Amen Corner

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A house in which to end my days.
Goodbye it says to all,
For here at last I am content
Behind my garden wall.

The name I gave it says it all,
How still, at peace, and blessed,
How glad am I to know such joy,
To be by love possessed.

That final farewell anthem,
When it is heard at last,
Will sound around these humble walls
Where present meets the past.

For I have lived a life I loved,
Loved the path I’ve trod.
Amen was written on my heart
In this my House of God.

A Devon Cottage, England

 

Samuel Palmer’s ‘Evening Church’

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Samuel Palmer’s Evening Church

 

In the summer evening’s stillness
under the calm
of the the sickle moon
Evensong is softly sung.
The gentle breeze
catching only the occasional sigh
On the evening’s air.
The hope of summer
rests in the gently rolling hills,
the golden sheaves of garnered corn
and the lushness of the blackberries
in the hedgerows.
With solemn seriousness
Nature sighs
and as the evening cools
the silence of the scene
is pierced occasionally
by God’s evening hymn.

 

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Christmas – Three Haiku of Hope

 

round brown wooden lanterns

Photo by Pradipna Lodh on Pexels.com

Christmas brings good cheer
But not to all God’s children
Pray time will change that.

Long has it been said
Hope came down at Christmas time
May that be true now

May Christmas bring love
As once it brought Lord Jesus
This Hope still remains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waving Goodbye

at the end of a day

Photo by Monique Laats on Pexels.com

Waving Goodbye

 

Tomorrow threatens not to come

And so I grab at life Today

That ever was Man’s threnody

Through Doubt and Hope to make our way.

And when in truth all light has passed

And Darkness fills the Void with Fear

I realise with certainty

That then, at last, my God is near.

Those who remain to carry on

Carry the Labyrinth’s thread on high,

So human life is held in thrall

Forever set to wave Goodbye.

 

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‘Trees’ . . . Joyce Kilmer

[  # 99 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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Tree Roots at Claremont Gardens, Surrey – WHB   ©

 

Trees

By: Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

bar-greenNotes:  (From Wikipedia):

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Joyce Kilmer (born as Alfred Joyce Kilmer; December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918) was an American writer and poet mainly remembered for a short poem titled “Trees” (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his Roman Catholic religious faith, Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. While most of his works are largely unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. Several critics—including both Kilmer’s contemporaries and modern scholars—have disparaged Kilmer’s work as being too simple and overly sentimental, and suggested that his style was far too traditional, even archaic. Many writers, including notably Ogden Nash, have parodied Kilmer’s work and style—as attested by the many parodies of “Trees”.

At the time of his deployment to Europe during World War I, Kilmer was considered the leading American Roman Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries  G.K.Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953). He enlisted in the New York National Guard and was deployed to France with the  69th Infantry regiment (the famous “Fighting 69th”) in 1917. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31. He was married to Aline Murray, also an accomplished poet and author, with whom he had five children.

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A Conundrum

nature-conundrum

Sycamore helicopter seedlings: Photo – WHB 2018

A CONUNDRUM

The ant that scampers from my tread,
Does it feel the fear, the dread, 
The threatened onslaught of my shoe,
Does it fear as I would do?

Does it wonder if the rest – 
His sibling brothers in the nest – 
Would miss him if he did not return
Would they show the least concern?

Or would his absence not be noted; 
Never mentioned, never quoted? 
Just another gap in time,
Neither sordid nor sublime.

I ask God in my ignorance,
What then is the difference
Between this threatened ant and me;
Which of us should cease to be? 

 

close up photo of ant

Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

A Pedestrian’s Prayer

[  # 89 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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WHB … 2018

Prayer of a Poor Pedestrian

O God, who filled all heaven with stars
And then all earth with motor cars,
Make room within thy cosmic plan
For me, a poor pedestrian.

Spread Thou before me, I entreat,
A threadlike pathway for my feet;
And do thou watch me lest I stray
From this, Thy straight and narrow way.

Give me an ear, alert, acute,
For each swift car’s peremptory hoot:
Teach me to judge its headlong pace
And dodge it with a nimble grace.

When driver’s looks and words are black
Restrain me, Lord, from answering back:
O bless me with a nature meek
To bear with smiles each narrow squeak.

And if one day Thy watchful eye
Should be withdrawn, and I should die,
One boon I crave, upon my knees:
Exonerate the driver, please.

This poem is re-printed from Gyles Brandreth’s ‘The Joy of Lex’ (Robson Books 1987). It was originally published in ‘Prayers and Graces’ by Allen M.Laing. Pan Books, 1981.

 

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John Clare – ‘I AM’

[  # 74 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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John Clare (1793 – 1864) was an English poet.   Born in Northamptonshire, he was the son of a farm labourer, who became known for his celebrations of the English countryside and for regularly expressing sorrows at its disruption.   His poetry underwent major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is now often seen as one of the important 19th-century poets.   His biographer, Jonathan Bate, states that Clare was “the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced.  No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self.”  Many of his poems are filled with a joy he experienced in nature and the countryside.  Sadly, however, for the last 25 years of his life Clare suffered from mental illness and was incarcerated in a mental institution.   In this wistful soul-searching poem, described by some as “one of the greatest poems of sheer despair ever written”, Clare spills out his desolation and detachment from a life which he would dearly love to have lived . . . 

‘I AM’ . . .  by John Clare

 

I AM! yet what I am who cares, or knows? 
My friends forsake me, like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.         5
And yet I am—I live—though I am toss’d.
 
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem         10
And all that’s dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange—nay, they are stranger than the rest.
 
I long for scenes where man has never trod—
For scenes where woman never smiled or wept—
There to abide with my Creator, God,         15
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie,
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky.

 

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The Meaning Of Life 

 

The Meaning Of Life

Author Unknown

LIFE MEANS WHATEVER YOU MAKE IT MEAN . . .

I must determine for myself what my life means and must seek to bring it to fruition

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THE MEANING OF LIFE

The friend I lost today,
the ant I trod on yesterday,
both no longer quick
but now sharing death.

How similar
yet how different.
‘How sad the world without them’
says God
‘How disparate’, say I,
if I care to say anything at all.

God and Nature, merge their significance,
their world view equalising loss,
while I, bereft, forlorn,
am led to grieve for one
but not the other.

Significance holds prominence,
for Nature must consider all loss notable
but necessary,
whereas,
living in different time scales,
our individual lives
serve only our own time frame,
our personal connections
pointing to meaning
and giving resonance
and substance
to each separate life.

As the axe I take to the log,
the knife to my steak,
my boot to the beetle’s innocence,
and as I pluck yet another rose,
so ends my hold on life,
for ever compromised.

So I am left with
how, in nature’s sight,
meaning lies only with
the recurring cycle,

but in my heart
my hurt is not diminished,
my mourning
is just mine to feel.

 

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