Tag Archives: poetry

Photo Challenge: Connections

Connections - CROP

CROP Hunger Walk,  Mississippi Waterfront, Muscatine, Iowa.  Photo: TLClark, 10/2/11.

Searching my memories I finally thought of an occasion when I might have taken a picture that shows the connections we share as human beings on planet earth.  Searching my digital files, I found pictures of several CROP Hunger Walks [1].  I chose this particular picture because it shows:

  • people of all ages from a variety of backgrounds making connections to raise funds to stop hunger locally and around the world;
  • the Mississippi River connecting communities from its source (Lake Itasca) to its mouth (Gulf of Mexico);
  • and trees with roots connecting to the earth and branches reaching out reminding us of our connection to all of nature.

[1]  “CROP Hunger Walks help to provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training and micro-enterprise loans, the key is people working together to identify their own development priorities, their strengths and their needs… .”       – http://www.crophungerwalk.org  (click here to learn more.)

A.A.Milne: The Island

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Cape Meares State Park, Oregon Coast. Photo: TLClark, October 2011.

“If I had a ship,” the poem “The Island” by A.A.Milne begins.  The first stanzas describe sailing the ship through the seas to a beach and leaving the ship to climb up the steep white sand to the trees.  It concludes:

And there would I rest, and lie,
My chin in my hands, and gaze
At the dazzle of sand below,
And the green waves curling slow,
And the grey-blue distant haze
Where the sea goes up to the sky . . . .

And I’d say to myself as I looked so lazily down at the sea;
“There’s nobody else in the world, and the world was made for me.”

A. A. Milne, “The Island,” in When We Were Very Young, Copyright, 1924, by E. P. Dutton, Copyright Renewal, 1952, by A. A. Milne.

On one hand, the last line seems selfishly self-centered.
On the other hand, it reminds me that we all do well to take time away in nature, to spend time alone, to rest, to gaze about, and to wonder.

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Green waves, Pacific Ocean, Oregon Coast. Photo: TLClark, October 2011.

I didn’t (and don’t) have a ship, the pictures are not from or of an island, and the weather was too chilly to stay still long!  Nevertheless they are what I remembered when I read A. A. Milne’s poem.

Wherever you are and whatever the weather, may you take time to rest and to wonder!

Blessings,
Teressa

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Astoria Bridge over the Columbia River, Astoria, OR. Photo: TLCLark, May 2010.

A. A. Milne: Daffodowndilly

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Daffodils, Reiman Gardens, 5/4/18.  Photo: TLClark.

Daffodowndilly

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,

She wore her greenest gown;

She turned to the south wind

And curtsied up and down.

She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbour:

“Winter is dead.”

A.A.Milne, in When We Were Very Young, Copyright, 1924 by E. P. Dutton, Copyright Renewal, 1952, by A. A. Milne

Daffodil group

Daffodils, Reiman Gardens, 5/4/18.  Photo: TLClark.

Daffodil season is a month or more away here in central Iowa.  But I read the A. A. Milne poem the other day and couldn’t resist sharing.  The pictures are from an outing last spring to Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, Ames (click here to discover Reiman Gardens).  The bright yellow makes me smile despite the overcast, rainy, gray day out my window this morning.

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Double Daffodils, Reiman Gardens, 5/4/18.  Photo: TLClark.

Have a beautiful day!

Teressa

“The Wonderer” (6th Stanza: God)

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Photo: TLClark

Robert William Service wonders at “my Hand … my Eyes … my Heart … my Brain” in the first stanzas of “The Wonderer.”  Then he notes “You’re just as wonderful as I” and invites us to wonder and marvel at Creation.  In the sixth and final stanza, Service turns our attention to God:

If wonder is in great and small,
Then what of Him who made it all?
In eyes and brain and heart and limb
Let’s see the wondrous work of Him.
In house and hill and sward and sea,
In bird and beast and flower and tree,
In everything from sun to sod,
The wonder and the awe of God.

Wonder and awe.  Of Creation and Creator.

“In the beginning God created …”  Genesis 1:1

I understand the first chapter of Genesis as ancient poetry – beautiful, evocative, imaginative.  It is an invitation to take another look at the world and to wonder at our very existence.  As a person of faith in the current era, I am quite willing to stand in awe of the ‘Who’ of creation and not worry about the details of the ‘how.’  Nature is.  And God was at its beginning, is in its midst now, and will be present in all the days to come.

“Consider the lilies of the field ….”  – Jesus, Matthew 6:28

I invite you to look at a few flower photos (sorry, no lilies).  Notice the color, the texture, the raindrop or the shadow and to see the wondrous work of God.  Then gaze – perhaps at a person or pet near you or at the scene out your window – and notice other beautiful, marvelous works of God.

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Photo:  TLClark.

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Photo:  TLClark.

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Wildflowers of a restored prairie on a rainy day. The Morton Arboretum. Photo: TLClark.

This is the last in a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking here.

 

“The Wonderer” (Stanza 5 – You/Creation)

In the first four stanzas of “The Wonderer” Robert William Service wrote of

  1. “the moving marvel of my Hand”
  2. “the wonder of my Eyes”
  3. “the wonder of my Heart”
  4. “the wondrous wonder of my Brain”

Lest you and I  think we are any less marvelous than he, the beginning of the fifth stanza of the poem assures us otherwise.

But do not think, O patient friend,
Who reads these stanzas to the end,
That I myself would glorify. . . .
You’re just as wonderful as I,
And all Creation in our view
Is quite as marvelous as you.

The pastor in me immediately remembered the words of the psalmist:  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Ps 139:14a NRSV)  Not just me.  You, too, are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Nothing less than a marvel.

The rest of the fifth stanza – the way it is printed makes it look like it is not a new stanza – is an invitation to wonder.

Come, let us on the sea-shore stand
And wonder at a grain of sand;
And then into the meadow pass
And marvel at a blade of grass;
Or cast our vision high and far
And thrill with wonder at a star;
A host of stars — night’s holy tent
Huge-glittering with wonderment.

I searched through my digital photographs looking for sand and grass and stars.  I took time to marvel at the variety of unique flowers and wonder at the shapes of many individual leaves.  But flowers and leaves aren’t mentioned in this stanza of the poem.

I don’t take many landscape pictures.  Nevertheless I found a few photos that sort of reflect the fifth stanza of Service’s poem.  Hope you’ll take a moment to wonder or marvel or thrill – not so much at the pictures but of the memories you have of a sea-shore, a meadow, and the night sky.

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Beach, Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, Washington.  Photo: TLClark, 10/7/2018

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Sand on Fingers and Rock, Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, Washington.  Photo: TLClark, 10/7/2018.

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Meadow, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois. Photo: TLClark, 6/29/2013

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Blade of Grass after the rain.  Photo:  TLClark, 6/29/2013

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Epiphany Stars, Faith UCC, January, 2013

This is another in a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking here.  The first stanza is in my first post found here; the second is here, the third is here and the fourth is here.

“The Wonderer” (4th stanza: Brain)

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This is the fourth of a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking hereThe first stanza is in my first post found here; the second is here and the third is here.

Now, the fourth stanza of the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert Service:

Then oh! but how can I explain
The wondrous wonder of my Brain?
That marvelous machine that brings
All consciousness of wonderings;
That lets me from myself leap out
And watch my body walk about;
It’s hopeless – all my words are vain
To tell the wonder of my Brain.

A few observations about how the brain operates.  There is the “Eureka!” sort of moment; a realization of discovery.  There is the “Wow!” of wonder, of being taken aback at how another is thinking.  There is the pondering, the imagining of what might be.

EUREKA!  As a brand spanking new Computer Programmer in the “real world” in 1987 I was amazed at how my brain worked.  Computer coursework in college had not taught me exactly what I needed to know.  But it had taught me how to think to learn what I did need to know for using particular programming languages in a specific computing environment.  I marveled at how my brain made connections.

WOW!  My oldest nephew was about 4 years old when I pulled out the book God’s Paintbrush by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso.  Upon hearing the title, B responded in a matter-of-fact tone, “It must be really big.”  It took me a moment to realize that God, who is pretty big to a preschooler, would have a really big paintbrush.

IMAGINE.  Ponder.  Contemplate.  Wonder.  About a creative endeavor.  About a career move.  About the words of a poem, the lyrics of a song, the phrases in a text.  About a relationship.  About God.

Holy God … assure us again that ear has not heard, nor eye seen, nor human imagination envisioned, what you have prepared for those you love you.   – From Book of Worship, United Church of Christ.

God has prepared things for those who love God that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being.  – 1 Corinthians 2:9b CEB

 

“The Wonderer” (3rd stanza)

This is the third of a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking hereThe first stanza is in my first post found here; the second is here.

Now, the third stanza of the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert Service:

What of the wonder of my Heart,
That plays so faithfully its part?
I hear it running sound and sweet;
It does not seem to miss a beat;
Between the cradle and the grave
It never falters, stanch and brave.
Alas! I wish I had the art
To tell the wonder of my Heart.

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Hearts at Faith United Church of Christ, February 2013. Photo: TLClark

The wonder of my Heart.  And your heart, too, for that matter.  Working unceasingly.  Beating dozens and dozens of time per minute, every minute of every hour of every day.  Moving blood – nutrients for life – throughout our bodies.

The wonder of big-hearted people.  Loving and generous and kind.  Forgiving and welcoming and encouraging.  Remembering all that is good.  Sharing nutrients for life throughout our communities.

The paper hearts pictured were part of the children’s message one Sunday in early February six years ago.  The scripture for the day was the great love chapter:  1 Corinthians 13.  I invited everyone in the congregation that day – young and old alike – to write something about love on a paper heart.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.  – I Corinthians 13:4-8a  NRSV

img_2601What is written on your heart today?