Tag Archives: Poetry

Desiderata

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Piccadilly Circus

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

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Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.”

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Piccadilly Circus

1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann.

Last read at Laurel’s Blog, Laurel’s Reflection.

Image Credits : Stocksnap, Alessandro Cani, More alive via photopin (license)

Morning Coffee Reflections and The Fool’s Prayer

I came across a beautiful piece written by Carol recently.

“Morning Coffee Reflections” is a narration of Carol’s childhood memories as a 3rd grader who chose to recite Edward Rowland Sill’s poem “The Fool’s Prayer” in class, as well as her journey and thoughts on openness, truth and social nature.

The Child Clown

The poem’s protagonist was the court jester.  When required by the King to provide frivolous entertainment in the ill-suited form of a prayer, the Jester prayed aloud for forgiveness of his own follies and mistakes, while alluding the same foibles to the Court.  It follows that at the end of the day, instead of taking offense, the King chose to quietly heed wise counsel.  The contrast is subtly intimated in Carol’s recollections: Carol’s teacher was less amused by her 3rd grader’s thought provoking poem, and subsequently banished her from future participation in class.

The point?  We have much to reflect on to better ourselves, yet there is room for improvement when it comes to being positive to enlightening truth / a mirror.  Like the King perhaps, we can learn to listen to/follow a wise critic, “like we would, a map to hidden treasure.”, and  like the Jester, we can have the courage to convey the facts when required (albeit gently).  

Happiness is a state of mind, but pass basic contentment, it does help additionally if we become better people and our surroundings improve through truth and consideration..

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“Fool” Training School

I have reproduced the “The Fool’s Prayer” below, but I profess I am wanting of Carol’s great skill to delight with her elegant weaves, light touch and vivid imagery.  Hence, a visit to her blog “Voices from the Margins” to savour the treat and peruse the original emphasis is much warranted (it differs slightly from my more general view re humility, courage and consideration), and highly recommended.

Do enjoy the reads and interesting opinions!

The Fool’s Prayer
Edward Rowland Sill (1841 – 1887)

The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: “Sir Fool,
Kneel now and make for us a prayer! 

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head and bent his knee
Upon the monarch’s silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: “O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

“No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but, Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

” ‘Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
‘Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

“These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

“The ill-timed truth we might have kept –
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say –
Who knows how grandly it had rung?

“Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripes must clense them all;
But for our blunders – oh in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

“Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!”

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
“Be merciful to me, a fool!”

Image Credits: Pan-American Coffee Bureau, Katherine Kirkland, Richard Elzey

The Little Things

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Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our pleasant earth below
Like the heaven above.

Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney
(6 April 1823 – 1 November 1908)

There are a few versions of Julia’s poem “The Little Things”, but this is undoubtedly the version I love most.

Our little progress daily seems minute, but added up together day after day, it is immense.  Our little acts of kindness and words of love may seem small individually, but if 6 billion of us do kind deeds together, it is a great ocean and a very large difference.

The little acts do add up to create a heaven on Earth!

Image Credit: Paul Sawyier