1404. Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. ~Carl Sandburg

The world is full of poetry.
The air is living with spirit; 
and
the waves dance to the music of its melodies,
and sparkle in its brightness
.
~James Gates Percival

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Sometime between the 8th and 9th grade in school, I decided that I didn’t like poetry at all and that I would never be a teacher, especially NOT an English teacher. All three pronouncements eventually became lies however as I spenr 31 years as a public school educator, half of which were spent teaching English. And I also came to truly love poetry. So I’ve questioned over the years the wisdom of teaching to young teenages works like the epic poem Beowulf, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the longest poem ever written by Coleridge, and Poe’s The Raven which has been called an allegory or a work that falls into didacticism. It does seem to be a bit over the top for 13, 14, and 15 year olds even very intelligent ones, don’t you think? And how many others, like me, who, as a result of similar early encounters with such challenging pieces of literature, really began detesting poetry and subsequently never came into an appreciation of it? Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for challenging learners at any age, but there is just something about poetry, at least the kinds that I mentioned, that teenagers are not quite able to truly understand and/or appreciate. Of course there are a few who could or would maybe, but I’ve often thought that perhaps most, when faced with such daunting literary works, never learned to love poetry or find inspiration in it. Then there was the fact that back in the dark ages when I was in school, not only did we have to read those “thorny” poems, but we also had to memorize passages from them and eventually stand up in front of class and recite the lines for a grade. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that strikes terror in the hearts of many a student at that age including myself on occasion. However, now some 50+ decades later, I enjoy being able to yet quote some of those lines. In addition I love the genre of poetry, a large and growing number of poems, and the poets who crafted them, even if they are or were individuals who lived less than stellar or troubled lives. For example, I recently read The Raven for the first time in forever, and although Poe led a fairly sordid life filled with ordeals, I couldn’t help but be awestruck by the beauty and musicality of the poem as well as by the bits of great wisdom I found either in some of the lines themselves or between them. After all life has always been made up of “the good, the bad, and the ugly,” hasn’t it? So I’ve decided today to share a poem I like once a week in hopes that it will speak to you as many have spoken to me. After all we bloggers are writers of sorts and some are even poets so I think most of us appreciate the beauty of poetic words, rhyming or not. Thus I hope you enjoy poetic Wordy Wednesday postings in addition to pictographic Wordless Wednesday posts.

The Wishing Fish
BY THOMAS VORCE

What if you could be a trout
And splash and flip And flop about.
Amidst the river’s ripples you
Would catch sun shimmers
And renew the summer wind.
You’d stop to chat With trouty friends
And make amends.
Or discourse on the willow’s bend.
The gala of the water’s course,
Like laughter of a child,
Would run along your gullet
With the mystery of the wild.
And every wish you ever heard
Would be in chorus with the birds.
As palettes made of rainbows play,
You’d flap your fins
To greet the day.
Along the banks you’d rest at night
And fire flies like lamps would light
The glowing of the August Moon,
Where fish make wishes of their own
And all the best remains unknown.

The person without the Spirit does not accept things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. ~1 Corinthians 2:14 ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

 

1139. If it’s drama that you sigh for, plant a garden and you’ll get it. ~Edward A. Guest

‘Tis like the birthday of the world,
When earth was born in bloom;
The light is made of many dyes,
The air is all perfume…
~Excerpt from a poem by Thomas Hood

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One of my favorite poems in all of “poemdom” is this one below by Robert Browning. In fact I recite it to myself at least once every spring.

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn; God’s in his Heaven—
All’s right with the world!

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Spring began very early here, almost a month and a half ago, but this morning was the first one exactly like the quintessential spring morning of which Browning spoke. A heavy dew had blanketed everything that lay before my eyes making grass and flower sparkle, and in the sparkle was the sort of magic that thrills this old gardener’s heart beyond measure. So I sat spellbound forever so long in my chair watching the birds feed and the squirrels play and the breeze ruffle petals and leaves. My little piece of Eden was gloriously alive as well as all of her adoring paramours. What a  magnificent sight to behold it was as light oozed into all the dark corners, not only outside the window but also in the windows of my being! What had been created in the beginning continually points to the Creator, and oh what a Creator He is! My eyes were filled, my ears were filled, my cup of life was filled, and in and of it all was Yahweh, that Holy Presence, who continually fills my soul with His goodness and grace. Oh how I adore Him and His wondrous Eden!!!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. ~Psalm 23: 6  ✝

1069. On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined. ~Lord Byron

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun
Next I came down and danced on the Earth
For I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And  now I’ll lead you in the Dance with me!
~Edited and excerpted lyrics
from the hymn, Lord of the Dance

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This day had begun with a
dollop of golden light in the east.
And then up, up, up recoiled
the night’s dark shade
so that the space all around me
was filled with wondrous light,
holy light,  warming light.
And in the light was a sparkle;
’twas a glittering hint of spring’s
advance upon earth’s stage.
In the midst of the morn’s litany
Yahweh’s familiar footsteps could be heard
as he moved along the garden’s paths.
~Natalie

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Sing and dance did we,
the birds and I, with
the Lord of the Universe,
the God who won’t let go of
all that He has made and loves.
~Natalie

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Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I till turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. ~Jeremiah 31:13   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1023. Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish. ~John Jakes

We have to dare to be ourselves,
however frightening or strange
that self may prove to be.
~May Sarton

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Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before-”
(What? Before you reach the morning…)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
Now there is time and
Time is young.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by May Sarton

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood… ~Excerpt from Ephesians 4:25  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

912. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. ~Elie Wiesel

Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest,
to be completely present to the moment,
to taste the here and now, to be where we are.
Help us then, Lord, to be patient and
trust that the treasure we look for is hidden
in the holy ground on which we stand
and apparent even in the absence of light.
~Edited and adapted excerpt by
Henri Nouwen

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O, Ancient of Days, as daylight splits the veil of night, I praise Your holy name and wonder if you come to my garden still. If you do, do you come only in the early hours as I sensed at dawn today? Or do you come as well at dusk when light bedecks, with a touch of quicksilver sparkle, only the very tops of things making out of ordinary beauty that which is extraordinary? Is it in praise of your divine glory that the birds linger and chatter before their daytime forays and then again as they return at day’s end to find rest for the night? Are the gentle breezes I feel upon my face your very breath and the flowers I see fallen jewels from your holy crown? Do the bees and butterflies yet nectar in autumn to guarantee Eden’s resurrection after winter’s wrath consumes them. O, God, I want to know more of you and do believe you are here with me always; for if not on the lawn, I find your footprints upon my heart.

Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~Hebrews 4:16  ✝

**Image of titmouse and autumn berries via Pinterest

502. The morrow was a bright September morn; the earth was beautiful as if newborn; 
there was nameless splendor everywhere, that wild exhilaration in the air… ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Did you hear them? Of maybe see them?! Did you? I didn’t either, but I know autumn fairies played upon the lawn last night; dew from their pixie dust was shining like diamonds upon the grass this morning. They must have worn themselves out in their playfulness, however, and vanished with the dawn because now where once they romped all I see are avian wings crisscrossing the yard.

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Fall has come but her red leaf and her gold have not. And so though the year is growing long in the tooth, the sparkle of life’s spark continues to pulse audibly to the beat of Yahweh’s heart. His Eden is still very much alive; spring and summer’s glory have not been vanquished. I know because I can hear it and see it bursting forth in the red of rosy faces, the yellow that sits atop the Maximillian sunflowers, the white that calls out from the Angel’s trumpets, the pink that plays on in phloxy mounds, the blue that paints the sky and the morning glories, the orange that echoes from the echinacea, the purple that mounts the ruella, and the green that continues to flesh out in grass and fern.

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. ~1 Chronicles 16:27   ✝

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of this amazing day as well as the power and strength that fills this aging, ailing body with enough oomph to praise you and rejoice in another day!

** Image via Pinterest

272. I love snow, snow, and all the forms of radiant frost.  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,–
the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes,
noiselessly transforming the world,
the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter,
and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery
all objects upon which they fall.
~John Burroughs

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Yesterday was a double, good whammy kind of day, and the whamminess began and ended in the heavens.  Right after first light little, bitty snow flakes began to fall, and by noon the frigid, gray day had been punctuated with a lovely smattering of snow.  The north wind was a contributor in the snowscapade because at times it seemed to be blowing down even more of the “exquisite crystals” from the white clouds of heaven’s expanse.  The second whammy played out when sparkling stars and a slender slice of the ancient moon punctuated heaven’s then blackened dome and prettified to a greater extent the frosting of snow on the ground.

Most nights I go for a short walk before bedtime.  Walking alone at 9 or 10 o’clock at night is a delicious experience.  The streets are empty of traffic and most folks are inside watching TV or getting ready for bed.  Especially in wintertime for some reason, it feels like I’m the only one left in the universe except for God.  And His presence is so large and close I feel like I could just extend my hand and feel it slip into His.  When I see my exhaling breath as one can when it’s terribly cold, I feel as if He’s just breathed those first breaths of life into me once again.  The air is so cold and crisp and invigorating, and the solitude is filled with His holy peacefulness.

–then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  ~Genesis 2:7  ✝