"You're turning the pages and a very strange - and very nice - thing dawns on you. This book gets you. Obviously the author (who might have died centuries back) never knew you at all. But they write as if they did. It's as if you'd confessed your secrets to them and then they'd gone off and written this work around what you'd told them -transformed, of course, into a story about people with different names or into an essay that doesn't cite your case explicitly, but might as well do so, because it's completely on target." The School of Life, Small Pleasures
May polar bears welcome you
to northern Manitoba, their lumbering grace
marking the ice. May there still be ice.
May giant trees lean over your path
in warm places, brush your brow.
So many details now disappeared...
tiny toads in deserts, fireflies.
Where are the open window screens,
whispers of breeze against a sleeping cheek?
If we stop poking holes in soil,
watching onions grow,
what will we know? If we no longer learn cursive,
will our hand muscles disintegrate?
You blink, beginning to focus.
Where will the lost loops of handwritten "g's"
and "y's" go?
We dream you will have so much to admire.
Naomi Shihab Nye Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners
Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent
BY JOHN MILTON
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Two Poems for the new year:
The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things and Other Poems
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Within This Strange and Quickened Dust
Madeleine L’Engle, The Ordering of Love
O God, within this strange and quickened dust
The beating heart controls the coursing blood
In discipline that holds in check the flood
But cannot stem corrosion and dark rust.
In flesh’s solitude I count it blest
That only you, my lord, can see my heart
With passion’s darkness tearing it apart
With storms of self, and tempests of unrest.
But your love breaks through blackness, bursts with light;
We separate ourselves, but you rebind
In Dayspring all our fragments; body, mind,
And spirit join, unite against the night.
Healed by your love, corruption and decay
Are turned, and whole, we greet the light of day
“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans--and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused--and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.”
― Sigrid Undset, Kristen Lavransdatter
" A framed photo, like a pot or a pen or a table, must serve its purpose, just as it is, without apps or upgrades. In the digital era, this irreducible thingness may seem like a drawback. But let's not forget that it is also an enduring human value. A well-made object is informed by thousands of years of accumulated experiment and know-how. Whenever we make or use an everyday tangible thing, or even when we contemplate one seriously, we commune with this pool of human understanding."
- Glenn Adamson, Fewer Better Things
"And ballet, I wasn't going to mention ballet because I don't know any more about it that I do these other arts, even less-- but my wife and I went to Saratoga...and we saw the City Ballet do a couple of wonderful dances, one on Bach's Goldberg Variations. And I realized this art is working in both time and space. It's both music and it's spacial on the stage, and it's saying listen to this time, right now and look, look at what you're looking at, look at the language the body speaks, the language the face speaks, the language the hands speak, these wonderful things the young, supple, beautiful bodies are doing up there on the stage to the music. These are the kind of things we all of us do less young-ly, less supple-y, less beautifully, but with our hands, with our bodies -- pay attention to that. So generally -- and this is not a complicated point, God knows -- the arts frame our life for us so that we will experience it. Pay attention to it." Frederick Buechner, The Remarkable Ordinary
"Action and contemplation are very close companions; they live together in one house on equal terms. Martha and Mary are sisters. "
"What we love we shall grow to resemble."
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 12th Century
"Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?"
"So easy that, to tell the truth, I am seldom perfectly sober. Which accounts for my talking so much."
- Dorothy Sayers
A wee explanation: this website was created as a way to amplify the daily surprise of seeing glory in one small life. The notebook entries represented here are all selected from things actually lived and noted on paper in an effort to live the full life British educator Charlotte Mason so ably championed.