Thursday, May 28, 2009

God alone...

"The sea hath no king but God alone."

--Dante Gabriel Rossetti in The White Ship


"Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule."

--Frederick W. Robertson

Monday, May 25, 2009

You again

Tonight I read the letters that you sent so long ago,
and I remembered how it was with you and me.
I thought of how you were, and how you are.
How far away you seem!
It's not the way it used to be.
It was a dream. But it was real.
Here are your words before me, and I am sure
that they're as true this moment as they were then.
Oh, if only you would just be you again!


"O! for a horse with wings!"

--William Shakespeare in Cymbeline


"The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly."

--G. K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Onto the road...

"Remember what Bilbo used to say. It's dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

--J. R. R. Tolkien

The journey...

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."

--Saint Augustine

Friday, May 22, 2009

Door of happiness

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

--Helen Keller

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Silence on a hill where the path ended
and then the forest below
moving in one long whisper
as evening touched the leaves.

--William Stafford

Just now...

Just now it seems
that I've imagined you somehow,
and you've gone far away
leaving no clue
as to who or where you are.
I wish I knew
about you.

Some times it seems
that I could touch you,
reach out my hand
and there you'd be.
looking back at me.
It's all so strange,
I don't know what to think
or to feel; I only know
that there is something real
about it all.


Sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night
With this her solemn bird and this fair moon
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train.

--John Milton

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A night's repose

Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

You have bound my heart...

You have bound my heart,
tied it with silken cords
of tenderness;
wrapped it in golden threads
of loveliness.
And there, on the darkest path
of emptiness,
shines the light of Your radiance-
leading me
across the vastness of
this wilderness,
all the way home.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Distant. A star,
so bright yet far away.
Different. Your face
has changed since yesterday.
Dawning. The day
when this makes sense again.

The high road...

On Thursday night, I'll be singing this song with our church choir for a concert performance. It's always been one of my favorite ballads, so mournful and romantic. But after seeing Loch Lomond when I was twenty years old, the song has an even greater meaning for me. Scotland is a beautiful country, and Loch Lomond is a lovely place to linger on the way to the Highlands. My heart will be in the heather as I sing:

Loch Lomond
By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.


O ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye.
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

‘Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side o’ Ben Lomond.
Where in deep purple hue, the highland hills we view,
And the moon comin’ out in the gloamin’.

The wee birdies sing and the wild flowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping:
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,
Tho’ the waeful may cease frae their greeting.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This day...

"Heaven above was blue, and earth beneath was green; the river glistened like a path of diamonds in the sun; the birds poured forth their songs from the shady trees... "

--Charles Dickens in Nicholas Nickleby

by John Donne

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not wean'd till then ?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly ?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den ?
'Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be ;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear ;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone ;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown ;
Let us possess one world ; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest ;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west ?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally ;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Thousand Miles

Every journey begins with one step, and this song makes me want to run the whole way:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A picture of an evening

Another walk in the mist along the greenest paths I've ever seen here. For a moment, as I look around at the grass and trees, I'm back in England walking through the dewy morning fields. The birds are singing everywhere, and I could walk a thousand miles and not look back once. There's the creek, or is it the Wold, or the Avon? The water shimmers over the rounded rocks and fallen branches, carrying an errant Spring leaf or two along the way, each one looking like a tiny green boat. I stand on the bridge, trying to imprint each part of the whole upon my mind's eye. Maybe later on I' ll try to capture the smallest echo of this beauty with color and brush. But first, a little prayer to thank the Creator of all of these wonders which, in all their splendor, grow pale beside His ravishing Light.

Tricky enough...

"There isn't no call to talk of pushing and pulling. Boats are quite tricky enough for those that sit still without looking further for the cause of trouble."

--Samwise Gamgee in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings

Monday, May 11, 2009


Dear Jesus,
help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with
may feel Your presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.

The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine.
It will be You, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You in the way which You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by example,
by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for You. Amen.

--prayer of John Henry Cardinal Newman

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Best for now...

The wind in my sails
has disappeared;
and I doze fitfully, feverishly
as waves of illness
sweep across the bow
of my little boat.
In the distance
the birds sing cheerfully, merrily.
I yearn to sing along;
but that song must wait.
The healing power of a quiet tide
is what is best for now.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spring Fever...

Yes, I know that it really is Spring, but there's just something about this that reminds me of something else:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Integrity of soul...

"I shall love her all my life, shall be to her a faithful friend, and if I can not remain loyal to both God and her I shall renounce her and never see her face again. You call this folly: to me it is a hard duty, and the more I love her the worthier of her will I endeavor to become by my own integrity of soul."

--Louisa May Alcott


"A faithful friend is a strong defense; And he that hath found him hath found a treasure."

--Louisa May Alcott


"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain."

--Louisa May Alcott

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We must sail...

"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it--but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor."

--Oliver Wendell Holmes

Use well the days...

How precious is each day of life, and how quickly that can be forgotten! Every breath is a wonder, every sigh is a gift. Each moment is so deep and it passes all too soon. Life is a treasure, and everything depends on how it is used. It's all so simple, though it is not always easy.

There is only one choice:

"I'm glad that you are here with me." --Frodo to Sam in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Venture forth...

Set sail for unknown waters.
Let nothing steer you away.
Simply follow, knowing
that He Who guides your ship
is on the journey with you,
and that the shore lies just ahead.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tiny flower...

"The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm; if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, Spring would lose its loveliness."

--Saint Therese of Lisieux

from Much Ado About Nothing

Don Pedro: In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

Beatrice: Yea, my lord, I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care.

--William Shakespeare

Friday, May 1, 2009

On a merry morn in May...

"Belike our life will be busy in the service of the King, sweetheart; yet sometimes we will slip away for a little breathing space and hie us once more to the greenwood on a merry morn in May, there to see the deer draw to the dale and hear the small birds singing."

--Robin Hood to Maid Marian in Ye Merry Doings of Robin Hood