Monday, December 30, 2013

The New Clock

In memory of Nancy Richey Ranson, who died in Dallas, Texas on this date in the year 1972 . . . in her own words . . . 
I had not known time moved so swiftly past,
Nor counted seconds, flying one by one;
I knew just hours in fragments, rarely fast.
As imperceptible as trail of sun
Across unmeasured distances of sky;
I had not counted myriad sword-like rays
Cut sharply through the tranquil air, to lie
Upon the quiet earth through passing days.

But on this strange new clock, a second hand
Strides endlessly around the moonlike face;
For not one breathless instant will it stand,
But goes relentlessly at steady pace.
I watch it, spellbound. Now, at last, I know
That in this selfsame manner life will go.

This poem is from a little book of poetry called Texas Evening . . . by Nancy Richey Ranson . . . who was Poet Laureate of Texas from 1941 'til 1943 . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 150 Years Ago

Even with all the sorrow that hangs,
and will forever hang, over so many households;
even while war still rages;
even while there are serious questions yet to be settled -
ought it not to be, and is it not,
a merry Christmas?
Harper's Weekly, December 26, 1863

Illustrations from mid-19th century issues of Godey

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

A little smile, a word of cheer,
A bit of love
from someone near,
A little gift from one held dear,
Best wishes for the coming year...
These make a Merry Christmas!

John Greenleaf Whittier

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas

 I question if Christmas can ever be “merry”
Except to the heart of an innocent child.
For when time has taught us the meaning of sorrow
And sobered the spirits that once were so wild,

When all the green graves that lie scattered behind us
Like milestones are marking the length of the way,
And echoes of voices that no more shall greet us
Have saddened the chimes of the bright Christmas Day, -—

We may not be merry, the long years forbid it,
The years that have brought us such manifold smarts;
But we may be happy, if only we carry
The Spirit of Christmas deep down in our hearts.

Three fold is the Spirit, thus blending together
The Faith of the Shepherds who came to the King,
And, knowing naught else but the angels' glad message,
Had only their faith to His cradle to bring;

The Hope of the Wise Men that rose like the day star
To lighten the centuries' midnight of wrong,
And the Love of the Child in the manger low-lying,
So tender and patient, so sweet and so strong.

Hence I shall not wish you the old “Merry Christmas,”
Since that is of shadowless childhood a part,
But one that is holy and happy and peaceful,
The Spirit of Christmas deep down in your heart.

(24 December 1866 ~ 08 September 1932)

The Independent, Hawarden, Iowa, December 21, 1933, Page 9

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Book our Mothers Read

We search the world for truth, we cull
The good, the pure, the beautiful,
From graven stone and written scroll,
And all old flower-fields of the soul;
And, weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from our quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the Book our mothers read.

John Greenleaf Whittier
17 December 1807 ~ 07 September 1892

See also . . .
Christmas of 1888
Dear Home Faces

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where God's lights are always on

We close our eyes, but for a moment
To open them in Heaven's brightness
Where God's lights are always on.

Nettie Flagg Cooke

See the rest of the poem at . . .
Filiopietism Prism: Matrilineal Monday

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Authors of our Existence

"A lively desire of knowing and recording our ancestors so generally prevails that it must depend on the influence of some common principle in the minds of men. 

We seem to have lived in the persons of our forefathers; it is the labor and reward of vanity to extend the term of this ideal longevity. 

Our imagination is always active to enlarge the narrow circle in which nature has confined us. 

We fill up the silent vacancy that precedes our birth by associating ourselves to the authors of our existence." 

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) as quoted in The family of Early, which settled upon the eastern shore of Virginia and its connection with other families (1920)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Were an epitaph to be my story

And were an epitaph to be my story
I'd have a short one ready for my own.
I would have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover's quarrel with the world.

Robert Frost

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The River Note

And I behold once more
My old familiar haunts; here the blue river,
The same blue wonder that my infant eye
Admired, sage doubting whence the traveller came,--
Whence brought his sunny bubbles ere he washed
The fragrant flag-roots in my father's fields,
And where thereafter in the world he went.
Look, here he is, unaltered, save that now
He hath broke his banks and flooded all the vales
With his redundant waves.
Here is the rock where, yet a simple child,
I caught with bended pin my earliest fish,
Much triumphing,--and these the fields
Over whose flowers I chased the butterfly,
A blooming hunter of a fairy fine.
And hark! where overhead the ancient crows
Hold their sour conversation in the sky:--
These are the same, but I am not the same,
But wiser than I was, and wise enough
Not to regret the changes, tho' they cost
Me many a sigh. Oh, call not Nature dumb;
These trees and stones are audible to me,
These idle flowers, that tremble in the wind,
I understand their faery syllables,
And all their sad significance. The wind,
That rustles down the well-known forest road--
It hath a sound more eloquent than speech.
The stream, the trees, the grass, the sighing wind,
All of them utter sounds of 'monishment
And grave parental love.
They are not of our race, they seem to say,
And yet have knowledge of our moral race,
And somewhat of majestic sympathy,
Something of pity for the puny clay,
That holds and boasts the immeasurable mind.
I feel as I were welcome to these trees
After long months of weary wandering,
Acknowledged by their hospitable boughs;
They know me as their son, for side by side,
They were coeval with my ancestors,
Adorned with them my country's primitive times,
And soon may give my dust their funeral shade.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
25 May 1803 - 27 April 1882

Saturday, May 11, 2013

F.F.W. :: Fit For Wives

SOUTHERN BROAD-AXE [WEST POINT, MS], May 11, 1859, p. 4, c. 1. Every family ought to keep a kitten to amuse the children. They should also keep children to amuse the kitten.

It is proposed to establish an institution for the education of young ladies in which the science of weaveology, spinology and cookology will form a part. After obtaining these accomplishments they may receive the degree of F.F.W. -- Fit for Wives

Friday, May 10, 2013

This is a Time for Remembering

According to a book by Louise McHenry Hicky entitled Rambles through Morgan County, Georgia, she describes this land of some of my ancestors as . . .

This is Gone With the Wind country . . .
The world is still beautiful, filled with wonders;
the sky is blue,
the flowers still bloom,
and birds warble in the magnolia trees. . . .

There was a time when peace reigned
and life was leisurely,
and beautiful
and romantic.

Then came a war between the States,
when all this beautiful living
was gone with the wind. . . .

This is a time for rememberng. . . .

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Men like my father cannot die

Men like my father cannot die.

They are with me still,
real in memory as they were in flesh,
loving and beloved forever.

How green was my valley then.

Philip Dunne (1908-1992), U.S. screenwriter.
The narrator (Irving Pichel),
How Green Was My Valley (1941).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Morning Twilight

It is among the loveliest customs of the ancients to bury the young at morning twilight; for, as they strive to give the softest interpretation to death, so they imagined that Aurora, who loved the young, had stolen them to her embrace. The Eastern Texian (San Augustine, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 45, Ed. 1 Saturday, March 26, 1859