three lessons

There are three lessons I would write, Heart
Three words, as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light,
Upon the hearts of men.

Have Hope. Though clouds environ round,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put off the shadow from thy brow:
No night but hath its morn.

Have Faith. Where'er thy bark is driven -
The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth -
Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,
The inhabitants of earth.

Have Love. Not love alone for one,
But man, as man, thy brother call;
And scatter, like a circling sun,
Thy charities on all.

-Frederich von Schiller

october morning mild

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
- Robert Frost

hello, september

The golden-rod is yellow;

The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'Tis a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

- Hellen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
- Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)


SunsetEvery night
The horizon lights up
Swirls of pink and orange
Fading to blue and purple

Few bother to look anymore
At a blessing
That only comes once a day

Each sunset is different
No two exactly alike
Difference flows throughout
While it is the only similarity

Over the ocean
Or through the sky scrapers
Out on the prairie
Or in an apartment

You can still see a piece
A piece of something
Something never to return
A sunset

For the colors are shimmering
For a moment they stay
Only to disappear into change
Change just as beautiful as the last

This is why
No matter where you go
One thing remains the same,
A difference in sunsets

In your very own sunset 

-Jessica Millsaps



Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
    Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
    From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
    A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
    You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
   Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
   They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
   Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
   Yea, beds for all who come.

- Christina Rosetti

the convert

After one moment when I bowed my head 
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead
The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.
"The Convert", G. K. Chesterton (The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton [1927])

scarecrow on fire

We all think about suddenly disappearing.
The train tracks lead there, into the woods.
Even in the financial district: wooden doors
in alleyways. First I want to put something small
into your hand, a button or river stone or
key I don’t know to what. I don’t
have that house anymore across from the graveyard
and its black angel. What counts as a proper
goodbye? My last winter in Iowa there was always
a ladybug or two in the kitchen for cheer
even when it was ten below. We all feel
suspended over a drop into nothingness.
Once you get close enough, you see what
one is stitching is a human heart. Another
is vomiting wings. Hell, even now I love life.
Whenever you put your feet on the floor
in the morning, whatever the nightmare,
it’s a miracle or fantastic illusion:
the solidity of the boards, the steadiness
coming into the legs. Where did we get
the idea when we were kids to rub dirt
into the wound or was that just in Pennsylvania?
Maybe poems are made of breath, the way water,
cajoled to boil, says, This is my soul, freed.
Dean Young, "Scarecrow on Fire" from Fall Higher.

autumn leaves

Grinning pumpkins, falling leaves,
Dancing scarecrows, twirling breeze,
Color, color everywhere,
Autumn dreams are in the air! Autumn is a woman growing old,
Ready to let what is dead go,
Her youthful radiance has faded, and that's sad,
But underneath she discovers a
spread of colors she didn't know she had. Little children screech and run,
Ghosts and goblins having fun,
Color, color everywhere,
Autumn dreams are in the air! Around her a kaleidoscope of leaves are whirling.
Deep within her visions stir of new life that will be,
A budding, a flowering, a promise unfurling.
Autumn is a woman growing old,
Ready to let what is dead go. Calico kittens, rain falling rat-a-tat-tat,
Big full moon, funny black cats,
Color, color everywhere,
Autumn dreams are in the air!

-Mary Naylor