Sunday, April 29, 2007


Pink, small, and punctual
Aromatic, low,
Covert in April,
Candid in May,

Dear to the moss,
Known by the knoll
Next to the robin
In every soul.

Bold little beauty,
Bedecked with thee,
Nature forswears
---Emily Dickinson

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Nature's singing me her song
And all around me there's a dance:
The sunlight on the water
The Aspen's quaking leaves,
The playful dragonflies,
My own two happy feet.
My heart is filled with wild joy,
I know Who wrote the song:
He gave it melody
And wove in harmony;
He sets its steady rhythm
And makes the whole world dance.

Long ago man broke the rhythm
And broke his Father's heart.
Then Jesus took the broken strains
And recreated Nature's song.

Sometimes the world's still out-of-tune
And Nature's lost the harmony;
But my Composer saved a better song
To sing another place,
Where melodies are never sad,
And the only song is love.

I long to be there, Father,
To share Your lovely home,
To reach beyond this tiredness,
To praise You at you throne.
Let your dance move through my soul;
Take the lead with graciousness
And guide me through each step;

Oh, Father, when this world is gone, I know the song will still go on. . .
And on. . .
And on. . .
---Marie Byars, 1986


When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
When, when, Peace, will you, Peace?
I'll not play hypocrite
To my own heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but
That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows
Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?

O surely, reaving Peace, my Lord should leave in lieu
Some good! And so he does leave Patience exquisite,
That plumes* to Peace thereafter. And when Peace does house**
He comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,
He comes to brood and sit.***
---Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1879

*plumes out, grows into a full-fledged bird
**make a dwelling
***to hatch something new & more special

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Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,
But bid for, Patience is! Patience who asks
Wants war, wants wounds; weary his time, his tasks;
To do without, take tosses, and obey.*

Rare patience roots in these, and, these away,
Nowhere. Natural heart's ivy, Patience masks**
Our ruins of wrecked purpose. There she basks
Purple eyes*** and seas of liquid leaves all day.

We hear our hearts grate on themselves: it kills
To bruise them dearer. Yet the rebellious wills
Of us we do bid God bend to him even so.
And where is He who more and more distills
Delicious kindness?-- He is patient. Patience fills
His crisp combs****, and that comes those ways we know.
---Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1885

*we don't like to be 'patient' waiting for 'patience'; we strive & try to make it happen
**ivy covers over ruined homes & covers the cracks beneath
****God's sweet patience, like honeycombs

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Bible's Trees

The trees of Yahweh are full,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds make their nests:
The stork has her home in the cypress trees. [Psalm 104: 16-17]

"The stump of Jesse shall grow anew, " [promised Yahweh]
"And a Sprout [Jesus] from the root shall bear fruit.
And upon Him shall rest the Spirit of Yahweh:
The Spirit of Wisdom and of Understanding,
The Spirit of Counsel and of Might,
The Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of Yahweh." [Isaiah 11:1-3a]

"Cursed be any man who hangs on a tree." [Deuteronomy 21:22; Galatians 3:13]
"But I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
I, Jesus, shall draw all people unto myself." [John 12:32]

(The righteous man) is like a tree,
Which has been planted by streams of water,
Which gives its fruit in its proper time.
Its leaf does not wither:
Whatever it does will prosper. [Ps. 1:3]

The trees of the forest will sing for joy before Yahweh,
For He comes to judge the earth. [I Chronicles 16:33]

"You will go forth in joy," [promises Yahweh]
And be lead forth in peace. . .
The trees of the fields will clap their hands.
Rather than the thorn, the cypress will come up;
Rather than the brier, the myrtle will come up.
And all this will be for the sake of Yahweh's Name,
An everlasting sign which will not be destroyed." [fr. Is. 55:12-13]
(original translations)

Biblical Precipitation

Praise Yahweh from the earth:
Fire and hail, snow and clouds,
Storm winds doing His will. ..
Let them praise the Name of Yahweh,
For His Name alone is exalted;
His splendor is above the earth and heavens. [Psalm 148: 7a, 8, 13]

"God's voice thunders with marvelous things." [Young Elihu said.]
"He does great things we cannot know deeply.
For to the snow He says, 'Fall on the earth',
And to the rain shower, 'Be mighty torrents.'. . .
The animal goes into a lair
And settles down in its dens,
From the Breath of God is ice given, and the broad waters are frozen,
He also loads the cumulus clouds with moisture;
Clouds disperse His lightning. .." [Job 37:5-6, 8-11]

He sends forth His command to the earth;
His word runs swiftly forth.
He dispenses snow as wool;
He scatters hoar-frost as ashes.
He hurls His hail as fragments---
Who can stand before His icy cold?
He sends forth His world and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow. [Ps. 147;15-18]

"For just as the rain comes down," [says Yahweh]
"And the snow from the heavens,
And does not return there
Without watering the earth,
Causing it to sprout
So that it yields seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
Thus is My Word which goes forth from My mouth:
It does not return void unto Me
But does what I have desired
And advances those things for which I sent it." [Isaiah 55:10-11]
(original translations)

(This April, much of the United States is vacillating between these weather conditions!)