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Archive for the ‘Bookshelf’ Category

Mistletoe

Sitting under the mistletoe

(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),

One last candle burning low,

All the sleepy dancers gone,

Just one candle burning on,

Shadows lurking everywhere:

Some one came, and kissed me there.

 

Tired I was; my head would go

Nodding under the mistletoe

(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),

No footsteps came, no voice, but only,

Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,

Stooped in the still and shadowy air

Lips unseen – and kissed me there.

 

~ Walter de la Mare

 

"The End of a Dream" by Giuseppe Pennasilico, circa 1908

“The End of a Dream” by Giuseppe Pennasilico, circa 1908

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December Notes

The backyard is one white sheet

Where we read in the bird tracks

 

The songs we hear.  Delicate

Sparrow, heavier cardinal,

 

Filigree threads of chickadee.

And wing patterns where one flew

 

Low, then up and away, gone

To the woods but calling out

 

Clearly its bright epigrams.

More snow promised for tonight.

 

The postal van is stalled

In the road again, the mail

 

Will be late and any good news

Will reach us by hand.

 

~ Nancy McCleery

 

"Letter Boxes of the Kerava Riding School, Finland" by Annelis

Letter Boxes of the Kerava Riding School in Finland by Annelis, 2009

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Snowflake

Timing’s everything.  The vapor rises

high in the sky, tossing to and fro,

then freezes, suddenly, and crystalizes

into a perfect flake of miraculous snow.

For countless miles, drifting east above

the world, whirling about in a swirling free-

for-all, appearing aimless, just like love,

but sensing, seeking out, its destiny.

 

              ~ From “Snowflake” by William Baer, Borges and Other Sonnets (Truman State UP, 2003)

 

"The Skater" by Prince Pierre Troubetskoy, 1895

“The Skater” by Prince Pierre Troubetskoy, 1895

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On Education

When infant Reason first exerts her sway,

And new-formed thoughts their earliest charms display;

Then let the growing race employ your care

Then guard their opening minds from Folly’s snare;

Correct the rising passions of their youth,

Teach them each serious, each important truth;

Plant heavenly virtue in the tender breast,

Destroy each vice that might its growth molest;

Point out betimes the course they should pursue;

Then with redoubled pleasure shall you view

Their reason strengthen as their years increase,

Their virtue ripen and their follies cease;

Like corn sown early in the fertile soil,

The richest harvest shall repay your toil.

 

                                            ~ Elizabeth Bentley

 

"The Young Student" by Ozias Leduc, 1894

“The Young Student” by Ozias Leduc, 1894

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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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