Poems compiled in 1941 & read during WW2 (March 2021)

Good morning!  Silence.  Stillness.  My angel of dawn peering through the window handing again the gift of this day with a small bouquet of lavender crocus flowers.  The first sight of spring handed to us from the heavens.  This week I reread a book brought into the bookstore by one of you that dropped into my bag and now onto my table.  Poems for Life compiled in 1941 by Thomas Curtis Clark.  The book fascinates me by its date, knowing the poems about life were compiled right before WW2.  The editor had no idea, in meticulously typing out all of these poems one line at a time at his typewriter, how they would be so relevant over the next few years of many lives.  I picture this exact copy sitting in a home during the 40’s.  What home did it sit in?  What other papers were near on the same table?  What conversations did it overhear?  What hope did it bring when opened on an early morning or sleepless night?  Who read these exact words from this exact copy to find strength during such painful times?  I would love to know the lives that belonged to the hands that have held this book for comfort.  For strength.  For encouragement.  For keeping perspective.  For striving to make life meaningful.  Below are three of the poems I especially loved.  I do not recognize the poets, but I recognize their souls.


My Symphony by William Ellery Channing (1780-1842)

To live content with small means.

To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion.

To be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich.

To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly.

To listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart.

To bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never.

In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common-




Philosophy by John Kendrick Bangs (Associate Editor of Life magazine 1884-1888)

If there’s no sun, I still can have the moon.

If there’s no moon, the stars my needs suffice.

And if these fail, I have my evening lamp.

Or, lampless, there’s my trusty tallow dip.

And if the dip goes out, my couch remains,

Where I may sleep and dream there’s light again.



The Comforters by Margaret L. Kiek (Australian Poet)

God made all lovely things

To be my comforters:

Red flowers and passionate,

And flights of soundless bells;

Hollyhocks on the wall;

Broad-bosomed water, distant hills, dark rocks,


Still sand and little waves that crisp and curl;

Tender caressing trails of willow,

Cypress for peace, and crimson flame for storm.

He made the moon to silver all my cares,

And stars to be their reflex in the night.


Surely these lovely things inanimate

Cannot be wholly dead; how, if they are,

Gain I such comfort from so small a star?


Beautiful.  Nature again giving perspective.  Tonight we will have the chance to write the moments of our day onto our epitaph.  Will we have words worthy of inscription?  Will we give ourselves the gift of silence? Silence even from our thoughts?  I once read that to truly have silence we must stop our thinking.  Then we will notice the details around us.  Beauty from the little crocus flower showing herself through the snow.  Comfort from the voice of someone in our past echoing throughout the quiet room.  The taste of morning coffee.  The little bell on the door as it opens and shuts throughout the day bringing into my life an unknown conversation about to break the silence.  

Details.  Beautiful life.  No matter what losses the faithfulness of constant small gifts handed privately from our Creator.  One drop to our knees, even mentally.  One glance to the heavens.  The peace that passes the understanding of anyone we meet is promised to us.  We now enter our day.  Our gift.  Let’s make the gift worthy of words to inscribe tonight.  Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday morning.  For your encouragement and letting me have this beautiful store.  I hope I’m working when you come over.  When you chose a book whose words inside may change your life.  I also hope that a little crocus flower shows itself somewhere in your path today to show you that life continues regardless of what details are in your world. That beauty in life faithfully enters our scene in this song of life.  Susan


Latin for this week:

Custode et cura natural potentior omni – Nature is beyond all teaching.

Medicus curat, natura sanat – Doctor cures, nature saves.

Votum – prayer, wish, desire


Works Cited:

Clark, Thomas Curtis, Editor.  Poems for Life: Quotable Verse from the Seers and Singer of Yesterday and Today.  New York.  Willet, Clark & Company.  1941.