Friday, December 13, 2013

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high,
Sweetly singing o'er the plains.
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains:
"Gloria in excelsis Deo." *

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing.
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord the Newborn King:
Gloria in excelsis Deo. *

---Anonymous French Carol

*Glory to God in the highest

Monday, November 11, 2013

Autumnal Sonnet

Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods,
And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt,
And night by night the monitory blast*
Wails in the key-hold, telling how it pass'd
O'er empty fields, or upland solitudes,
Or grim wide wave; and now the power is felt
Of melancholy, tenderer in its moods
Than any joy indulgent summer dealt.
Dear friends, together in the glimmering eve,
Pensive and glad, with tones that recognize
The soft invisible dew in each one's eyes,
It may be, somewhat thus we shall have leave

To walk with memory,--when distant lies
Poor Earth, where we were wont to live and grieve.

--William Allingham (1828-1889) 
* Blast of air that warns or admonishes; here, about death coming


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Autumn

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them --
The summer flowers depart --
Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.
Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!
The dearest hands that clasp our hands, --
Their presence may be o'er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh'd our mind,
Shall come -- as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.
  ---Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Share the Reign of God our Lord

Share the reign of God, our Lord,
Spoken, written, mighty Word:
Go ev'rywhere and people call
To His heav'nly banquet hall.


Tell how God the Father's will
Made the world, upholds it still,
How He gave His own dear Son:
Who over sin already won.


Tell of our Redeemer's grace,
Who, to save our human race
And to pay rebellion's price,
Gave Himself as sacrifice.


Tell of God the Spirit giv'n
Now to guide us on to heav'n,
Strong and holy, just and true,
Working both to will and do.


Enter, mighty Word, the field;
Rip'n the promise of its yield.
But the reapers are so few
For the work there is to do!

Lord of harvest, great and kind,
Rouse to action heart and mind;
Let the gath'ring nations all
See Your light and heed Your call.

Jonathan Friedrich Bahnmaier (1774-1841); composite translation

Thursday, August 8, 2013

He hath abolished the old drouth

He hath abolished the old drou[g]ht,

And rivers run where all was dry**,
The field is sopp’d with merciful dew.
He hath put a new song in my mouth,
The words are old, the purport new*,
And taught my lips to quote this word

That I shall live, I shall not die,
But I shall when the shocks are stored
See the salvation of the Lord.
We meet together, you and I,    
Meet in one acre of one land,
And I will turn my looks to you,
And you shall meet me with reply,
We shall be sheaved with one band   
Van Gough

In harvest and in garnering,
When heavenly vales so thick shall stand
With corn*** that they shall laugh and sing.
---Gerard Manley Hopkins

* “the words are old, the purport new”  Psalm 118:17: “I shall not die, but live.” This is the “new song" Psalm 40:3. 

**Psalm, 65,  Running rivers and the fields sopping with water

***Biblical "corn" is actually "wheat"

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Thunder-Storm

[The summer monsoon season should soon be coming to the mountain West]

The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low, -
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road. . .

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the Hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father's house,
Just quartering a tree---Emily Dickinson

Saturday, June 1, 2013

More Texas Wildflowers

Black-Eyed Susans
Black-eyed Susans with Mexican Hats

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May Magnificat*

(Happy Mother's Day!)**

May is Mary's month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season—

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above bird nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary saw, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature's motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring's universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfed cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all—

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ's birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

---Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1878

[edited for prominent Roman Catholic Marian theology; cmb, 2013]

*Mary's song during her pregnancy with Christ:  "My soul magnifies the Lord..."
**Rose & Blue are traditionally "Mary's colors."  Blue for faithfulness & Rose for femininity, motherhood & the color of the fresh, pure rose.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Flowers Are Poetic, Too!

[wildflowers of Central Texas.  April, 2013]
Texas Bluebonnets &
Indian Paintbrush


Indian Blankets, Vervain & Mexican Four o'clock

Mexican Four o' Clocks with Vervains (verbena)

Evening Primrose

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Field Trip

Texas Bluebonnets (related to western Lupines)
[Biblical Poetry]

"Man, born of woman,
    is of few days, full of turmoil.
As a flower he springs forth
    and fades away,
And as a fleeting shadow,
    he does not last."  (Job 14: 1-2)  
They are in the morning
    as new grass which springs up.
In the morning it springs and grows;
    in the evening it withers and dries out. --Moses (Psalm 90:5b-6)
"A voice says, 'Cry out!'
And I said, 'What shall I cry?'                  
[God replies]:
'All flesh is green grass
And all its loveliness as the flower of the field...
The grass withers, the flower fades.
But the Word of God shall stand forever.' " (Isaiah 40:6, 8)

Indian Paintbrushes (Texas style)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It Is Well with My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live*:
If Jordan** above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
New life, not the grave, is our goal;
The trumpet of  angels; The voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul. 
  ---Horatio Spafford (adapted)

*"For, to me, to live is Christ, but to die is great gain."  ---St. Paul, Phillipians 1:21

**The Jordan River in the Holy Land.  The main eastern boundary of the Holy Land, it has become a symbol of the river to cross over at death, to enter heaven.  It is also the river in which Jesus was baptized. 
The writing of this hymn has such a moving story behind it that I included the link above.  For a deeper meaning from this hymn, look into the following verses: 
Praise the Lord, O my soul.”  --Psalm 146:1b
"God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.  
Therefore will not we fear,
Though the earth give way,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;  
Though its waters roar and are stirred up, Though the mountains shake with their surging."  -- David in Psalm 46:1-3
"Bless Yahweh, O my soul:
All that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless Yahweh, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities;
Who heals all your diseases;
Who buys back[redeems] your life from destruction;
Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. 
Yahweh carries out righteousness and judgment For all that are oppressed." --David in Psalm 103: 1-6
" 'Rejoice in the Lord always'  and again I say, 'Rejoice.' Let your moderation be known to everyone. The Lord is near.  Don't worry about anything; but in every thing by prayer and earnest begging with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  ---St. Paul in Philippians 4:4-7
"Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives,  do give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. "  --Jesus in  John 14:27

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Chief of Sinners, Though I Be

[For Valentine's Day &  Lent, 2013]

Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed His blood for me*,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the Vine,
I am His and He is mine!

Oh, the height of Jesus' love,
Higher than the heav'ns above,
Deeper than the depths of sea,
Lasting as eternity,
Love that found me -- wondrous thought!
Found me when I sought him not...

Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me.
All my wants to him are known;
All my sorrows are His own.
Safe with him in earthly strife,
I await the heav'nly life
  ---William McComb (19th Century)

* "....Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief [foremost]."    ---St. Paul, from I Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

I want to walk as a child of the Light,          
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world,
The Star of my life is Jesus.


In Him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the Light of the City of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

---Kathleen Thomerson, 1970;  (c) 1975 by Celebration Music