faith, poetry, words for the heart, writers

World Poetry Day 2017 || Max Ehrmann

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Yesterday, my dear friend Helen shared the following poem. Since reading it, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s beautiful, timely, and every time I read it, I feel as though I’m praying.

Max Ehrmann

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and 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 the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and 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.

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 with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

See past World Poetry Day posts here.

 

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life lessons, poetry, saw it loved it, three things, words for the heart

Three things.

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sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

… a beautiful E.E. Cummings poem “Sweet Spring“, plus six more since it’s the first day of Spring (finalllllly).

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Have you seen Grey Gardens? It’s fascinating. In every sense of the word. There’s not a Fourth of July that goes by that I don’t want to recreate Little Edie’s “Flag Dance.” But I remember being really struck by the amount of books they had lining the walls of their home. So when I saw this article from the Paris Review, I knew it was going to an interesting read. And I wasn’t wrong.

The Grey Gardens shelves are also lined with what can best be described as pastime books, leftover from luxuriously idle beachfront childhoods: turn-of-the-century children’s and nursery books, collections of poems and crossword puzzles. (“Cross word puzzles are my delight,” wrote Little Edie in one book, which contains one unfinished puzzle with only two filled-in words: “Qarter” [sic] and “WASP.”) Yet the Beale family apparently also read, or at least owned, heartier fare: the complete works of Byron, Shakespeare, and Balzac stand alongside volumes of Milton, Burns, Proust, and Browning. (Little Edie reportedly wrote her own poetry until her death, in 2002). The conditions of these books run the gamut, from gently aged to wholly destroyed; one first edition of Gone With the Wind actually appears to be melting, an effect I’d never before seen in a book, no matter how misused.

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Things I’m trying to accept about myself and not care if it’s too much for someone else.

“I’ve stopped being sorry for all my soft. I won’t apologise because I miss you, or because I said it, or because I text you first, or again. I think everyone spends too much time trying to close themselves off. I don’t want to be cool or indifferent, I want to be honest. If I love you at 5AM, I’d damn well rather that you know I felt it. If I love you two hours later, I’ll tell you then too. Listen, I won’t wait double the time it takes for you to text me back because I don’t want to. I don’t care enough to be patient with you. I’m happy, you made me feel that way, don’t you want to know? So that’s how it’s going to be. I’m going to leave myself as open as a church door. And I’m going to wake you up before the crack of dawn to tell you that I’m fucking joyful, no pretending, not from me, not ever. Would you like some coffee, would you please kiss me? Here, these are my hands, this is my mouth, it is all yours.” – Azra.T “Don’t Wait Three Days to Text First.”  

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2017, january 2017, mary oliver, new years, poetry

2017 // It could mean something. It could mean everything.

INVITATION

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle, 
to see who can sing
the highest note, 
or the lowest, 
or the most expressive of mirth, 
or the most tender? 
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude—
believe us, they say, 
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world. 
I beg of you, 
do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance. 
It could mean something. 
It could mean everything. 
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote: 
You must change your life. 
MARY OLIVER
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andrea gibson, heartbreak, hope, life lately, october 2016, poetry, read it love it

"I will keep it safe."

Lately I’ve been spending a good part of nearly every day thinking about love.  Romantic love. The kind of love that involves french kissing and mix tapes and spooning in New York City in the summer when it’s by most people’s standards too disgustingly humid to spoon. The kind of love you wanna bring home to your grandma and say, “Grandma, look at this love! Just look at this LOVE!” 

Lately I’ve been thinking about who I want to love, and how I want to love, and why I want to love the way I want to love, and what I need to learn to love that way, and who I need to become to become the kind of love I want to be…….and when I break it all down, when I whittle it into a single breath, it essentially comes out like this:  Before I die, I want to be somebody’s favorite hiding place, the place they can put everything they know they need to survive, every secret, every solitude, every nervous prayer, and be absolutely certain I will keep it safe.  I will keep it safe.  -Andrea Gibson

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poetry, read it love it, wise words

You will never be merely ‘pretty.’

This, this is about my own some-day daughter. When you approach me, already stung-stayed with insecurity, begging, “Mom, will I be pretty? Will I be pretty?” I will wipe that question from your mouth like cheap lipstick and answer, “No! The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be, and no child of mine will be contained in five letters.

You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing. But you, will never be merely ‘pretty’.

Kate Makkai, “Pretty”

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fabulous woman, poetry, words from wise women

Her words live on. || RIP Maya Angelou

April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you? 

Why are you beset with gloom? 
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken? 

Bowed head and lowered eyes? 
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you? 

Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you? 

Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

And how lucky we are that she left us with her wisdom.

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