I’ve been rummaging through my old writing folders, with hopes that one or two will set the creative sparks flying. I found this little poem from 2008 and thought I’d share it, along with this gorgeous painting by one of my favorite artists, Guy Rose. A California native, Rose studied under Claude Monet and eventually settled in the art colony of Giverny. When Guy Rose returned to the West Coast, he rendered many coastal landscapes with the windswept brushstrokes and luminous palette of his California Impressionism.

Reflections on Summer's End @waterlilywriter

Like a ship with ruby treasure

Was my summer by the sea.

But, oh! Of all the merry seasons

Which should my favorite be?

The Midas touch of autumn,

The fairy kiss of spring,

The crystal notes of winter–

All are gifts from God the King.

Then Pealed the Bells

December 8, 2011

By 1864, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had achieved wide renown and a successful income through his poetry.  While the world acclaimed him as an American success, his own heart bore the weight of tragedy.  His wife, Frances, had died three years prior, and the future seemed bleak as their eldest son trudged across the battlefields of the Civil War.  Yet, on that Christmas Day of 1864, Longfellow penned the words which later became a classic holiday hymn.  May this song inspire you (as it does me) to rejoice in every circumstance, for “God is greater than our heart” (I John 3:20).

Illustrator: Antoinette Inglis

“Christmas Bells”

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Fear Not the Tempest

October 23, 2011

There was an era, not so long ago, when the spirit of exploration and adventure roamed the high seas.  Oil lamps burned on tables at home while men battled with monsters upon the waves.  From the Great Lakes to the uncharted wastelands of Antarctica, each journey evoked uncertainty, as sure as a roll of the dice.  Yet classic poems, sea-songs, and narratives reveal a burning spirit of hope, the kind that prevails against unspeakable odds.

“The Sailor and His Bride”

                                    by Isabella Valency Crawford (1850-1887)

“Let out the wet dun sail, my lads,

The foam is flying fast;

It whistles on the fav’ring gale,

To-night we’ll anchor cast.

What though the storm be loud, my lads,

And danger on the blast;

Though bursting sail swell round and proud,

And groan the straining mast;

The storm has wide, strong wings, my lads,

On them our craft shall ride,

And dear the tempest swift that brings

The sailor to his bride.”

“Fear not the tempest shrill, my heart,

The tall, white breakers’ wrath;

I would not have the wild winds still

Along the good ship’s path.

The ship is staunch and strong, my heart,

The wind blows to the strand;

Why tremble? for its fiercest song

But drives the ship to land.

Be still, nor throb so fast, my heart,

The storm but brings, betide

What may to ship and straining mast,

My sailor to his bride.”