Saturday, May 23, 2015

It's all in how you look at things!

Ever notice that people make assumptions to support their way of thinking rather than accept an idea that might threaten how they want to look at things. Here's an example of what I mean. Last summer I had a thriving, beautiful birch tree behind my kitchen window and this year I don't. It was debated in my family as to how it died. Perhaps a woodpecker we often saw pecking at it killed it, or it could have succumbed to the harsh cold winds of winter.

I told my family that I thought the tree had too much water directed to it which caused problems for the tree's roots. Because the pipes in our sup-pump froze, water from our basement was redirected through the wall of the basement. Thankfully, this action prevented our basement from flooding, but a stream of water flowed towards the birch tree.  Everybody in my house wanted to blame the woodpecker, but I didn't think if was the woodpecker's fault.. Whatever the reason the tree has been cut down. We plan to make something decorative from it's trunk and branches. 

In memory of my birch tree I'm posting several poems by Ted Hughes (1930 - 1998). Ted Hughes wrote numerous volumes of poetry from the late 1950's onward, and he was appointed Poet Laureate in 1984, receiving the Order of Merit in 1998. His classic story The Iron Man was made into a an animated film, The Iron Giant, in 1999, after his passing. I like Ted Hughes prose. His poems have some great insights about the animal he is writing about, although most of it is just delightfully silly.


Woodpecker is rubber-necked
    But has a nose of steel.
He bangs his head against the wall
    and cannot even feel.

When Woodpecker's jack-hammer head
    Starts up its dreadful din
Knocking the dead bough double dead
    How do his eyes stay in?

Pity the poor dead oak that cries
    In terrors and pains.
But pity more Woodpecker's eyes
    And bouncing rubber brains.


I don't know about flies.

I don't like to see a fly
Wandering about in the air
Outside a rabbit-hole, then going in.
Somebody's died down there.

I don't like to see a fly
Tapping the eye ball
And peering into the eye
Of a cow stretched out in her stall.

And I hate to feel a fly
When I'm taking a snooze after lunch
Walk to my mouth-corner -
As if just checking a hunch.


With skin all wrinkled
Like a Whale
On a ribbon of sea
Comes the moonlit Snail.

The Cabbage murmurs:
'I feel something's wrong!'
The Snail says 'Shhh!
I am God's tongue.'

The Rose shrieks out:
'What's this? O what's this?'
The Snail says: 'Shhh!
I am God's kiss.'

So the whole garden
(Till stars fail)
Suffers the passion
Of the Snail.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It's Good to Dream!


Paul Laurence Dunbar

What dreams we have and how they fly
Like rosy clouds across the sky;
Of wealth, of fame, or sure success;
Of love that comes to cheer and bless;
And how they wither, how they fade,
The waning wealth, the jilting jade -
The fame that for a moment gleams,
Then flies forever, -dreams, ah -dreams!

O burning doubt and long regret
O tears with which our eyes are wet,
Heart-throbs, heart-aches, the glut of pain,
The somber cloud, the bitter rain,
You were not of those dreams - ah? well,
Your full fruition who can tell?
Wealth, fame, and love, ah! love that beams
Upon our souls, all dreams - ah! dreams.

On the front page of yesterday's paper was a picture of a little girl that rides on my bus. She's the sweetest thing, is so kind and thoughtful of people around her. I've never met such a conscientious little girl. She's only five, but people can learn a lot from her.

I won't say why her picture was in the paper, for privacy reasons, but when I commented that I saw her daughter's picture the mother replied that her daughter had her two minutes of fame. We laughed. Later it made me think how just two minutes of fame is enough for most of us.

I got thinking. If we can dream it, that's enough sometimes. Being in the spotlight carries a lot of responsibility. When I think of political leaders that went down in history, many had destructive dreams and were not famous for doing good or good things.

Just think, God will give you and allow what ever you can handle, happen for you in the life he gave you. If you are willing to be used for good, so is God willing to use you.   

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dark, Rainy Days

The Rainy Day

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining,
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882) was born in Portland, Maine, U.S.A. Educated at Bowdoin College, he taught there and at Harvard.

Longfellow never had an opportunity to fly in an airplane as we do today. He understood that the sun was shining behind the clouds in theory, but would not see that for himself. Imagine how exciting it would have been be for him if he could visit the future and look out the window of a large aircraft and see the sun shining above the clouds.

We take flying for granted today and all the great discoveries that have made our lives better, or more comfortable. Consider the automobile, television, homes that are heated, or cooled with a flick of a switch, thanks to electricity. Consider how the internet enables people to communicate with others all over the world.

If people back one hundred years or more ago could only have seen into the future.

We have much to be thankful for. Still, we could worry about the future of this earth. It seems like the great discoveries man has discovered could destroy it. I know that many people are concerned about the future of the earth. And no wonder. When I listen to or, read the news there are a lot of sad events taking place every where.

But I refuse to be fearful of the future because the creator of the world has the whole world in his hands. The Bible, God's word says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing can overcome or take control from our creator, God. God has promised to care for all those who trust in him.

In Isaiah 40: 28-31, we read,

Have you not know? Have you not heard?
         The LORD is the everlasting God,
the creator of the ends of the earth.
         He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
         He gives power to the faint
and to him who has no might he
          increases strength.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
         and young men will fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD will
         renew their strength;
they will mount up with wings like eagles;
         they will run and not be weary;
they will walk and not faint.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Here Lie the Dead

Lately I've been thinking a lot about W.W.I.I. The horrors, the deception and the waste of human life. Several books I've been reading are 'Hannah's Suitcase', 'The Diary of Anne Frank', and 'The Hiding Place,' by Corry Ten Boom.

It does make one feel sad. To think of the suffering of good people at the hands of people that blindly follow an evil ideology.

Of course I'm grateful there are people that are willing to defend their country and help people whose lives are in jeopardy.

Still, it's hard to understand why people are so willing to inflict pain on others. Isn't life meant to be enjoyed? Are we not given life from a loving God so that we can love, help and encourage each other? 

War. What is it good for?

Here Dead Lie We

by A.E. Housman.

Here dead lie we
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Memories of Love

Spring is in the air and with it comes romance and fresh beginnings. It's a good time to make new plans and to reflect on how, or what changes we will make in our life. Take care though, some memories are just meant to be savoured.

The First Day

by Christina Georgina Rossetti

I wish I could remember the first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
If bright or dim the season it might be
Summer or winter for aught I can say;
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom, yet, or many a May.
If only I could recollect it. such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand - Did one, but know!

False Though She Be

by William Congreve

False though she be to me and love,
I'll ne'er pursue revenge;
For still the charmer I approve,
Though I deplore her change.

In hours of bliss we oft have met:
They could not always last;
And though the present I regret,
I'm grateful for the past.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another Kind of Love

Do you have people in your life that are difficult to love? Most of us do. Here's a poem written by a well known and prolific author that addresses this common problem. You might not agree with her resolution, but I just love how she expresses it in words.

Another Kind of Love

by Catherine Cookson

Blood is thicker than water,
It's true. But it indicates you should love
Where you hate.
Don't strain to love your kin,
Put distance between,
And stay away
To prevent ulcers.
And don't question when
The stranger in the street
Tugs at your heart,
For here is your kin,
The kindred spirit puts out its hand,
And shakes,
And awakes love.
So do you meet your mate.
No blood tie here but someone closer
................than your skin.
So don't worry
When you cannot
Your brother,
Or your mother.
Don't wilt, as if under a sin,
You didn't ask for them to be your kin.
So throw away your guilt;
Love is no sin.

Catharine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, named Kate, whom she believed to be her older sister. She later met and married Tom Cookson, a local grammar-school teacher. In 1968 she won the Winnifred Holtby Award for the best regional novel of the year. Her readership quickly spread throughout the world after that and her many bestselling novels made her one of the most popular contemporary women novelists. She wrote 104 books in her lifetime. Amazing! She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday in 1998.

In Catharine's words: "There are among the bitches those who smile too! These are the ones who do it while cutting your throat"

Hello, Kitty dear!

Hello, Kitty dear!
How are you?

Is it true that you are writing?
How clever
To come all this way
From your background of drink
And fighting,
And, really, no education!
My dear, how you must have worked.
And, of course, to you all the glory.
But tell me,
Did you get
Some educated person
To edit for you
Your story?

This, in so many words, was actually said to Catharine Cookson.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

How is the River a Piece of Sky

What a lovely poem. I read this poem several times and still found something new to think about.

One thought I had was how we believe some things to be true that are not true. Yet it gives us great joy. It could be a very innocent thing like 'Santa Claus'. As you get older you learn that 'Santa Claus' is an imaginary person, but you still like the memory of 'Santa' because Santa is a good memory.

When people become parents they keep the allusion of 'Santa' alive so their children can enjoy it, too. It's pleasant to reflect on the innocence of yesterday especially when there is so much sadness in the news.

Today, take time to drop a penny in the river and watch the sky ripple.

The River Is a Piece of Sky

-John Ciardi (June 1916 - March 1986)

From the top of a bridge
The river below
Is a piece of sky -
    Until you throw
    A penny in
    Or a cockleshell
    Or a pebble or two
    Or a bicycle bell
    Or a cobblestone
    Or a fat man's cane-
And then you can see
It's a river again.
The difference you'll see
When you drop your penny:
The river has splashes,
The sky hasn't any.

John Ciardi was the son of Italian immigrants and taught at several university's in America. He left teaching in 1961 to pursue full time writing as a poet and spent some time with the, "Saturday Review" as a staff writer and critic. His love of words and language made him an admired poet in North America during the 1950's and onward. He wrote volumes of children's poetry along with a popular book entitled, "How does a poem mean." I've got to get that book.