Poetry should…should strike the reader
as a wording of his own highest thoughts,
and appear almost a remembrance.
Some of you know that I was an educator for 31 years. What you don’t know is that in the 8th grade I declared to family and friends that I would never become a teacher, especially an English teacher. But as it turned out I did become one and though it was not my first or second chosen teaching field, I ended up teaching English for half of my career. And like all else whatever we spend time doing has a profound influence on our lives. I’ve always had a great respect for literature and writers and storytellers. One of them. as I mentioned in a recent post, is Mary Oliver. When I read her poetry it’s as if she has been writing what dwells within my heart and soul. They are so accurate and she does it in a way that had I her ability I would have written them myself. But ya know, we don’t all have to be gifted to tell tales of our lives which might be what someone else needs or longs to hear. And I believe I can say with certitude that there’s not a single one of you who are reading this who were not profoundly impacted by at least one teacher in your life. Secondly, my guess is that their influence had little to do with academic subject matter. I expect it was stories they told or wove to reach you and teach you that made all the difference in your life. So never be afraid to share you grief and joys, triumphs and sorrows, whatever it is you hold dear or keep close for you never know when or where a listening ear will find remembrance and/or life-sustaining importance in them. ‘Tis even more important that you do so if the tale(s) tell of God’s grace, mercy, faithfulness, and abiding love for His children!
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. ~Acts 20:24 ✝
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Photo of grasshopper on rose taken in her yard by Natalie
Ok, truth time! I’ve had such a very difficult day. After I finally got home, sat down for a while, and ate something, I went outside, smelled the glorious fragrance of my lilies in bloom, rocked in the silence of twilight on my porch. Then I came out here to my favorite room and asked myself what was it I needed to take the rest of the rough edges off the day’s trials. Mary Oliver! By George it’s Mary Oliver; that’s what I need. For you see Mary Oliver’s poetry and thoughts always fend off stressful moments fraught with the unpleasant.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. ~1 Peter 1:6 ✝
How can I stand on the ground
every day and not feel its power?
How can I live my life stepping on
this stuff and not wonder at it?
~William Bryant Logan
The many gardens of the world,
of literature and poetry,
of painting and music,
of religion and architecture,
all make the point as clear as possible:
The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.
A garden is like the self.
It has so many layers
and winding paths,
real or imagined, that it
can never be known, completely,
even by the most intimate of friends.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8 ✝
Stranger, if you passing meet me
and desire to speak to me,
why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?
I felt suddenly like Walt Whitman last night
in the parking lot of Rainbow Foods,
still dazzled from a poetry reading I’d attended,
fresh ponds of rain shining between cars.
I smiled at boy pushing shopping cart;
he smiled back, it was wonderful!
Inside, I watched a man with dreadlocks
carefully bag the cookies he bought.
I observed four brown-eyed children unload
a paycheck’s worth of groceries for their mother.
Listen, I know we’re all of us hiding bruises,
but when a veil seems to lift,
it doesn’t always reveal sorrow.
I saw ordinary people holding doors
for each other, saying please, and
the sky, when I left, was incredibly lavender.
~Francine Marie Tolf
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. ~1 Chronicles 16:29 ✝
If I were not trapped
by my own making in a well
where light filtered in just enough
for shadows to press against me
in their shaded hush
reminding me perpetually
with their low rhythmic song
of a life I could have lived
if I’d just been strong
your life by comparison
is in every way as wild
as the silver on the horizon
when the moon slips beneath
violet clouds and cusps
in slow formation and bows
to white flowers beneath ivy
where only moonlight finds
magic in the way you live
every moment to the end
~Poem by Candice Louisa Daquin
from her just released 4th book,
A JAR FOR THE JARRING
Roses of the field whisper divine poetry,
but you must listen carefully to hear it
because noise from the wheels of progress
drowns out everything that sings.
~Edited poem by Judith Cody
You love the roses – so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses!
Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and red
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
~Edited poem by George Elliot
He(the Lord) will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. ~Psalm 91:4 ✝