My angel of dawn barely visible peering between my curtains into the little gap letting light in. The light behind her face so bright I can hardly see her, but our eyes connect. She smiles. Holding a little bouquet of unopened buds that haven’t entered the stage yet with their blossoms. Her faithfulness again in arriving this morning encouraging me to enter this day. To realize the gift of the moment of time. She makes eye contact with the songbirds. My wren. My little worms. She greets them all with her blessing on the day. Encouraging even them to look to the heavens and to realize how beautiful life is. Even if their life is only a day in length. Our moments on stage. All choreographed to be short or long acts in this musical called Life.
This week a book donated by one of you stealthily made it’s way into my bag and into my life. One Thousand Inspirational Things compiled in 1948 right at the end of WW2. The editor prefaced selection decisions with this inscription, “…May the selections by the great writers in this book help us all better “to live in pulses stirred to generosity, in deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn for miserable aims that end with self, in thoughts sublime that urge man’s search to vaster (broader) issues.” Below are several poems that I marked to keep in my mental library hoping you find the words to help you to keep the realization that our life is our gift. To take the gift whether our presence on stage is short or long; important in our composer’s plan.
In the Hospital by Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943) – Cofounder of the Poetry Society of America
Because on the branch that is tapping my pane
A sun-waked leaf-bud uncurled,
Is bursting its rusty brown sheathing in twain
I know there is Spring in the world.
Because through the sky-patch whose azure and white
My window frames all the day long
A yellow-bird dips for an instant of flight,
I know there is a Song.
Because even here in this Mansion of Woe
Where creep the dull hours, leaden-shod,
Compassion and Tenderness aid me, I know
There is God.
Old Friendship by Eunice Tietjens (1884-1944) – Newberry Award Winner for Boy of the South Seas
Beautiful and rich is an old friendship,
Grateful to the touch as ancient ivory,
Smooth as aged wine, or sheen of tapestry
Where light has lingered, intimate and long.
Full of tears and warm is an old friendship.
That asks no longer deeds of gallantry,
Or any deed at all – save that the friend shall be
Alive and breathing somewhere, like a song.
Old Letters by Adele Jordan Tarr
I keep your letters for a rainy day;
Then take them out and read them all again.
So, reading, I forget that skies are gray,
And pathways sodden under falling rain.
They are so full of simple friendliness, –
Of understanding of the things I love.
no phrase obscure or vague, to make me guess, –
No deep philosophy my soul to move.
And though your eyes are “lifted to the hills”
You still keep faith with earth, and earthly things;
Prosaic duty all your hours fills
The while you listen for the beat of wings.
You have read deeply in the book of life,
And you have added lines that I shall keep
To be a shield against the petty strife
Until such time as I shall fall asleep.
So when I would forget that skies are gray
I read your letters on a rainy day.
When She Must Go by Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978) – Pulitzer Prize Winner for The Old Road to Paradise
When she must go, so much will go with her!
Stories of country summers, far and bright,
Wisdom of berries, flowers and chestnut bur,
And songs to comfort babies in the night;
Old legends and their meanings, half-lost tunes,
Wise craftsmanship in all the household ways,
And roses taught to flower in summer noons,
And children taught the shaping o good days;
A heart still steadfast, stable, that can know
A son’s first loss, a daughter’s first heartbreak,
And say to them, “This, too, shall pass and go;
This is not all!” while anguished for their sake;
Courage to cling to when the day is lost,
Love to come back to when all love grows cold,
Quiet from tumult; hearth fire from the frost.
Oh, must she ever go, and we be old?
To Our Guest by Nancy Byrd Turner (1880-1971) – Winner of The Golden Rose – highest award of the New England Poetry Society
If you come cheerily,
Here shall be jest for you;
If you come wearily,
Here shall be rest for you.
If you come borrowing,
Gladly we’ll loan to you;
If you come sorrowing,
Love shall be shown to you.
Under our thatch, friend,
Place shall abide for you;
Touch but the latch, friend,
The door shall swing wide for you!
Thank you for letting me again enter your Thursday morning. Words over 100 years old taken sporadically from these poems now will be in our minds as we enter different scenes. Because of a specific leaf…I know there is Spring. Because of a yellow bird…I know there is Spring. Because of compassion and tenderness shown…I know there is God. A beautiful woman not only taking with her when she must go, but leaving her example of dealing with life to us that follow her act. Friendship. Knowing someone we love exists somewhere. Letters saved for the words to distract us later when we don’t want to cope with a day. Today. Our gift. Little spider webs now glistening in the dew of the brighter sun showing other tiny creatures had played their part in the act during the night. Our day. Our stage. Beautiful moments we can only capture if we make the mental decision to stop and look. Look to the heavens. The peace that passes the understanding of anyone else is promised to us. Regardless of pain and hurts, our plays are written by a composer that cares and sees the entire picture. That only wants the entire musical to express all of the emotions of this life. The composer seeing the eternal view trying to show that perspective to us. Susan
Latin for this week:
animam esse pulchra fabula – life being a beautiful play
I know there is Spring – scio vere est
I know there is a Song – scio est carmen
I know there is a God – Scio non est deus
old friendship – veteris amicitiae
old letters – antiquis litteris
beautiful old woman – vetus mulier pulchra
Morris, Audrey Stone, Compiler. One Thousand Inspirational Things. Chicago. 1948.