Thursday, December 3, 2015

Joy to the World

(A paraphrase of Psalm 98, with images from the Sierra Nevada Mountains)
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing.

Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

Yosemite National Park

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love.

Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite

---Isaac Watts, 1719

Saturday, November 7, 2015

For All the Saints

[a little late for All Saints Day on November 1st,
but the thoughts go on]

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confess,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

 O blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

My grandma, in her glory since 1996

But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on His way.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

 From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

 The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

---William W. How, 1864


Thursday, October 1, 2015

October in Phoenix

October in Phoenix:
No scarlet leaves in sight;
October in Phoenix,
Still sweltering at night.

October in Phoenix--
First day breaks a hundred--
We all see, crestfallen,
The records we dreaded.

I dream of northern mountains,
Flagstaff maples and aspens;
But I'm down here working,
No matter what happens.

If I were a Catholic
I'd call it "Purgatory";
Ah, since I'm a Lutheran
I lack that category.

Beyond urban confines
The desert grows scenic;
But it's a big city--
October in Phoenix.

---C. Marie Byars,  (c) 2015


Aspens in Flagstaff, AZ

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lord of All Hopefulness

[Happy Labor Day!]
 Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

 Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

---"Jan Struther"  (Joyce Maxtone Graham)* , 1931

*This authoress of many Anglican hymns was, actually, agnostic, although she regularly attended church.  We shall take her work in the fullest Christian sense.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

O, Mother Dear, Jerusalem

(A hymn/poem about heaven.  Singable to "America the Beautiful")

O mother dear, Jerusalem*,
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end,
Thy joys when shall I see?
O happy harbor of God's saints!
O sweet and pleasant soil!
In thee no sorrow may be found,
No grief, no care, no toil.

Thy gardens and thy gallant walks
Continually are green;
 There grow such sweet and pleasant flow’rs,

As nowhere else are seen.
 There trees forever more bear fruit,
And evermore do spring,
There evermore the angels sit,
And evermore do sing

Jerusalem, my happy home,
Would God I were in thee!
Would God my woes were at an end,
Thy joys that I might see!
No murky cloud o'ershadows thee,
 Nor gloom, nor darksome night;
 But every soul shines as the sun,
 For God Himself gives light
by  F.B.P.; medieval

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Old Glory in Nature's Glory



Monument Valley, Arizona (Navajo Reservation)

North Carolina Mountains


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

It's Grand

Recent anniversary trip up to the Grand Canyon:


Scrub Jay
Mule Deer


Friday, May 1, 2015

A Song of Spring

[more apropos to the colder climes; our spring came suddenly & summer's practically here!]

The Spring comes slowly up this way,
Slowly, slowly,
Under a snood* of hodden** grey.

The black and white for her array,
Slowly, slowly,***
The Spring comes slowly up this way

Where is her green that was so gay?
Slowly, slowly,
The Spring comes slowly up this way.

Unto a world too sick for May,
Slowly, slowly,
The Spring comes slowly up this way.

Where are the lads that used to play?
Slowly, slowly,
The Spring comes slowly up this way.

She has no heart for holiday,
Slowly, slowly,
The Spring comes slowly up this way.

The trees are out in Heaven they say^.
Slowly, slowly,
The Spring comes slowly up our way

                 ---- Katherine Tynan***8; 1859-1931

*Snood:  a mesh, cloth or yarn bag used for gathering up a woman's hair, especially a long mass of hair.  (Often had the idea of keeping a woman's sexuality "hidden" or "protected."  Here the author suggest that spring is too long hidden.)
**Hodden: coarse cloth worn by the peasants of Scotland.  Hodden Grey was known for being worn by certain military regiments
***This poem is a bit somber, sober, even "down" for a spring poem.  It reflects life in a more northern climate. Also, it reflects some the "zeitgeist" of our current times: seeing so many challenging things on so many fronts, waiting, hoping; waiting, ultimately, for Christ to return.
^A picture of the new life in heaven.
****Katharine Tynan (23 January 1859 – 2 April 1931) was an Irish-born writer  educated at St. Catherine's, a convent school in Drogheda. Her poetry was first published in 1878. She met and became friendly with the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1886.  Hopkins' work is featured frequently in this blog.


Monday, April 6, 2015



Nature's singing me her song,
And around me is a dance:
      The sunlight on the water,
       The aspens' 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.

You hear the moments out-of-tune
When 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.

    ----C. Marie Byars; Ft. Jackson, SC; May, 1986
          [written with memories of the southwestern U.S. in mind]

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


For this Easter, I would like to recommend you peruse past Easter postings (it's not like they go out of date on this site!) by selecting the "Easter" link below or on the side bar.  You might also wish to review the "Lent" postings in these few days we have left before Easter.

I'll be back with a new posting shortly after Easter.

God bless your celebration of our dear Savior's Resurrection.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Blog

I would like to recommend to readers this blog:
He is (seemingly) a nice gentleman from the United Kingdom who writes his own Biblical poetry.  He has a series up of Old Testament personages he has written about.
God bless your on-going journeys through Lent! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Excerpts from "Mortality"

[President Abraham Lincoln's favorite poem, in honor of President's Day.  Not exactly cheery, but Lincoln thought serious thoughts a lot...  Also makes a good reflection for Lent.]

Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passes from life to his rest in the grave...

The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
Be scattered around, and together be laid;
And the young and the old, the low and the high,
Shall molder to dust, and together shall lie.

The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne,
The brow of the priest that the mitre hath worn,
The eye of the sage, and the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave...

The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap,
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep,
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass that we tread.

So the multitude goes - like the flower or the weed
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes - even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told.

For we are the same that our fathers have been;
We see the same sights that our fathers have seen;
We drink the same stream, we feel the same sun,
And run the same course that our fathers have run.

The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers would think;
From the death we are shrinking, our fathers would shrink;
To the life we are clinging, they also would cling -
But it speeds from us all like a bird on the wing.

They loved - but the story we cannot unfold;
They scorned - but the heart of the haughty is cold;
They grieved - but no wail from their slumber will come;
They joyed - but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.

They died - aye, they died - we things that are now,
That walk on the turf that lies over their brow,
And make in their dwellings a transient abode,
Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road...

'Tis the wink of an eye - 'tis the draught of a breath -
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud
Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?

                                      ---William Knox (Scottish; 1789-1825)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bird Room

Still at it with the new house: now it's the settling in for this new year.  The kitchen/dining area has a real "bird theme", which relates to this blog.  I often hear birds singing outside, despite living in this metro area: