As way leads on to way (Robert Frost)

Blog of my heart (and dear, welcomed reader), I am here. Committed more than ever to write. O, the quiet moments with hot drink beside and writing my way to peace.

I have a jumble of posts in mind and in drafts… and so much longing to … is it eke out? or unleash? or scribe? or scratch down? I don’t know. So much longing to gather myself to post.

So I begin with some poetry and the way connections can ignite learning. And the gentle way Morning Meeting leads us:

We recently had the wonderful experience of learning new vocabulary words in a vivid and personal way: alms and almoner. (and I thought I knew what these words meant… but it took an inquisitive question from a child to fully unveil meanings)  It all started like this:

We read this poem for October by Longfellow:

Autumn

Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o’er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven’s o’erhanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer’s prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

(And O! we were heralded by the rain! Incessant rain. Unending rain. So much rain, the color came late and felt so sparse.

And the greatest riches found in these delicious words- both the poem above and the poem below. Richness, Color, Life. Gentle, un-pressured reading of the beautiful words is life-giving.)

Then a little while later, through a happy circumstance, I happened upon this:

ALMS IN AUTUMN

Spindle-wood, spindle-wood, will you lend me, pray,
A little flaming lantern to guide me on my way?
The fairies all have vanished from the meadow and the glen,
And I would fain go seeking till I find them once again.
Lend me now a lantern that I may bear a light
To find the hidden pathway in the darkness of the night.

Ash-tree, ash-tree, throw me, if you please,
Throw me down a slender branch of russet-gold keys.
I fear the gates of Fairyland may all be shut so fast
That nothing but your magic keys will ever take me past.
I’ll tie them to my girdle, and as I go along
My heart will find a comfort in the tinkle of their song.

Holly-bush, holly-bush, help me in my task,
A pocketful of berries is all the alms I ask :
A pocketful of berries to thread in golden strands
(I would not go a-visiting with nothing in my hands).
So fine will be the rosy chains, so gay, so glossy bright,
They’ll set the realms of Fairyland all dancing with delight.

ROSE FYLEMAN

 

My young son asked: what is an alm? And so we did a little research and discovered: alms are charity, money, or food given to the needy; gifts given to relieve the poor

and this led to the exploration of almoner: the official chaplain or church officer who distributes the gifts to the poor; also a prince can have an almoner.

And both these poems suddenly came vividly alive to us. And with that wild leap of connection that poetry offers: we are realizing- the wind is our almoner; the alms of autumn are for us:

The wind- scattering the golden leaves to us- the needy ones.

The Alms of Autumn: pocketful of russet berries (and so much more)

(O, how the beauty of Autumn is an alm for the needy heart- and o!the wind as almoner.)

And so– way leads on to way. The poetry way. The most gentle, rich, and textured way to learn poetry is simply to read it every day. I find nuanced meanings become clearer and clearer- writing themselves on mind and heart- until they become a treasure trove of mind and heart… (how we all spout out: O wind a- blowing all day long! O wind who sings so loud a song! on a blustery windy day- just because we spent slow time in those rhythmic words)

Blessings on your school year,

Rebecca

 

 

Weep

I weep.

-wounded in one

sudden, unexpected

piercing

the fragments of a day, a season, a life

the ragged edges endless;

unavoidable.

I am cut down the heart, unguarded

in that moment.

I find the

-liquid black, the make-up smears and

I am utterly

undone.

Undone.

==================================

There is a picture in my heart:

There is a

banner waving high while a white stallion rears.

The boy-man astride, with strength in his thigh and

wind through his hair; his blue eyes glint.

He grins.

With a sudden kick of the heel

he whirls

away with confidence.

I whisper

Ride free, my love.

All the imperfect I have given you,

all the broken places, pieces

yet-

it has still been

all.

I pray the sanctity of my heart’s effort

anoints the forward path.

I have you in my heart.

=======================================

I fumble in the wreckage

of a purse completely tossed asunder.

It’s my purse and it’s my life.

And I can’t find the one card I need

in the one moment I need it, which is now.

And I have to suffer the humiliation

of it

all.

The purse, the life, the pain, the asking, the need-

the constant

-holding my ground and humbling-

humbling myself

I do it for the good. For the good of my people.

and the way life always and forever

always and forever

looks so different, IS so different.

A sob with pain no one can share. It is mine alone

and I must bear it.

===========================================

The music plays

it plays my heart.

he plays my heart

in and out

through all the years.

The piano notes ripple

all around me

filling my

mind.

It’s George Winston. It’s December.

=====================================================

I cry.

I cry the broken

-hearted, unexpected.

I rush on like a train

barreling down the track

but suddenly

I am off

track-

so off track,

I am wrecked.

I wander through the store with downcast eyes.

I am just one word away

from that wild, uncontrollable, inexplicable

weeping

that embarrasses

us all.

But, it doesn’t matter.

I am alone.

====================================

 

 

A Poem for November

A Poem for November

i

Burnished bronze, gold, and

russet-

flame in leaf and

ember

ii

Wind wraps me round,

I shiver

iii

Gone, gone golden October

glory

leaf, luminous, parchment-

iv

mellowed, aging light

spun through

the solemn, stain-glassed

hush

-of November.

v

moody skies shift and change

irascible

skyscape

blue, gray, streaked white,

spits rain-

–sometimes,

there is magic;

the early, gentle

snow.

vi

the cusp of all

family, feasting, holiday

merry-making

joyous reveling.

vii

tables groan and candles glimmer,

mugs steam,

and early,

early comes the darkness

inviting all to hunker in,

light the lamps, start the fire.

Push out cold! It’s warm within!

Come in, come in.

viii

Window lights gleam

amidst the sudden press

of darkness,

wind strips daily

all adornment from

the trees

viiii

who abandon all their beauty-

unresisting, unabashed.

Half-undone, half-unspun,

yet-

a little while longer-

russet, gold, burnished bronze

golden ground; crimson limb-

sunny yellow, velvet purple, creams, and white;

those stalwart, plucky pansies

shine.

x

Still, there’s color. Still, there’s time.

-all the ground is gold-

– November.

-for Courtney

RLB

Crying

So-

I cry

(just like I said, I really do)

this year

this senior year, launch year, goodbye year, hello year, one more year, essay year, test scores year, stretching, reaching, belly aching, hair pulling, memorize your face

year.

Well,

even for me, hold it in, swallow it back, stand up straight, knock it out

tears

seeping, weeping, trailing, leaking

(shhh…sometimes sobbing)

Birthing year, hurting year, hard year, grace year, hug you close, push away, watch

you fly.

Wonder….why?

Oh!

I cry.

A Poem for Spring by Mary Oliver

Delightful, heart-quickening:

Children, It’s Spring
by Mary Oliver

And this is the lady
Whom everyone loves,
Ms. Violet
in her purple gown

Or, on special occasions,
A dress the color
Of sunlight. She sits
In the mossy weeds and waits

To be noticed.
She loves dampness.
She loves attention.
She loves especially

To be picked by careful fingers,
Young fingers, entranced
By what has happened
To the world.

We, the older ones,
Call it Spring,
And we have been through it
Many times.

But there is still nothing
Like the children bringing home
Such happiness
In their small hands.

From New and Selected Poems Vol 2

A Poem for February; A Poem for Love-George Herbert Love (III)

I can’t remember if I shared this before on this blog. We are celebrating God’s Love and this is the poem selection that was supposed to grace our Table.  Valentine’s Day celebrated better late than never! Note: I never cared to celebrate Valentine’s Day for years and years…finding it a holiday that can wreak emotional havoc. However, I have discovered that it is a perfect ministry opportunity to pour out love and grace upon my family. So, now I celebrate wholeheartedly for the Lord and for the grace He has poured out in my life.

Love (III)

George Herbert, 1593 – 1633

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,

Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning

If I lacked anything.

“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here”:

Love said, “You shall be he.”

“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,

I cannot look on thee.”

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame

Go where it doth deserve.”

“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?

My dear, then I will serve.”

“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”

So I did sit and eat.

For “Mother Culture”

If, perchance, there are any dear Mamas (or Papas..or teens for that matter…) that delight in poetry as much as I do…

I am sharing here a lovely resource. (from the introductory post in the series)

Malcom Guite is new to me.

Each day this advent, a post is featured based around a poetry piece, complete with an audio link where it can be listened to…which is just lovely. There is also a featured corresponding piece of artwork with spiritual reflection.

These posts are featured as a companion to an “in the flesh book” by the author Malcom Guite. The book features literary analysis and spiritual reflection.

From Amazon:

Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation in which the waiting itself is strangely rich and fulfilling. Poetry can help us fathom the depths of Advent’s many paradoxes: dark and light, emptiness and fulfilment, ancient and ever new.

For every day from Advent Sunday to Christmas Day and beyond, the bestselling poet Malcolm Guite chooses a favourite poem from across the Christian spiritual and English literary traditions and offers incisive seasonal reflections on it. In the spirit of the season, he blends the familiar and the new, ranging from from spiritual classics such as Edmund Spenser, John Donne, George Herbert and Christina Rossetti, to contemporary voices Luci Shaw and Scott Cairns.

O, just to listen to some very favorites in British accent! It is delicious!

 

Keeping Christmas,

Rebecca