poetrypoet

poe

rypoetry

poetry

poetry

(Click Here for Featured Poems for the month)

" To divert interest from the poet to the poetry is a laudable aim: for it would conduce to a juster estimation of actual poetry, good and bad. There are many people who appreciate the expression of sincere emotion in verse, and there is a smaller number of people who can appreciate technical excellence. But very few know when there is expression of emotion, emotion which has its life in the poem and not in the history of the poet. The emotion of art is impersonal."--T.S. Eliot (1888–1965). The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. 1922.

 

 

Love bade me welcome;
Yet my soul drew back.
Built of dust and sin.
But quick-eye'd love,
Observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me,
Sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd anything.


-George Herbert

 

 

 

Crazy Quilt
Jane Wilson Joyce

The liberty bell in Philadelphia is cracked.
California is splitting off.
There is no East or West,
No rhyme or reason to it. We are scattered.

Dear Lord, lest we all be somewhere else,
Patch this work. Quilt us together,
Feather stitching piece by piece our tag-ends of living,
Our individual scraps of love.

Why should I still hang back, like one in a dream,
Who vainly strives to clothe himself aright,
That in great presence he may seemly seem?
Why call up feeling - dress me in the faint,
Worn, faded, cast-off nimbus of some saint?
Why of old mood bring back a ghostly gleam -
While there he waits, love's heart and loss's blight!

--George MacDonald

In this new Eden children need no clothes,
No dogma-pieties; just as we are,
Immediacy of eternal now,
Within thy mercy-heart of Love we bow,
Far from the thorny envies of our foes,
Bloom fragrant as a summer rose,
And incandescent as a winter star!

Whitepage 11/12, Betty Aberlin

 

My life is but the weaving
Between my God and me;
I only choose the colors--
He weaveth steadily.

Sometimes He weaveth sorrow
and I in foolish pride,
Forget he sees the upper
and I the under side.

--Anonymous

 

 

THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT By John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)
Based on an Indian folk tale



It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant, and happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk cried, "Ho! what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp? To me `tis mighty clear
This wonder of an elephant is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal, and happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, Thus boldly up he spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand, and felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most; deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun about the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail that fell within his scope.
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

Moral: So oft in theologic wars, The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant not one of them has seen!

*******

"Oh, only for so short a while you have loaned us to each other.
Because we take form in your act of drawing us,
And we take life in your painting us,
And we breathe in your singing us.
But only for so short a while have you loaned us to each other."

~ Aztec Prayer ~


Aztec Cross

********

I Cannot Find Thee!

I cannot find Thee!  Still on restless pinion
My spirit beats the void where Thou dost dwell;
I wander lost through all Thy vast dominion,
And shrink beneath Thy Light ineffable.

I cannot know Thee! Even when most adoring
Before Thy shrine I bend in lowliest prayer;
Beyond these bounds of thought, my thought upsoaring,
From furthest quest comes back; Thou art not there.

Yet high above the limits of my seeing,
And folded far within the inmost heart,
And deep below the deeps of conscious being,
Thy splendor shineth; there, O God, Thou art.

                                      --Eliaza Scudder

Thou sweet beloved will of God,
My anchor ground, my fortress hill -
My spirit's silent, fair abode -
In thee I hide me, and am still.

O Will, that willest good alone
Lead Thou the way, thou guidest best
A little child I follow on
And trusting, lean upon Thy breast.

Gerhard Tersteegen(1697-1769)

 

Who Is Sylvia?

Who is Sylvia? What is she?
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heavens such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.

Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness;
And, being helped, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing,
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.

William Shakespeare


Surrendering to the Sacred

Then shall I live such an essential life
That a mere flower will then to me unfold
More bliss than now grandest orchestral strife -
By love made and obedience humble-bold,
I shall straight through its window God behold.
God, I shall feed on thee, thy creature blest
With very being - work at one with sweetest rest.

George MacDonald--Diary of an Old Soul

A Storm

This storm is for you,
Let its crashing thunder,
Speak your anger.
Let its eye piercing lightning,
Speak your joy.
Let its rain break open
The flood gate of your tears,
And so may its violence
Bring you peace.

Emily Peters (August 12, 2000)


"Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
stormy wind, fulfilling His Word
"
Psalm 148:8

Delivered From Hell

Awoke early and depressed as usual,
          Free floating anxiety and a sense of hopelessness.
Driving to Canada today anyway.

Over the 205 bridge and into Washington,
          Bright dawn, black mood.
Feel isolated, alone; this must be Hell.

Too depressed to eat
          But coffee sounds good.
Will raise my blood sugar, but will the cost be more anxiety?

I-5 Rest Stop and I pull in.
          Comforting sight, all the other travelers:
Mood improves.

Sign inviting: "Free Coffee".
          "Free" too is comforting.
I walk up to the coffee stand.

Elderly gentleman standing behind counter
          Offers a smile, a cup and connection.
Awful coffee, encouraging fellowship.

Exchange of small talk, pleasantries.
          A volunteer nurturer, he is.
Free coffee and free community...

I taste grace again.


The Lamb

          Little lamb, who made thee?
          Doth thou know who made thee;
Gave thee life and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice
Making all the vales rejoice?
          Little Lamb, who made thee?
          Dost thou know who made thee?
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
          Little Lamb, God bless thee.
          Little Lamb, God bless thee.

                                      William Blake

 

Christmas Day and Every Day

Star high,
Baby low:
‘Twixt the two
Wise men go;
Find the baby,
Grasp the star—
Heirs of all things
Near and far!

                                      George MacDonald

Selections From The Hound of Heaven:

I fled Him down the nights and down the days;
          I fled Him down the arches of the years;
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
          Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him and under running laughter
          Up vistaed hopes I sped;
          And shot, precipitated
    Adown titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

But with unhurrying chase
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy
          They beat—and a Voice beat
          More instant than the Feet—

“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me…
Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.
Lo, naught contents thee, who content’st not Me.”

In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
          I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as suns-stars on a stream.

That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:

          “And Is thy earth so marred,
          Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
Strange, piteous, futile thing,
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught” (He said),

“And human love needs human meriting:
          How has thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
          Alack, thou knowest not
How little worth of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee
          Save Me, save only Me?”

“All which I took from thee I did but take,
          Not for thy harms,
But just that though mightst seek it in My arms.
          All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
          Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”

Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?

          “Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
          I am He Whom though seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”

Francis Thompson, recovering narcotics addict



The Dove is often a picture of the Holy Spirit. Like the dove, it is a free spirit, exclusive to no particular religion and inhabits all who desire its presence.....

Invocation of the Holy Spirit

Most powerful Holy Spirit,
    come down
          upon us
and subdue us.

From heaven,
    where the ordinary
          is made glorious,
    and glory seems
but ordinary,

bath us
     with the brilliance
     of your light
like dew.

           Celtic Prayer

 

Sing Me To Heaven

In my heart's sequestered chambers lie truths striped of poet's gloss.
Words alone are vain and vacant and my heart is mute.
In response to aching silence memory summons half-heard voices,
And my soul finds primal eloquence and wraps me in song:

If you would comfort me, sing me a lullaby.
If you would win my heart, sing me a love song.
If you would mourn me and bring me to God,
sing me a requiem, sing me to heaven.

Touch in me all love and passion, pain and pleasure, grief and comfort;
Sing me a lullaby, a love song, a requiem.
Love me, comfort me, bring me to God:
Sing me a love song, sing me to heaven.

                                                Jane Griner

A Song To David

O Thou, that sit’st upon a throne,
With harp of high majestic tone,
To praise the King of kings;
And voice of heav’n ascending swell,
Which while its deeper notes excel,
Clear as a clarion rings:

Great, valiant, pious, good and clean,
Sublime, contemplative, serene,
Song, constant, pleasant, wise!
Bright effluence of exceeding grace;
Best man! The swiftness and the race,
The peril and the prize!

But stronger still in earth and air,
And in the sea, the man of pray’r,
And far beneath the tide.
And in the seat to faith assigned
Where ask is have, where seek is find,
Where knock is open wide.

More glorious is the crown
Of Him that brought salvation down
By meekness call’d thy Son;
Thou at stupendous truth believ’d,
And now the matchless deed’s achieve’d,
Determined, Dared, and Done.

More glorious is the crown
Of Him that brought salvation down
By meekness call’d thy Son;
Thou at stupendous truth believ’d,
And now the matchless deed’s achiev’d,
Determined, dared, and done.

                                      Selected verses, by Christopher Smart

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December;
A magnificent thing
And sweet to remember:
“We are nearer to spring
Than we were in September.”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

                                      Oliver Herford

Poems of Grief


Oskar Kordel Rose

The Rose

From the rose, a petal fell
Its time came way too soon,
A gentle breeze swept him away No longer will he bloom.
When he flourished, he brushed each one
With kindnesses he'd sown;
And softly spread his love around
A fragrance, all his own.
The rose has lost it's beauty now
The other petals weep;
A part of them forever gone,
The circle, incomplete.

But, each petal in its turn
The wind will someday claim
To join the one that left them first
The rose, complete again.
Kathy King, written in 1982 at the loss of her brother

The Wall

Have you ever felt,
The cold and lifeless hand of an infant,
Gazed into their unblinking eyes,
And observed the face of death,
When masked in bittersweet innocence?

Have you ever touched your dreams,
And felt the simpleness of joy,
To feel them become reality,
Only to abandon them
For reasons you cannot explain?

Have you ever watched your family,
Who once shared the greatest of loves,
Suffer an unforgettable, unforgivable tragedy,
That will slowly, painfully, and inevitably,
Tear them all apart?

Do you know, firsthand, the evil,
That resides deep within the heart of every Man, Every woman, and every child?
Have you seen its face as it randomly seeks,
A Soul to torment and destroy?

Do you know the darker side of life,
The one that awakens you,
In the still of the night,
Crying to the Lord to Save me from myself?

Does your heart constantly question,
Whether humanity is reachable
In a world corrupted with suffering, and where War, is the favoured solution for peace?

If you really want to know me And understand
The forces that compel me to move on,
Then take these questions, and take this pain, for This who I am.

Jeanette Parry

Jesus! Is she with you?
I wonder every day,
I sit and wonder why she's gone
And why she could not stay

Every part of me is empty
I feel I can't go on,
But then I look to heaven
I hear this beautiful song--

Mommy and Daddy I'm with him
He holds me in his arms,
Whenever I am with him
He keeps me safe and warm.

He says you shouldn't worry,
I am safe and loved right here
With all the other baby angels
that passed within the years.

We have a special place up here,
He thought that you should know,
Where the Blessed Mother and Father
Take Your place for now,
Until you both can show.

When I hear this precious little voice
From the heavens above
I know that all the angels
Are showering her with love.

All who want to feel that baby's
Touch so much you weep,
Just close your eyes, begin to pray, Embrace them in your sleep.

Christine Rutchasky, written July 4th 2003 on the death of her baby


 
Wisdom

 Would you deny a plant water so that it would wither and wilt from thirst?

Would you withold food from any creature so that it would weaken and hunger?

Why then, oh why would you deny yourself so that your spirit grows dry and
ravenous?

Do you not know that this is your most precious gift?
What is within is the core of who you are.

The Wise Old Woman is calling you, she beckons at your door.
She knows....
She has lived for 2 million years.

                                                     ...L Puckett-Vasquez 

Chartless
I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea, Yet know I how the heather looks, And what a wave must be. I never spoke with God, Nor visited in heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot As if the chart were given.
            
...Emily Dickinson "There is no God," the foolish saith, But none, "There is no sorrow." And nature oft the cry of faith In bitter need will borrow: Eyes which the preacher could not school, By wayside graves are raised; And lips say, "God be pitiful," Who ne'er said, "God be praised."
... Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

The Children's Heaven

The Infant lies in blessed ease
Upon his mother's breast;
No storm, no dark, the baby sees
Invade his heaven of rest.

He nothing knows of change or death--
her face his holy skies;

The air he breaths, his mothers' breath;
His stars, his mother's eyes!

Yet half the soft winds wandering there
Are sighs that come of fears;
The dew slow falling through that air--

It is the dew of tears;
And ah, my child, thy heavenly home
Hath storms as well as dew;
Black clouds fill sometimes all its dome,
And quench the starry blue!

My smile would win no smile again,
If baby saw the things
That ache across his mother's brain
The while to him she sings!
Thy faith in me is faith in vain--
I am not what I seem:
O dreary day, O cruel pain,
That wakes thee from thy dream!

Nay, pity not his dreams so fair,
Fear thou no waking grief;

Oh, safer he than though thou were
Good as his vague Belief!
There is a heaven that heaven above
Whereon he gazes now;
A truer love than in thy kiss;
A better friend than thou!

The Father's arms fold like a nest
Both thee and him about;
His face looks down, a heaven of rest,
Where comes no dark, no doubt.
Its mists are clouds of stars that move
On, on, with progress rife;
Its winds, the goings of his love;
Its dew, the dew of life.

We for our children seek thy heart,
For them we lift our eyes:
Lord, should their faith in us depart,
Let faith in thee arise.
When childhood's visions them forsake,
To women grown and men,
Back to thy heart their hearts oh take,
And bid them dream again.

...George MacDonald

(Title Unknown)

I owned a little boat a while ago,
And sailed the morning sea without a fear,
And whither any breeze might fairly blow
I steered my little craft afar or near.

Mine was the boat
And mine the air And mine the sea,
Nor mine a care.
My boat became my place of mighty toil,

My boat became my place of mighty toil,
I sailed at evening to the fishing ground,
At morn my boat was freighted with the spoil
Which my all-conquering work had found.

Mine was the boat
And mine the net,
And mine the skill
And power to get.

One day there came along that silent shore,
While I my net was casting in the sea,
A man who spoke as never man before;
I followed Him; new life began in me.

Mine was the boat,
But His the voice,
And His the call,
Yet mine the choice.

Once from the boat he taught the curious throng
Then bade me cast my net into the sea;
I murmured but obeyed,
Nor was it long Before the catch amazed and humbled me.

His was the boat,
And His the skill.
And His the catch,
And His my will.

George MacDonald

Manchester Poem (excerpt)

I love thee, flower, as a slow lingerer
Upon the verge of my humanity.
Lo, on thine inner leaves and in thy heart
The loveliest green, acknowledging the grass - -
White-minded memory of lowly friends !
But almost more I love thee for the earth
Which clings to thy transfigured radiancy,
Uplifted with thee from thine abandoned grave ;
Say rather the soiling of thy garments pure
Upon thy road into the light and air,
The heaven of thy new birth. Some gentle rain
Will one day wash thee white, and send the earth
Back to the earth ; but, sweet friend, while it clings,
I love the cognizance of our family. excerpt from:

George MacDonald

A Prayer in Sickness

Thou foldest me in sickness;
Thou callest through the cloud;
I batter with the thickness
Of the swathing, blinding shroud:
Oh, let me see thy face,
The only perfect grace
That thou canst show thy child.

O father, being-giver,
Take off the sickness-cloud;
Saviour, my life deliver
From this dull body-shroud:
Till I can see thy face
I am not full of grace,
I am not reconciled.

George MacDonald, Poetical Works, Volume Two

Oh That A Wind

Oh that the wind would call
From the depth of the leafless wood,
Oh, that a voice would fall
On the ear of my solitude!
Far away us the sea,
With its' sound and its' spirit-tone;
Over it white clouds flee;
But I am alone, alone.

Straight and steady and tall
The trees stand on their feet;
Fast by the old stone wall
The moss grows green and sweet;
But my heart is full of fears,
For the sun shines far away;
And they look in my face through tears,
And the light of a dying day.

My heart was glad last night,
As I pressed it with my palm;
It's throb was airy and light
As it sang some spirit-psalm;
But it died in my breast,
As I wandered forth today, ---
As a bird sat dead on its nest,
While others sang on the spray.

Oh weary heart of mine,
Is there ever a Truth for thee?
Will ever a sun outshine
But the sun that shines on me?
Away, away through the air
The clouds and the leaves are blown;
And my heart hath need of prayer,
For it sitteth alone, alone.

George MacDonald, Poetical Works, Volume Two

''Mother Nature''

Beautiful mother is busy all day,
So busy she neither can sing nor say;
But lovely thoughts, in a ceaseless flow,
Through her eyes, and her ears, and her bosom go ---
Motion, sight, and sound, and scent,
Weaving a royal, rich content.
When night is come, and her children sleep,
Beautiful mother her watch doth keep;
With glowing stars in her dusky hair
Down she sits to her music rare;
And her instrument that never fails,
Is the hearts and the throats of her nightingales.

Excerpt from: ''Mother Nature'' as found in: Poetical Works, Volume Two
by George MacDonald

"Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or the particular monk they are intended to be by God. They never become the man or the artist who is called for by all the circumstances of their individual lives. They waste their years in vain efforts to be some other poet, some other saint. For many absurd reasons they are convinced that they are obliged to become somebody else who died two hundred years ago and who lived in circumstances utterly alien to their own. They wear out their minds and bodies in a hopeless endeavor to have somebody else's experiences or write somebody else's poems or possess somebody else's spirituality. Hurry ruins saints as well as artists. They want quick success, and they are in such haste to get it that they cannot take time to be true to themselves. And when the madness is upon them thay argue that their very haste is a species of integrity."

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Prospice, Robert Browning

(On Death)

Fear death? to feel the fog in my throat, The mist in my face, When the snows begin, and the blasts denote I am nearing the place, The power of the night, the press of the storm, The post of the foe; Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form, Yet the strong man must go: For the journey is done and the summit attained, 10 And the barriers fall, Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained, The reward of it all. I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more, The best and the last! I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forbore,[page 94] And bade me creep past, No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers The heroes of old, Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears 20 Of pain, darkness, and cold. For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave, The black minute's at end, And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave, Shall dwindle, shall blend, Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain, Then a light, then thy breast, O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again, And with God be the rest!