Monthly Archives: April, 2013

The Daffodils

The last day of April – spring is in bloom and soon the daffodils…

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company;
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
The flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
~William Wordsworth~

http://www.wordsworth.org.uk/

Love Is A Terrible Thing

You can really feel the author’s pain in this poem…

I went out to the farthest meadow,
I lay down in the deepest shadow;

And I said unto the earth, “Hold me,”
And unto the night, “O enfold me!”

And unto the wind petulantly
I cried, “You know not for you are free!”

And I begged the little leaves to lean
Low and together for a safe screen;

Then to the stars I told my tale:
“That is my home-light, there in the vale,

“And O, I know that I shall return,
But let me lie first mid the unfeeling fern;

“For there is a flame that has blown too near,
And there is a name that has grown too dear,
And there is a fear” . . . .

And to the still hills and cool earth and far sky I made moan,
“The heart in my bosom is not my own!

“O would I were free as the wind on wing;
Love is a terrible thing!”

~Grace Fallow Norton~

SLOW DANCE

Unknown author but good advice…

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,”Hi”
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

World Village

These are interesting statistics and whether or not they are real I can’t say, but it certainly makes me appreciate my life…

If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, maintaining the proportions of all the people living on Earth, that village would consist of
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 Americans (North, Central and South)
8 Africans

There would be:
52 women and 48 men
30 Caucasians and 70 non-Caucasians
30 Christians and 70 non-Christians
89 heterosexuals and
11 homosexuals

6 people would possess 59% of the wealth and they would all come from the USA
80 would live in poverty
70 would be illiterate
50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition
1 would be dying
1 would be being born
1 would own a computer
1 (yes, only one) would have a university degree

If we looked at the world in this way, the need for acceptance and understanding would be obvious.
But, consider the following :
If you have never experienced the horror of war, the solitude of prison, the pain of torture, were not close to death from starvation, then you are better off than 500 million people.

If you can go to your place of worship without fear that someone will assault or kill you, then you are luckier than 3 billion (that’s right) people.

If you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.

If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few amongst the 100 people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you’re a rare individual.

If you are reading this, you’re extremely lucky, because you don’t comprise one of those 2 billion people who can’t read.

Miss Me – But Let Me Go

The funeral of my dear friend took place today. I have been in a funk since I heard the news and I couldn’t be at the service…

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no tears in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not too long,
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
and each must go alone.
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know.
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me – but let me go.

~Edgar A. Guest~

Trees

Today is Arbor Day celebrated in many countries to plant and nurture trees…

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.
~Joyce Kilmer~

Silver

I love this poem. It is so expressive and paints a vignette of midnight when everyone is asleep, and the world is silent and still…

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

~Walter de la Mare~

The Highwayman

I first read this  poem when I was in grade school. On reading it now, the subject matter seems a strange choice to teach ten year olds…

I

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding-
Riding-riding-
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

And dark in the old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say-

“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i’ the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.

II

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o’ the tawny sunset, before the rise o’ the moon,
When the road was a gipsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching-
Marching-marching-
King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through the casement, the road that he would ride.

They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
“Now keep good watch!” and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say-
Look for me by moonlight;
  Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love’s refrain.

Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up strait and still!

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him-with her death.

He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.

And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding-
            Riding-riding-
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
And he taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
              Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

~Alfred Noyes~

The Road Not Taken

Today is St. George’s Day, the patron saint of England who slayed the dragon…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in  the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost~ 1874-1963
http://www.robertfrost.org/indexgood.html

Give Yourself to Silence

Today is Earth Day. The movement began in the United States and now 198 countries in five continents participate in an effort to improve and ‘save’ the environment…

Years ago I lived by the sea. Each day I would walk along the shore, listening to the surf, searching for the magical moment when the earth would hold its breath as the tides changed. It was like a crack in time. The earth stood still, and the rhythmic washing, the amniotic lullaby of the waves, would stop and reverse itself.

I would wait for this moment, sometimes catching it, sometimes missing it – it was so subtle, like the hitch in a baby’s breath at sleep. But when I was able to be in its presence, a shiver would go through me that touched the very depths of my being.

...Small Graces by KENT NERBURN, PHD

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