bottoms. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P. O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368-0271, Poetry (October 1984).

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
A long ways from home,
A long ways from home,
True believer,
A long ways from home,
A long ways from home.

Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone,
Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone,
Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone,
Way up in the heavenly land,
Way up in the heavenly land,
True believer,
Way up in the heavenly land,
Way up in the heavenly land.

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
A long ways from home,
A long ways from home,
True believer,
A long ways from home,
A long ways from home.

Negro Spiritual

While not unfamiliar with Spirituals, I had not heard this particular one until my children began singing in the chorus at their high school. I have always liked it and am posting the words today in honor of National Poetry Month.

The $12 CD can be ordered from

All Saints’ Episcopal Church
Attention: Pamela Ingram
634 W. Peachtree Street, N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30308-1925