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Archive for the ‘Bookshelf’ Category

In Harvest

Mown meadows skirt the standing wheat;

I linger, for the hay is sweet,

New-cut and curing in the sun.

Like furrows, straight, the windrows run,

Fallen, gallant ranks that tossed and bent

When, yesterday, the west wind went

A-rioting through grass and grain.

To-day no least breath stirs the plain;

Only the hot air, quivering, yields

Illusive motion to the fields

Where not the slenderest tassel swings.

Across the wheat flash sky-blue wings;

A goldfinch dangles from a tall,

Full-flowered yellow mullein; all

The world seems turning blue and gold.

Unstartled, since, even from of old,

Beauty has brought keen sense of her,

I feel the withering grasses stir;

Along the edges of the wheat,

I hear the rustle of her feet:

And yet I know the whole sea lies,

And half the earth, between our eyes.

 

            ~ Sophie Jewett

 

"After the Harvest" by Moritz Conradi, mid-19th century

“After the Harvest” by Moritz Conradi, mid-19th century

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Among the Rocks

Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth,

     This autumn morning!  How he sets his bones

To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet

For the ripple to run over in its mirth;

     Listening the while, where on the heap of stones

The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.

 

That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;

     Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows.

If you loved only what were worth your love,

Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you:

     Make the low nature better by your throes!

Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!

 

                                       ~ Robert Browning

 

"Forest Stream" by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

“Forest Stream” by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

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It Couldn’t Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

   But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

   Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

   On his face.  If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

   That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

 

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

   At least no one ever has done it;”

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat

   And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

   Without any doubting or quiddit,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

   That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

 

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

   There are thousands to prophesy failure,

There are thousands to point out to you one by one,

   The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

   Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing

   That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

 

                          ~ Edgar Albert Guest

 

Posted in honor of my successful MFA thesis defense at Chapman University today.

 

"The Matterhorn" by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

“The Matterhorn” by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

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The Pains of Sleep

Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,

It hath not been my use to pray

With moving lips or bended knees;

But silently, by slow degrees,

My spirit I to Love compose,

In humble trust mine eye-lids close,

With reverential resignation

No wish conceived, no thought exprest,

Only a sense of supplication;

A sense o’er all my soul imprest

That I am weak, yet not unblest,

Since in me, round me, every where

Eternal strength and Wisdom are.

 

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" by John Anster Fitzgerald, 1858

“The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of” by John Anster Fitzgerald, 1858

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November

November is usually such a disagreeable month…as if the year had suddenly found out that she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it. This year is growing old gracefully…just like a stately old lady who knows she can be charming even with gray hair and wrinkles.  We’ve had lovely days and delicious twilights.

~ Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

 

"Autumnal Forest with Houses" by Walter Moras (1856-1925)

“Autumnal Forest with Houses” by Walter Moras (1856-1925)

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The Moon

Time wears her not; she doth his chariot guide;

Mortality below her orb is placed.

– Raleigh

 

The full-orbed moon with unchanged ray

Mounts up the eastern sky,

Not doomed to these short nights for aye,

But shining steadily.

 

She does not wane, but my fortune,

Which her rays do not bless,

My wayward path declineth soon,

But she shines not the less.

 

And if she faintly glimmers here,

And paled is her light,

Yet always in her proper sphere

She’s mistress of the night.

 

               ~ Henry David Thoreau

 

"Moonrise" by Stanislaw Maslowski, 1884

“Moonrise” by Stanislaw Maslowski, 1884

 

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My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,

     Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

     She walks the sodden pasture lane.

 

Her pleasure will not let me stay.

     She talks and I am fain to list:

She’s glad the birds are gone away,

She’s glad her simple worsted gray

     Is silver now with clinging mist.

 

The desolate, deserted trees,

     The faded earth, the heavy sky,

The beauties she so truly sees,

She thinks I have no eye for these,

     And vexes me for reason why.

 

Not yesterday I learned to know

     The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow,

But it were vain to tell her so,

     And they are better for her praise.

 

~ Robert Frost

 

"Autumn" by Carl Fredrik Hill, 1877

“Autumn” by Carl Fredrik Hill, 1877

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