Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Final Exam & The Road Ahead

With graduation season upon us, I took a moment
to look through my old scrap book and came across
the above photo (sorry so fuzzy) of my twin brother Bruce
speaking at our high school graduation in 1975
and these poems, saved from back in the day:

****************

A Graduate's Prayer

Like a final exam,
Life stands before me.
I am frightened.
I face it with my pen lost
And my pencil broken.
I look at the questions with blurred eyes;
Facts drift in a senseless clutter
Down the corridors of my mind.
I am prepared with easy answers.
I have crammed with dates and details
That suddenly have no value.
I have skimmed and scanned and copied;
But the questions are essay
And not objective, as I had assumed.
God,
You are the Text I have persistently ignored.
You are the Passages carefully underlined,
And never understood.
Grant me the time to understand Your plan
Before I write the final answer
And my only answer book
Lies permanently closed.


Charles A. Waugaman (1932 - 2010)
American poet and artist

****************

The Road Ahead


My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. ~Amen.


Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)
American Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky
mystic, poet, social activist, theologian

****************

and
from The Eden Express
by Mark Vonnegut (b. 1947)
American writer, pediatrician, son of Kurt

Vonnegut begins this memoir of his post - college
years with the unforgettable anecdote:

"June 1969: Swarthmore Graduation.
The night before, someone had taken white paint and painted
"Commence What?" on the front of the stage."


****************

Rebecca Sprigg, Salutatorian
Lafayette High School ~ Ballwin, Missouri
Becky says:
"Somehow they let me send off the Class of 1976.
Hope my words inspired and encouraged!"

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Kitti the Magnificent

Best Mother's Day Greeting Ever!
2016 ~ Thanks Ben!

Best Mother's Day Sermon Ever:

"Wow! Those ladies were busy back then!
And so are you!"


Proverbs 31:10-31 ~ PWT (Pastor Will's Translation)


I enjoyed attending church with my mom
on Mother's Day this year (third year in a row!)
and hearing Pastor Will's one - sentence summary
of the Proverbial virtuous woman!

Here is the more lengthy original:
Proverbs 31:10-31 ~ KJV (King James Version)

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.


And now the birthday cards begin ~ Thanks Natasha!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Judging Time Aright

Just yesterday morning, my oldest brother Dave wrote to say:

"Thankfully as I age, I am finally achieving a balance between
the past, the near past, and distant past.
They are finally starting to fall into place of their own accord."
Dave's words echoed back to me when I came across this poem later in the day:

Swiftly our pleasures glide away,
Our hearts recall the distant day
With many sighs;
The moments that are speeding fast
We heed not, but the past -- the past,
More highly prize.

Onward its course the present keeps,
Onward its course the current sweeps,
Till life is dome;
And, did we judge of time aright,
The past and future in their flight
Would be as one.


from Couplets on the Death of His Father
Don Jorge Manrique
quoted by Hector Abad
in Oblivion: A Memoir (see also "Magical Typing")
Here's the stained glass up above that was casting
the rainbow down on the giant fern leaves below.

Monday, May 8, 2017

An Original Sensitivity

A Model of Simone de Beauvoir’s Paris Studio Alcove
at the National Museum of Women in the Arts


“When she does not find love, she may find poetry. Because she does not act, she observes, she feels, she records; a color, a smile awakens profound echoes within her; her destiny is outside her, scattered in cities already built, on the faces of men already marked by life, she makes contact, she relishes with passion and yet in a manner more detached, more free, than that of a young man. Being poorly integrated in the universe of humanity and hardly able to adapt herself therein, she, like the child, is able to see it objectively; instead of being interested solely in her grasp on things, she looks for their significance; she catches their special outlines, their unexpected metamorphoses. She rarely feels a bold creativeness, and usually she lacks the technique of self-expression; but in her conversation, her letters, her literary essays, her sketches, she manifests an original sensitivity. The young girl throws herself into things with ardor, because she is not yet deprived of her transcendence; and the fact that she accomplishes nothing, that she is nothing, will make her impulses only the more passionate. Empty and unlimited, she seeks from within her nothingness to attain All.”

from The Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir



Monday, May 1, 2017

A Rainy May Day


The Act
There were the roses, in the rain.
Don’t cut them, I pleaded.
They won’t last, she said.
But they’re so beautiful
where they are.
Agh, we were all beautiful once, she said,
and cut them and gave them to me
in my hand.


~by William Carlos Williams



With many thanks to literary botanist
Burnetta Hinterthuer for the WCW reference!

Previous May Day Posts
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2016