Category Archives: Quoted

Not homeless

I’m not homeless; I’m houseless.
But even homeless does not mean helpless.
And not hopeless. Much less friendless. God is everywhere.
A heap see, but a very few know.
One who sees clearly is fearless.

F E A R = False Evidence Appearing Real

Written by Garry Donnell Washington

Holiday

    I wish I could claim to have written this, because it says so many things so well. This poem was posted on Christmas day by a person whose words are often worth pondering.

    There is some heartbreak on the happiest days
    for people who are gone
    who loved us and who we love still
    and for the lovers
    that love passed by

    There is some heartbreak in the very best of days
    getting up early or staying up late,
    walking the streets of
    waking houses with the lights coming on
    and you can almost hear the oohs and aahs
    and you forget, you forget
    that you’re on the outside
    pretending that you aren’t looking in

    There is some heartbreak on the happiest days
    for people we never got to know
    but we hear in the back of our mind
    a whisper that we should know them
    or should remember,
    should remember people in a war zone
    that isn’t their in-law’s house
    people like us bringing down
    memories from the top of the closet
    and there are never as many
    memories as you thought there were
    never as many memories as you wanted

    There is some heartbreak on the happiest days
    a sweet secret of a heartbreak that we share
    a sweet secret of a heartbreak for someone we love
    and that secret makes us smile
    for someone who isn’t there

~ XineAnn

The Tyger

Poet, artist and visionary William Blake was born 250 years ago today.

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 
 
In what distant deeps or skies 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand dare sieze the fire? 
 
And what shoulder, & what art.
 Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
 
 What the hammer? what the chain?
 In what furnace was thy brain? 
What the anvil? what dread grasp 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp? 
 
When the stars threw down their spears, 
And watered heaven with their tears, 
Did he smile his work to see? 
Did he who made the Lamb make thee? 
 
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? 
 
1794

If

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

If–

(“Brother Square-Toes”–Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
 
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master;
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
 
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

 

An Answered Prayer

“More like Christ, my Savior,
Let me be,” one morn I said.
Then along a rugged pathway
My steps the Savior led.
 
“Oh, that I might have money
And a help to others be!”
Praying thus, I soon was feeling
The pinch of poverty.
 
“Oh, might my tongue be ready
With floods of meling speech!”
But only in a lisping
Could I the message teach.
 
Then musing on my fortune,
I said, “Why is it so?
Why, could I not in these ways
For him unhindered go?”
 
Then long I knelt and lingered
In silent musing there.
When, like a voice I heard it,
“‘Tis the answer to your prayer.”
 
“It was in ways most humble
His path on earth was trod;
And you must choose that pathway
If you would please your God.”
 
And like the lowly Master
Who walked in Galilee,
Choose not, but just accept it,
The path he planned for thee.”
 
‘Tis not in might, nor power,
The Christian’s service lies;
He has said that through the humble
He will confound the wise.”
 
I thank him for this lesson
That he to me hath shown,
For now in humble service
Can I walk with him alone.
 
Content to do his bidding
Is now my aim, my goal,
And trust that through his blessing
I’ll save some precious soul.
 
——Elpha I. Clark [published in the Gospel Trumpet, January 14, 1926 page 3]
 
Elpha I. Clark was this blogger’s grandmother.

All in Christ

Bless me, O Lord; I need so much
Thy loving voice, thy loving touch.
Without thy blessing, lost am I;
To thy dear feet for help I fly.
Bless me, I pray.
 
Where thou dost lead me I would go
Tho by a path I do not know;
Seeking no better, shorter way,
Nearing my heavenly home each day.
So lead, I pray.
 
Where thou wouldst have me, I would be,
The shadows roundabout I see.
Light from the shining of thy face
Enters each dark and cloudy pace.
So shine, I pray.
 
Feed me, O Lord, tho barren be
Fields all around and barren tree.
Manna thou has in plenteous store;
Give me of this, I ask no more.
Feed me, I pray.
 

—Kate Philbrick

This is the last poem composed by Mother Philbrick (my great-grandmother) before she passed away May 11, 1928. She was noted for her love of souls and her fervent prayers.

God Bless the World We Love

(Tune: “God Bless America”)

God bless the world we love,
Stranger and friend;
Go before us, restore us
With a hope that despair cannot end.
Ev’ry people, ev’ry nation,
Mighty oceans, heaven’s dome,
God bless the world we love,
Our only home!
God bless the world we love,
Our only home!
Fellowship of Reconciliation

While I Pray

Katie I. Philbrick (1856-1928), my mother’s grandmother, whose own mother, Patience Mayhew DeMaranville, was a daughter of Gilbert and Catherine (Tilton) Mayhew of Martha’s Vineyard, kept her first husband’s name even after marrying my grandmother’s father (Frederick E. Potter), because, no doubt, of the strict religious upbringing which would have frowned heavily on remarriage after divorce even in a case of abandonment. In the family her second marriage was thought to have never formally occurred, even though all the children had the surname Potter, until a few years ago my uncle found a note of it, citing date and place, in my great-grandfather’s military records in the National Archives. In her declining years she lived with her daughter (my grandmother) and grandchildren. She eventually became blind, but continued to write poetry. One day a traveling evangelist, Barney Warren, who was also a prolific songwriter, visited for a short time and set one of her poems to music, probably also adding the refrain. The poem itself was first published by the Gospel Trumpet Company in the Gospel Trumpet (periodical) March 29, 1923, and later as a song (the first four stanzas only) in Melodies of Zion and also in Hymns And Spiritual Songs, with a copyright notice of 1926 under the name of B. E. Warren. Her name as lyricist was listed as Kate T. Philrick, incorporating two errors onKate the part of the editor.

While I Pray

by Katie I. Philbrick

While I pray the clouds about me
Are transformed to red and gold,
And each raindrop has a message
From my Saviour yet untold;
Songs burst forth in midnight darkness,
Lights from glory round me play,
All is changed like wondrous magic—
Earth to heaven, while I pray.

While I pray the angels linger
Near me, for they fain would be
Witness of the joy in sorrow,
Strength in weakness giv’n to me;
And my shield, all worn and battered
In the fierceness of the fray,
Glows afresh with heav’nly luster
And protects me while I pray.

While I pray my friends seem fonder
As I ask for each a boon,
And in loving faith I ponder
And expect an answer soon;
And the cares that so beset me
Steal unnoticed quite away,
Leaving only purest comfort
Of God’s presence, while I pray.

O the joy of bowing lowly
Often at the mercy-seat,
Healing favor, radiant glory,
Views of Jesus’ face so sweet!
And tho’ trouble come, or sadness,
I will trust him all the way,
And my heart will throb with gladness,
Praise and rapture, while I pray.

When I reach the flowing river,
Gazing on the darksome tide,
Nothing then shall daunt my spirit—
For my Lord the way has tried.
As my eyes are softly closing
All the sights of earth away,
I shall pass in sweet contentment—
Pass on gently, while I pray.

Refrain:
While I pray, while I pray,
God will surely answer
In his own way;
While I pray, while I pray,
He will surely answer
While I pray.

Abou Ben Adhem

Abou Ben Adhem

By James Henry Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold:

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The Vision raised its head,
And with a look made all of  sweet accord
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”

“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest!

A Shopgirl’s Christmas Eve

Anonymous; Printed in 1925 in the Philadelphia “Bulletin” — as memorized by E. F. Buehler (and inflicted annually on his family; thanks, Dad ;))

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the flat
Not a creature was stirrin’ – include me in that!
My stockings, a little the worse for tough wear,
Were flung o’er the back of a three-legged chair.
Outside snow was falling in beautiful flakes
But I didn’t care. I was too full of aches.
I’d worked in the store through the holiday strife
And was ready to sleep for the rest of my life.
When out in the airway there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
I thought for a moment ’twas the nut down one flight
Who starts up his radio late every night.
I ran to the window and loudly did cry,
“Is this Christmas Eve or the Fourth of July?”
When what to my astonished eyes did appear
But a dinky little sled and eight tiny reindeer
That seemed to be driving right up to my door
By one of those masquerade guys from the store.
I says to myself, “What can be this bird’s game?”
When he clucked to his reindeer and called them by name:
“Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen,
Up Comet, up Cupid, up Donner and Blitzen!”
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancin’ and pawin’ of meat on the hoof.
I pulled in my bean and was tuning around
When down the chimney my visitor came with a bound.
A bag of junk on his back he displayed with a grin.
He acted as though he had come to move in.
A stump of a pipe graced his jaws as he spoke.
He said, “Got a match? Do you mind if I smoke?”
He had a – pardon me – belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was jolly and fat and chock full of glee
But I ask you, dear reader, what was that to me?
The point I want to make, it was now two o’clock
And a man in my room without stopping to knock!
As I was thinking how nervy and slick,
He says to me, “Lady, I’m only St. Nick.”
But a poor tired salesgirl’s in no mood for fun
So I gave him a look and asked him, “Which one”
As a Christmas rush shop girl, I’m sure you’ll agree
A look at St. Nicholas is no big treat for me.
“This has gone far enough. this bunk’s got to stop.
Take the air with those goats or I’ll yell for a cop.”
Without a word, he turned to his work,
Filled up my stockings and turned with a jerk,
Laid a finger aside his red nose,
Gave a nod and up the chimney he rose.
Merry Christmas!” he yelled as away his deer ran,
I just gave a yawn and said, “So’s your old man!

 

Let Us Give Thanks

by Katie I. Philbrick, written 1918

The year has sped on wingéd feet, each hour,
Each moment fleeter than the one before.
It seems but yesterday we saw the buds
Of spring unfolding into radiant bloom;
And while we stood with eager hands outstretched
To gather them, the fruits of autumn lay
In rich abundance at our feet.  The year
Draws toward its close, almost before our sense
Had grasped the thought that summer days had flown.
And so our children grow – the tiny babe
So soon becomes the youth, we have no time
To listen to its prattle or to feel
The touch of baby arms about our neck:

And while we look in wonder at the youth,
The scene is changed again and we behold
A mated pair who leaving the home nest
Seem to take youth away and leave us age.
But these are thoughts as fleeting as the year —
Each season in its time is good, and so
Each change in life, if we but take it thus.
To-day, while gathered here again to mark
Thanksgiving Day, we feel that God is good:
The spring, the summer, autumn, — all are good,
And even winter brings us cheerful thought
And hopes of other and of brighter days.
Thus in our lives, — through childhood, youth, and age
Each passing stage of time is good, though short;
We greet each friend with kindly word and touch
Of hand; we meet and part again, perhaps for aye.
So let us all be glad, and as we eat
And drink and talk of days gone by
And days to come, let us give thanks
And say, “Our God is good.”

[typewritten – mimeographed?]

Katie I. Philbrick was this blogger’s great-grandmother.  I imagine her reading this at a family Thanksgiving gathering in Schodack Center, New York, to children and grandchildren, including  my own mother who would have been six years old that year. I printed out a copy and read it at another family gathering some 90 years later.