With Love From Mollie

Hello!

Last weekend I was able to dig through some old family keepsakes and documents, and found quite a lot of interesting stuff. Of particular interest to me was my great-grandmother’s book of autographs, from the late 1800s.Autograph

 

These autograph books more or less functioned as the precursor to the yearbook. The inside pages were all blank paper, and friends or colleagues would write little messages to the owner inside. My great-grandmother used hers from roughly ages 14 to 21.

Surprisingly, there are a number of short poems written to her by her friends in here. Some are very good. This one, from her friend Mollie in 1888, was particularly  good.

Loveliest of lovely things are they
On Earth, that soonest pass away;
The rose that lives its little hour,
Is prized above the sculptured flower;
Even love, long tried, and cherished long,
Becomes more tender and more strong
At thought of that insatiate grave,
From which its yearnings cannot save.

[Edit: After posting this I learned that Mollie was quoting William Cullen Bryant’s poem, “A Scene on the Banks of the Hudson.” My apologies to the memory of Mr. Bryant; in my defense, however, I must say that Mollie never attributed the poem to him.]

 

Herbaversary

Hello,

This month marks two years since I met and befriended the greatest poet the English language has ever produced. To honor the man, I reproduce here one of my favorite poems of his, “The Holdfast.” It has helped me through some dark times recently, and I pray you will be comforted and strengthened by it as I have been.

I threat’ned to observe the strict decree
Of my dear God with all my power and might.
But I was told by one, it could not be;
Yet I might trust in God to be my light.
Then will I trust, said I, in him alone.
Nay, ev’n to trust in him, was also his:
We must confess, that nothing is our own.
Then I confess that he my succor is:
But to have nought is ours, not to confess
That we have nought. I stood amazed at this,
Much troubled, till I heard a friend express,
That all things were more ours by being his.
What Adam had, and forfeited for all,
Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall.

Thank you George Herbert, for showing me the God who cannot fail or fall.

-Daniel

The Field

Happy New Year! I wrote this poem a few weeks ago. I hope you find it encouraging.

I came upon a fallow field
And found a farmer standing there,
Considering how to make it yield
It’s share.

“O Sir!” I cried, “This land’s no good!
See how it barren, stony lies?
For all your sweat and all your blood
It dies.”

But the farmer took no heed
Of my rational demand,
Just hefted a small sack of seed
In hand.

“Old man, you do not understand
The price I paid for this poor plot;
To hear which I for it have planned
You ought.

I purchased this with my own life,
These blood-bought seeds. they fall as dew.
I plough in hope, and hoping wait
For you.

See now, you are the similitude,
You are the land clogged thick with clay.
And out of clay I’ll make a man
Again.

You must receive the worded seed,
Receive my blood which falls as rain–
The painful ploughing then won’t be
In vain.

You will have that for which  I died,
You’ll see my Passion’s just increase;
For righteousness will sprout inside,
And peace.

Then the Farmer turned away,
His furrows dug upon my soul,
His word within implanted made
Me whole.

I looked upon that fruitful field,
And saw a harvest of his tending,
A tree of life which bears its fruit
Ne’er ending.

-Daniel

Empyrean

Good evening,

Don’t know if I’ve ever posted this before. I wrote this in 2012, trying to see the cosmos like the medievals. Perhaps you’ll see it as a welcome break from all this exegesis stuff.

Dark phantasmagoria
In madness bound by Cynthia
Gaia’s sickly children long
For brightly lit Empyrean.

In flowing speech and language fair
Where silver parts and silver meets
They hear the fair and winged one
Tell them of Empyrean.

Though yet with darkened eyes, they see
Unimagined bright beauty;
Long straight arms of burnished bronze
Point to fair Empyrean.

Next the children of the Fall
Reach Helios’ golden hall
Yet even the incandescent sun
Is a shadow of Empyrean.

The ragged travelers nearly turn
From gates of iron, black and stern
But martial spirits urge them on
To march to grand Empyrean.

To the courtly dwelling of king Jove
Our small and weary seekers rove
Though respite comes in bright pavilions
True kingly splendor is Empyrean’s.

Black leaden lands they come to last
And feel cruel Saturn’s mortal blast
But death Earth’s sons will gladly welcome
To walk into Empyrean.

Here baptized in the stream of stars
The wanderers wash away their scars
Styx is their Jordan; out they come
Now ready for Empyrean.

At last to everlasting day
The travelers have made their way
They’re greeted by a nail-scored Son–
The bright Lord of Empyrean.

-Daniel

Infamy

I like this poem, and since today is the only day of the year I can post it, here you go:

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

-Daniel

Listen

Hello,

I don’t think I’ve ever posted this. I don’t know how I feel about it– it’s not a style I’ve employed before, and it’s a little strange. I wrote this poem about a year ago. It doesn’t have a title.

Listen close, and I will tell
Of a fair green land, full of peace and plenty.
It lies just behind the sun, on the other side of the rain.
It’s people are happy, pleasant, and strange.

Listen close, and I will speak
Of a bright-eyed King, slain once
But only once, and now he reigns
In the country beyond the rain.

Listen close, and I will sing
Of music sung from ancient throats
Voices singing with faithful stars
So beautiful to break your heart.

Listen close, and let me talk
Of joyous festivals and dancing
Where ladies wear dresses of sunshine and kindness
And strong men dance like long-ago battles.

Listen close to hear me say
How the King of mountains finally sang.
He wove a throne of love and grace
And sat on it children of every race.

Listen close, and I will cease
So you may hear it for yourself.
On the other side of the rain, behind the sun,
The song of sorrows lost and Desire won.

-Daniel

Debt to Society, Part One

This semester has been busy, else I may have written more. Maybe it was for the best that I have been off the clock, who knows.

I made some promises to some people, and then found that people expect people to keep promises that they make to people. Hm. This little limerick, humble as it is, is in celebration of my fiftieth follower, Faith. It is to the tune of a song from a popular children’s movie, and it is about a certain state. You may fill in the blanks as you please.

Floridia– that awkward state that juts into the sea,
Yet dignified enough to have it’s own couple o’ keys.
Even though it’s home to heroes such as Hemingway.
When I consider Florida I simply have to say:

Iiiiiiiittttt’s aaaaaaaaa…..

Supped-up geriatric state that’s really quite an isthmus,
Although during tropic storms it makes a decent litmus,
I would rather live somewhere that’s not so big on citrus,
As a supped up geriatric state that’s really quite an isthmus!

(Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye…)

I hope that’s the level of quality you were expecting. I’m no John Milton, but I have been told I have similar facial expressions to Dick Van Dyke. And  since that one was pretty short, let me give a chaser:

Here’s to fifty followers, that’s ten more than two score,
We’ve certainly come quite a ways from only having four–
So to all of my readers (whom I fervently adore),
Invite your friends to read my blog– let’s hope for fifty more!

-Daniel