Ring Out, Wild Bells

Wishing everyone a joyous, loving, and peaceful season. And, in that spirit, here is a poem by Tennyson for Christmas Day.

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Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, Ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, Ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of Rich and poor,
Ring in Redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, Ring out my mournful Rhymes,
But Ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and Right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Ann

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Stephanie

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Noah

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Tony

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Nevin

To A Butterfly

Summer officially came to an end at 10:21 Eastern Daylight Time this morning. Welcome Autumn with a poem by William Wordsworth.

firstlight

I’ve watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless!—not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again !

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers;
Here rest your wing when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.

—William Wordsworth

Beach Houses, Big Sky

Although it’s still summer, the first of September feels like a turning of the year, a return to school and schedules, and a farewell to cicadas and the least possible clothing. In parting I celebrate the day with a watercolor of Duck, NC, where the family just spent an idyllic week, and, attesting to the season’s ambivalence, a poem by A.E. Housman.

BeachHousesBigSky

XXXIX (from Last Poems)

When summer’s end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
That looked to Wales away
And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
And darkness hard at hand,
And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
That ever can ensue
Must now be worse and few.

So here’s an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.

—A.E. Housman

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Elizabeth

Julep Season

A poem by Jack Peachum in celebration of a summer classic. Better stock up, as we head further into this election season. Here’s a recipe from Epicurious that includes as an ingredient a homemade mint syrup which can be used in other drinks as well.

Aug2016

But, surely, the tree in Eden was a giant mint plant,
promising knowledge profane and sacred,
the doorways of Eternity opening—
summer air pushes heavy around the house,
ice clicks in the teeth,
the mixture’s smell invites you in
to where the mint lies on the tongue.
And in the distance,
bourbon-taste and sugar against the palette
sweet as remembered Sunday mornings.

— Jack Peachum

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Francine

Journey’s End

For the first of July, a painting and a poem.

HibiscusChateau

In western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing.
Or there may be ‘tis cloudless night,
And swaying branches bear
The Elven-stars as jewels white
Amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey’s end I lie
In darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.

—J R R Tolkien

Under The Greenwood Tree

For June, a poem from As You Like It, Act II, Scene V.

June2016
Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Who doth ambition shun,
And loves to live i’ the sun,
Seeking the food he eats,
And pleas’d with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

—William Shakespeare

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Jan

A Paean to Spring

For the first of May, a poem by Moses ibn Ezra (1060-1138), Jewish philosopher, linguist and poet from medieval Andalusia.

May2016
The lawn has on embroidered robes,
The trees are wearing checkered shifts,
They show their wonders to every eye,
And every bud renewed by spring
Comes smiling forth to greet his lord.
See! Before them marches a rose,
Kingly, his throne above them borne,
Freed of the leaves that had guarded him,
No more to wear his prison clothes.

—Moses ibn Ezra

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Mary

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Josiah

The time of the singing of birds is come

Here in Washington, DC, we have the cherry blossoms; last year in the Languedoc, it was the almond trees. Happy First Day of Spring, and happy blossom-walks beneath whatever is blooming in your land.

AlmondTrees

My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

—Song of Solomon 2:10-13

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Lynn & Donald

 

Snow, Blessed Snow

A sketch from the studio window, and a poem I post in thanks for this brief interlude of beauty and silence.

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Snow,
blessed snow,
comes out of the sky
like bleached flies.
The ground is no longer naked.
The ground has on its clothes.
The trees poke out of sheets
and each branch wears the sock of God.

There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
I bite it.
Someone once said:
Don’t bite till you know
if it’s bread or stone.
What I bite is all bread,
rising, yeasty as a cloud.

There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
Today God gives milk
and I have the pail.

—Anne Sexton

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Salome