Monday, April 12, 2010

When Mother Reads Aloud

When Mother reads aloud, the past
Seems real as every day;
I hear the tramp of armies vast,
I see the spears and lances cast,
I join the trilling fray;
Brave knights and ladies fair and proud
I meet when Mother reads aloud.
When Mother reads aloud, far lands
Seem very near and true;
I cross the desert's gleaming sands,
Or hunt the jungle's prowling bands,
Or sail the ocean blue.
Far heights, whose peaks the cold mists shroud,
I scale, when Mother reads aloud.
When Mother reads aloud, I long
For noble deeds to do -
To help the right, redress the wrong;
It seems so easy to be strong,
So simple to be true.
Oh, thick and fast the visions crowd
My eyes, when Mother reads aloud.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In the beginning.........

Our studies this term are taking us into the realm of the heavens and the Lord's glorious creation therein. Last year Anna Rose memorized Psalm 19 from which comes the verse, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge." The perfection of their rhythms, the synchronicity of their movements, the absolute artistry of form and color.....all speak of an omnipotent Designer and Creator. Step outside into the darkness tonight, lift your eyes reverently, and behold the magnificence! "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." - Romans 1:20

The Spacious Firmament on High

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun from day to day
Does his Creator's power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of the Almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence, all
Move round this dark, terrestrial ball?
What though nor real voice nor sound
Amidst their radiant orbs be found?
In Reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine:
"The hand that made us is divine!"

Joseph Addison

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

My blog has been strangely bereft of comments lately. Was it something I said? Dear me, I know I'm not the most popular girl on the block, but ever since I began posting a verse each day in honor of National Poetry Month, I have been astounded by the silence (except for one or two poetry lovers - you know who you are).

Does anyone have a favorite poet....or poem? I confess to being partial to Robert Louis Stevenson, many of whose poems I memorized as a young girl and still remember. I suspect my elementary school teacher was fond of him as well; I have distinct memories of reciting "My Shadow" and "The Swing" aloud in class. At home we owned a very worn old copy of A Child's Garden of Verses, beautifully illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith. Many years ago, Dwayne surprised me at Christmas with a newer copy of the book which still contained the original artwork. "Oh frabjous day! Callooh callay!" (And I truly did chortle in my joy.) Happily, Anna Rose shares my delight in his poetry, and she is well on her way to memorizing the entire book I do believe. How sweet it is to revisit my childhood through her enjoyment of these poems.

The Flowers

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardner's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames -
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Boyhood Joys

The Barefoot Boy

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy upturned pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy, -
I was once a barefoot boy!
Prince thou art, - the grown-up man
Only is republican.
Let the million-dollared ride!
Barefoot, trudging at his side,
Thou hast more than he can buy
In the reach of ear and eye, -
Outward sunshine, inward joy;
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!

O for boyhood's painless play,
Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
Health that mocks the doctor's rules,
Knowledge never learned in schools,
Of the wild bee's morning chase,
Of the wild-flower's time and place,
Flight of fowl and habitude
Of the tenants of the wood;
How the tortoise bears his shell,
How the woodchuck digs his cell,
And the ground-mole sinks his well;
How the robin feeds her young,
How the oriole's nest is hung;
Where the whitest lilies blow,
Where the freshest berries grow,
Where the groundnut trails its vine,
Where the wood-grapes clusters shine:
Of the black wasp's cunning way,
Mason of his walls of clay,
And the architectural plans
Of gray hornet artisans! -
For, eschewing books and tasks,
Nature answers all he asks;
Hand in hand with her he walks,
Face to face with her he talks,
Part and parcel of her joy, -
Blessings on the barefoot boy!

O for boyhood's time of June,
Crowding years in one brief moon,
When all things I heard or saw,
Me, their master, waited for.
I was rich in flowers and trees,
Humming-birds and honey-bees;
For my sport the squirrel played,
Plied the snouted mole his spade;
For my taste the blackberry cone
Purpled over hedge and stone;
Laughed the brook for my delight
Through the day and through the night,
Whispering at the garden wall,
Talked with me from fall to fall;
Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond,
Mine the walnut slopes beyond,
Mind, on bending orchard trees,
Apples of Hesperides!
Still as my horizon grew,
Larger grew my riches too;
All the world I saw or knew
Seemed a complex Chinese toy,
Fashioned for a barefoot boy!

O for festal dainties spread,
Like my bowl of milk and bread, -
Pewter spoon and bowl of wood,
On the door-stone, gray and rude!
O'er me like a regal tent,
Cloudy ribbed, the sunset bent,
Purple-curtained, fringed with gold,
Looped in many a wind-swung fold;
While for music came the play
Of the pied frogs' orchestra;
And to light the noisy choir,
Lit the fly his lamp of fire.
I was monarch: pomp and joy
Waited on the barefoot boy!

Cheerily, then, my little man,
Live and laugh as boyhood can!
Though the flinty slopes be hard,
Stubble-speared the new-mown sward,
Every morn shall lead thee through
Fresh baptisms of the dew:
Every evening from thy feet
Shall the cool wind kiss the heat:
All too soon these feet must hide
In the prison cells of pride,
Lose the freedom of the sod,
Like a colt's for work be shod,
Made to tread the mills of toil,
Up and down in ceaseless moil:
Happy if their track be found
Never on forbidden ground;
Happy if they sink not in
Quick and treacherous sands of sin.
Ah! that thou couldst know thy joy,
Ere it passes, barefoot boy!

~John Greenleaf Whittier~

Monday, April 05, 2010

A frugal chariot.....

There is no frigate like a book
to take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take
without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
that bears a human soul.

~Emily Dickinson~

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Jesus is Risen!

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,

He lives to plead for me above.

He lives my hungry soul to feed,

He lives to help me in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,

He lives eternally to save,

He lives all glorious in the sky,

He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,

He lives to guide me with His eye,

He lives to comfort me when faint,

He lives to hear my soul's complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears,
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I'll sing,
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Spring Thaw

Christina Rossetti has a special place in Anna Rose's heart.....the first verses she memorized were from 'In the Bleak Midwinter' which she recited in a Christmas pageant at church several years ago. Since then, she has learned many more poems by Rossetti, and is quite pleased to tell people that her middle name is Christina which means "follower of Christ."

Today was one of those memorable early spring days that bring us hope in the resurrection of all things. Warm, sunny, soft fresh could almost feel the life under the soil yearning to break free. Every year we are reminded that God makes all things new and that for everything there is a season. All that Christ suffered on this day so very long ago was for a purpose.....he died to give us life. How good and full of grace is our Lord to use the season of spring to remind us of His sacrifice and promise of redemption.

The Thaw Comes

Frost-locked all the winter,
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
What shall make their sap ascend
That they may put forth shoots?
Tips of tender green,
Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
That breaks forth underneath,
Life nursed in its grave by Death.

Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,
Drips the soaking rain,
By fits looks down the waking sun:
Young grass springs on the plain,
Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;
Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane,
Birds sing and pair again.

~Christina Georgina Rossetti