Light Is Come

10 12 2014

glory streaks

Pleasant for eyes to see, truly sweet is the light.      1

But when whitened skies are brushed blue by the breathing breeze,      2

None can gaze e’en with longing at the sun’s star white.      3

Longing fails to linger strong in Light’s awesome feeze;      4

Blindness of blackness comes preferred in our dis-ease.      5

Yet the Sky’s Wind conceived the living, gleaming Word;      6

The shadow of death out to Light it then averred.      7

 

Whence, where, and whither it wills soars and sounds the Breeze      8

Circling one and then another, each to gird      9

With truth revealed, recalled, retold in congeries.     10

Esteem, embrace the wisdom of the Word adjured;     11

Prefer the halo, the crown of glory conferred.     12

The way of the right is a route evermore bright,     13

Enlightening perfectly with dawning daylight.     14

 

Before beginning, beyond ending, is the Word,     15

Commanding out of chaos, “Let there be light!”     16

Shining in darkness what darkness never immured:     17

Grace for grace, full of truth.  Because, despite the night,     18

Love and joy and peace, faith and hope and love unite     19

In one chivalrous, glorious Spirit imprese.     20

This with these announce Life, pronounce death’s obsequies.     21

 

Day dawns; the day star shines white.    22

Glory has risen aright.    23

Arise!  Shine!  It’s come, thy Light!    24

Excerpted from the novel entitled No Shadow of Turning: A Sojourner’s Tale, which is available as an e-book on Amazon.

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In Beauty from the Skies

14 09 2014

The hills are clad in purple and in gold,
The ripened maize is gathered in the shock,
The frost has kissed the nuts, their shells unfold,
And fallen leaves are floating on the lock.

The flowers their many-colored petals drop;
But seed-pods full and ripe they leave behind,
A prophecy of more abundant crop,
And proof that nature in decay is kind.

But still the dahlia blooms, and pansies, too;
The golden-rod still rears its yellow crest.
The sumach bobs are now of crimson hue,
The luscious grape has donned its purple vest.

The forest trees, so long arrayed in green,
Wear now a robe like Joseph’s coat of old,
Brighter than that on eastern satrap seen,
Tho’ clad was he in purple and fine gold.

The woodbine twined about the giant oak
Blends with its purple-red a brighter shade.
Co-mingled thus our praises they evoke,
Tho’ we know well this glory soon must fade.

The fields are green with grass and new-sown wheat,
Tho’ here and there a brown stalk may appear,
A dying rag-weed, ripened by the heat,
To reproduce an hundred-fold next year.

The melon yellows in the kindly sun,
The peach puts on its blush like virtuous maid,
The gourd its snow-white band like brow of nun,
While flower and gum the air with fragrance lade.

The swallows gather on the fence and wire,
Chatter a loud farewell to barn and nest,
And then on wings which never seem to tire
They fly away in southern bowers to rest.

The thrush no longer sings its tender song
In osage thicket, or in locust hedge,
But pipes its notes the Negro boys among,
On cotton plant, or Alabama sedge.

The blackbird lingers by the flowing brook,
Or perches proudly on the shock of corn;
The lark still hovers round its meadow nook,
And soars and sings as on a vernal morn.

The robin, too, is loth to quit the lawn
And visits yet his nest beneath the eaves;
I hear his cheering notes at early dawn–
To part with these old friends my spirit grieves.

But soon these feathered songsters must away,
Ere winter’s frosts shall chill them thro’ and thro’;
In other lands they find the summer day,
The opening flower, and the refreshing dew.

The air, tho’ chill, is not surcharged with death,
But health-inspiring germs it bears along.
We drink in vigor with our every breath,
And life appears like spring, each day a song.

God spreads a carpet for our weary feet,
Richer than those which grace the palace floor;
The rainbow hues are in it all complete,
And tints, I think, of full a thousand more.

God with His hands of wind for woof collects
The forest leaves, and weaves them with the grass,
With nap of richest hues the fabric decks,
And spreads it out for feet of every class.

A haze at times may veil the smiling sky,
The sun his golden locks exchange for gray;
But soon a western blast comes sweeping by–
The mists depart, and glory crowns the day.

The lowing cattle roam from field to field;
No more content in narrow bounds to stay;
The ozone in the autumn air has healed
Their every ill, and lo, the dull beasts play.

This season has its lesson each should learn–
The fading leaf reminds us of our doom;
But whether like the stately tree, or fern,
In hope we travel onward to the tomb.

We look not for the Winter, but the Spring,
When we shall glow in beauty from the skies;
Each now his tribute sheaf of praise should bring,
Then hear his Lord’s “Well done!” O glorious prize.

Joseph Horatio Chant

An Autumn's Work





The Inward Morning

23 07 2014

Packed in my mind lie all the clothes
Which outward nature wears,
And in its fashion’s hourly change
It all things else repairs.
In vain I look for change abroad,
And can no difference find,
Till some new ray of peace uncalled
Illumes my inmost mind.

What is it gilds the trees and clouds,
And paints the heavens so gay,
But yonder fast-abiding light
With its unchanging ray?

Lo, when the sun streams through the wood,
Upon a winter’s morn,
Where’er his silent beams intrude,
The murky night is gone.

How could the patient pine have known
The morning breeze would come,
Or humble flowers anticipate
The insect’s noonday hum–

Till the new light with morning cheer
From far streamed through the aisles,
And nimbly told the forest trees
For many stretching miles?

I’ve heard within my inmost soul
Such cheerful morning news,
In the horizon of my mind
Have seen such orient hues,

As in the twilight of the dawn,
When the first birds awake,
Are heard within some silent wood,
Where they the small twigs break,

Or in the eastern skies are seen,
Before the sun appears,
The harbingers of summer heats
Which from afar he bears.

Henry David Thoreau
foggy mountain morning




By Contrast

17 07 2014

Oh to be free of myself,
With nothing left to remember,
To have my heart as bare
As a tree in December;

Resting, as a tree rests
After its leaves are gone,
Waiting no more for a rain at night
Nor for the red at dawn;

But still, oh so still
While the winds come and go,
With no more fear of the hard frost
Or the bright burden of snow;

And heedless, heedless
If anyone pass and see
On the white page of the sky
Its thin black tracery.

Sara Teasdale

ghost willow lite

Oh, like a tree
Let me grow up to Thee!
And like a Tree
Send down my roots to Thee.

Let my leaves stir
In each sigh of the air,
My branches be
Lively and glad in Thee;

Each leaf a prayer,
And green fire everywhere …
And all from Thee
The sap within the Tree.

And let Thy rain
Fall–or as joy or pain
So that I be
Yet unforgot of Thee.

Then shall I sing
The new song of Thy Spring,
Every leaf of me
Whispering Love in Thee!

John Frederick Freeman

evening willows





The Path of Life

16 11 2013

When in the night I meditate
On mercies multiplied,
My grateful heart inspires my tongue
To bless the Lord, my Guide.

Forever in my thought the Lord
Before my face shall stand;
Secure, unmoved, I shall remain,
With Him at my right hand.

My inmost being thrills with joy
And gladness fills my breast;
Because on Him my trust is stayed,
My flesh in hope shall rest.

I know that I shall not be left
Forgotten in the grave,
And from corruption, Thou, O Lord,
Thy holy one wilt save.

The path of life Thou showest me;
Of joy a boundless store
Is ever found at Thy right hand,
And pleasures evermore.

Psalm 16 (as adapted for the 1912 Psalter of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of America)

IMG_0837





Thy Servant’s Consolation

11 11 2013

As pants the hart for streams of living water,
So longs my soul, O living God, for Thee;
I thirst for Thee, for Thee my heart is yearning;
When shall I come Thy gracious face to see?

O Lord my God, o’erwhelmed in deep affliction,
Far from Thy rest, to Thee I lift my soul;
Deep calls to deep and storms of trouble thunder,
While o’er my head the waves and billows roll.

Thou wilt command Thy servant’s consolation,
Thy lovingkindness yet shall cheer my day,
And in the night my song shall be my comfort;
God of my life, to Thee I still will pray.

Why, O my soul, art Thou cast down within me,
Why art thou troubled and oppressed with grief?
Hope thou in God, the God of thy salvation,
Hope, and thy God will surely send relief.

Psalm 42 (as adapted within the 1912 Psalter of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of America)

 

IMG_0799





A Love Mystery

9 08 2013

There came a day at summer’s full
    Entirely for me;
    I thought that such were for the saints,
    Where revelations be.

    The sun, as common, went abroad,
    The flowers, accustomed, blew,
    As if no soul the solstice passed
    That maketh all things new.

    The time was scarce profaned by speech;
    The symbol of a word
    Was needless, as at sacrament
    The wardrobe of our Lord.

    Each was to each the sealed church,
    Permitted to commune this time,
    Lest we too awkward show
    At supper of the Lamb.

    The hours slid fast, as hours will,
    Clutched tight by greedy hands;
    So faces on two decks look back,
    Bound to opposing lands.

    And so, when all the time had failed,
    Without external sound,
    Each bound the other’s crucifix,
    We gave no other bond.

    Sufficient troth that we shall rise —
    Deposed, at length, the grave —
    To that new marriage, justified
    Through Calvaries of Love!

Emily Dickinson

This poem certainly invites scrutiny. More than one interpretation has been posited. Here’s mine.

The narrator speaks of an affair that, sunny and balmy as it felt (even if silent, secretive, and restrained), lasted but one season. Despite love indeed divine, for some undisclosed reason, the couple could not continue; their relationship had to be executed. Bereaved, they parted and went in different directions along the Way of the Cross … but not forever. They look forward to resurrection and being reunited, perhaps at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (see Revelation 19:6-9).

As for the undisclosed reason, here’s my hypothesis: the narrator’s lover is a Roman Catholic priest and is thus unavailable in this life.