The ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond and jade,
Sit silently on their temple shelves
While the people
Yet the ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond-jade,
Are only silly puppet gods
That the people themselves
~ Langston Hughes
We are they that go, that go,
Plunging before the hidden blow.
We run the byways of the earth,
For we are fugitive from birth,
Blindfolded, with wide hands abroad
That sow, that sow the sullen sod.
We cannot wait, we cannot stop
For flushing field or quickened crop;
The orange bow of dusky dawn
Glimmers our smoking swath upon;
blindfolded still we hurry on.
How do we know the ways we run
That are blindfolded from the sun?
We stagger swiftly to the call,
Our wide hands feeling for the wall.
Oh, ye who climb to some clear heaven,
By grace of day and leisure given,
Pity us, fugitive and driven --
The flexible whip curling on our track,
The headlong haste that looks not back!
~ Florence Wilkinson
People who are emotionally dependent often carry an unspoken feeling that life is passing them by, that they have missed their personal boat somewhere along the way. Life, which had promised to be so exciting, full of joy and surprises, has turned out to be as level and barren as the salt flats. The truth is, if life feels flat, it probably means we're letting others define what our life should be and haven't taken the risk to find out who we are and what we want.
Children are natural-born risk takers. They move out into the world and toward others with arms wide open. For children, life is full of mountains and valleys waiting to be explored. There's nothing level about the life of a healthy, spontaneous child. And when we do see a child acting level and flat, we take their temperature; thinking something must be wrong.
Often we fall into the habit of living blah lives so gradually that we are not aware of how flat and bland our lives have become. Eventually I realized that in order to live my life, I had to embrace life's whole package; the pain as well as the joy; the risks as well as the certainties; the entire gamut of emotions and possibilities. It wasn't a decision I made lightly or easily. I was helped immensely by the following passage from Khalil Gibran's, The Prophet:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises
was often filled with your tears
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,
the more joy you can contain.
~ Sue Patton Thoele
‘O DREARY life,’ we cry, ‘O dreary life!’
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven's true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we may struggle! ocean girds
Unslackened the dry land, savannah-swards
Unweary sweep,—hills watch, unworn; and rife
Meek leaves drop yearly from the forest-trees,
To show above the unwasted stars that pass
In their old glory. O thou God of old,
Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these!--
But so much patience as a blade of grass
Grows by, contented through the heat and cold.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Happiness, to some, elation;
Is, to others, mere stagnation.
Days of passive somnolence,
At its wildest, indolence.
Hours of empty quietness,
No delight, and no distress.
Happiness to me is wine,
Full of tang and fiery pleasure,
Far too hot to leave me leisure
For a single thought beyond it.
Drunk! Forgetful! This the bond: it
Means to give one's soul to gain
Life's quintessence. Even pain
Pricks to livelier living, then
Wakes the nerves to laugh again,
Rapture's self is three parts sorrow.
Although we must die to-morrow,
Losing every thought but this;
Torn, triumphant, drowned in bliss.
Happiness: We rarely feel it.
I would buy it, beg it, steal it,
Pay in coins of dripping blood
For this one transcendent good.
~ Amy Lowell
'T is you that are the music, not your song.
The song is but a door which, opening wide,
Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit's harmony, which clear and strong
Sings but of you. Throughout your whole life long
Your songs, your thoughts, your doings, each divide
This perfect beauty; waves within a tide,
Or single notes amid a glorious throng.
The song of earth has many different chords;
Ocean has many moods and many tones
Yet always ocean. In the damp Spring woods
The painted trillium smiles, while crisp pine cones
Autumn alone can ripen. So is this
One music with a thousand cadences.
By Amy Lowell
The Lockless Door by Robert Frost
It went many years,
But at last came a knock,
And I though of the door
With no lock to lock.
I blew out the light,
I tip-toed the floor,
And raised both hands
In prayer to the door.
But the knock came again.
My window was wide;
I climbed on the sill
And descended outside.
Back over the sill
I bade a 'Come in'
To whatever the knock
At the door may have been.
So at a knock
I emptied my cage
To hide in the world
And alter with age.
Beggarly Heart by Rabindranath Tagore
When the heart is hard and parched up,
come upon me with a shower of mercy.
When grace is lost from life,
come with a burst of song.
When tumultuous work raises its din
on all sides shutting me out from beyond,
come to me, my lord of silence,
with thy peace and rest.
When my beggarly heart sits crouched,
shut up in a corner, break open the door,
my king, and come with the ceremony of a king.
When desire blinds the mind with delusion
and dust, O thou holy one, thou wakeful,
come with thy light and thy thunder
A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost
OH, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.
God Keeps Watch by Leona I. Miller
Each new day quickly fades away,
There's pleasure from the work God has done;
He gives to us over and over and over again,
From morning's dawn 'til the setting sun.
The Western sky is ablaze with colors,
We pause to watch God paint the sky;
The beauty seen is a glimpse of Heaven,
It's a beautiful moment money can't buy.
We view the stars and the moon above,
They sparkle and shine with their light;
The stars surely must represent Angels,
Keeping watch over us in the night.
God continues to keep watch over us too,
He knows if we stumble or go astray;
He is always willing to forgive if we ask,
There's power when we're on our knees to pray.
As we enjoy another evening's sunset,
Pause to think back for a moment on the day;
Forgive to be forgiven before the sun goes down,
Then there will be peace in the heart to stay.
Be thankful and give praise to God,
He has given blessings and favors again today;
As we come to the busy day's closure,
Don't forget—don't ever forget to pray.
"Day by Day" by Julia Harris May
I heard a voice at evening softly say:
Bear not thy yesterday into tomorrow,
Nor load this week with last week's sorrow;
Lift all thy burdens as they come, nor try
To weight the present with the by and by.
One step and then another, take thy way--
Live day by day.
Though autumn leaves change the season,
Walk in the sunshine. It is all for thee.
Push ahead as long as you can see.
Dread not the winter where mayst go;
But when it comes, be thankful for snow.
Onward and upward. Look and pray--
Live day by day.
The path before thee does not lead astray.
Do the next duty. It must surely be
The Christ is in the one closest to thee.
Onward, still onward, with a smile,
Till step by step shall end in mile by mile.
'I'll do my best,' unto my conscience say--
Live day by day.
O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths-for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Because I Could not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
We slowly drove, he knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the School, where Children strove
At recess in the ring
We passed the fields of gazing grain
We passed the setting sun.
Or rather, he passed us
The dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my gown
My tippet only tulle.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the GROUND
The roof was scarcely visible
The cornice in the ground.
Since then 'tis centuries and yet
Feels shorter than the DAY
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.
The Prodigal Son by Rudyard Kipling
Here come I to my own again,
Fed, forgiven and known again,
Claimed by bone of my bone again
And cheered by flesh of my flesh.
The fatted calf is dressed for me,
But the husks have greater zest for me,
I think my pigs will be best for me,
So I'm off to the Yards afresh.
I never was very refined, you see,
(And it weighs on my brother's mind, you see)
But there's no reproach among swine, d'you see,
For being a bit of a swine.
So I'm off with wallet and staff to eat
The bread that is three parts chaff to wheat,
But glory be! - there's a laugh to it,
Which isn't the case when we dine.
My father glooms and advises me,
My brother sulks and despises me,
And Mother catechises me
Till I want to go out and swear.
And, in spite of the butler's gravity,
I know that the servants have it I
Am a monster of moral depravity,
And I'm damned if I think it's fair!
I wasted my substance, I know I did,
On riotous living, so I did,
But there's nothing on record to show I did
Worse than my betters have done.
They talk of the money I spent out there -
They hint at the pace that I went out there -
But they all forget I was sent out there
Alone as a rich man's son.
So I was a mark for plunder at once,
And lost my cash (can you wonder?) at once,
But I didn't give up and knock under at once,
I worked in the Yards, for a spell,
Where I spent my nights and my days with hogs.
And shared their milk and maize with hogs,
Till, I guess, I have learned what pays with hogs
And - I have that knowledge to sell!
So back I go to my job again,
Not so easy to rob again,
Or quite so ready to sob again
On any neck that's around.
I'm leaving, Pater. Good-bye to you!
God bless you, Mater! I'll write to you!
I wouldn't be impolite to you,
But, Brother, you are a hound!
Jason E. Royle
Welcome to my blog. I'm an open-minded theologian committed to Christ-like compassion & understanding.
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