Posted in Peace on Earth

“Let There Be Peace on Earth” #1

A new blog category featuring quotes and prayers for peace for our troubled world.

O Lord, awaken the consciousness 
of all peoples and their leaders;
raise up men and women
full of love and generosity
who can speak and act for peace,
and show us new ways
in which hatred can be left behind,
wounds can be healed,
and unity can be restored.
Amen

Henri J. M. Nouwen, A Cry for Mercy
Posted in Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

Marveling at two poetic views of peace …

THE ROCK CRIES OUT TO US TODAY

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
— Maya Angelou

Posted in My Saturday Evening Post

My Saturday Evening Post: 2/19/22 “Up and Down”

Our creaky, old and narrow stairs leading up to our second floor abode.

Looking up from outside …

And looking down from inside …

Stairs – A Toast

Here’s to the man who invented stairs
And taught our feet to soar!
He was the first who ever burst
Into a second floor.

The world would be downstairs to-day
Had he not found the key;
So let his name go down to fame,
Whatever it may be.

— Oliver Herford

Posted in Throwback Thursday, Neal’s Post from the Past

Neal’s Post from the Past: “This Road”

A poetic post from back in 2014.

…………

Each Monday morning, my former colleague Eric Nelson up the road at Georgia Southern University posts a poem on the departmental listserv.  I love today’s.  It feels a little “The Road Not Taken”-ish but with a twist of its own.

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What If This Road

— by Sheenagh Pugh

What if this road, that has held no surprises

these many years, decided not to go

home after all; what if it could turn

left or right with no more ado

than a kite-tail? What if its tarry skin

were like a long, supple bolt of cloth,

that is shaken and rolled out, and takes

a new shape from the contours beneath?

And if it chose to lay itself down

in a new way; around a blind corner,

across hills you must climb without knowing

what’s on the other side; who would not hanker

to be going, at all risks? Who wants to know

a story’s end, or where a road will go?

— from What If This Road and Other Poems (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2003)

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Posted in Holidays and Seasonal Changes

The Year

I love this short but oh-so-truthful jewel of a poem, The Year, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, written back in 1910. For we experience, year after new year, all that she writes about, all the realities of life.

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What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

************

The weight of our 2021 year—the good (we did have some, right?) and the bad (no need for the same question) and the we’re-not-sure-which-it-was—now nears its tipping-over point into 2022’s own “rhymes” of a “thousand times.”

May we all “rise up laughing with the light” tomorrow and tomorrow.

Posted in Holiday Joy

“Joyful Christmas and Justice for All!”

Robert and I LOVE sending out Christmas Cards! We feel the practice (slowly disappearing?) is a way to pass along a little cordial and heartfelt “Soul of the Season.”

Our card for 2021. Here, we’re sending it to you!

Happiest of Holidays!

************

What’s the backstory for this year’s card, you ask? Well, I AM super holiday busy (it IS Christmas Eve you know) but if you absolutely insist, I’ll take the time from singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to Robert, and explain.

I get the disturbing impression Robert’s just not that into the song anyway. He hasn’t blinked since the first time I sang the verse about the eight maids a milking—which I keep messing up, so of course have to start over from the beginning.

Anyway, back in September, with the pandemic seeming to ease up a bit, we ventured out on our first you-gotta-get-on-an-airplane-to-get-there trip. We spent a gloriously laidback and uneventful week in the Poconos, then hopped over to Manhattan for another week. (Where were all the people?!)

One day we booked a guided tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, led by guide extraordinaire Rob …

What fun we had! And because of Rob, how much we re-appreciated our diverse nation.

When we meandered to the front of Lady Liberty, Rob suddenly threw himself on the ground (!) exclaiming, “I take the best pictures this way.”

And he was right!

Later, walking around Times Square, Robert found Statues of Liberty at every corner.

NOEL! from NEAL & ROBERT

JOYFUL CHRISTMAS 2021 and YES, JUSTICE FOR ALL!

Posted in Throwback Thursday

Neal‘s Post from the Past: “Merry Autumn”

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Fall is most definitely my favorite season of the year.  Even with its touch of “summer’s over” melancholy, autumn slowly paints the world with warmly joyful colors, smells and scenes.  The season makes me feel energized and ready to start anew (maybe partly because I’m a retired educator and still connect fall to the new school year).

Autumn wants to make us pause and smile.

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Here’s a terrific poem, by late 19th century poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, which shows fall’s happy face.  Read it out loud to feel, as well as see and hear, the words.

Merry Autumn

It’s all a farce,—these tales they tell
About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o’er field and dell,
Because the year is dying.

Such principles are most absurd,—
I care not who first taught ‘em;
There’s nothing known to beast or bird
To make a solemn autumn.

In solemn times, when grief holds sway
With countenance distressing,
You’ll note the more of black and gray
Will then be used in dressing.

Now purple tints are all around;
The sky is blue and mellow;
And e’en the grasses turn the ground
From modest green to yellow.

The seed burs all with laughter crack
On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
Are all decked out in crimson.

A butterfly goes winging by;
A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
Is bubbling o’er with laughter.

The ripples wimple on the rills,
Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
And laughs among the grasses.

The earth is just so full of fun
It really can’t contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.

Don’t talk to me of solemn days
In autumn’s time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
And these grow slant and slender.

Why, it’s the climax of the year,—
The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
Just melts into thanksgiving.

— by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Posted in Where Happiness Finds You

This Road

Each Monday morning, my former colleague Eric Nelson up the road at Georgia Southern University posts a poem on the departmental listserv.  I love today’s.  It feels a little “The Road Not Taken”-ish but with a twist of its own.

road2

What If This Road

— by Sheenagh Pugh

What if this road, that has held no surprises

these many years, decided not to go

home after all; what if it could turn

left or right with no more ado

than a kite-tail? What if its tarry skin

were like a long, supple bolt of cloth,

that is shaken and rolled out, and takes

a new shape from the contours beneath?

And if it chose to lay itself down

in a new way; around a blind corner,

across hills you must climb without knowing

what’s on the other side; who would not hanker

to be going, at all risks? Who wants to know

a story’s end, or where a road will go?

— from What If This Road and Other Poems (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2003)

road1