Posts Tagged With: poetry

How Do I Love Thee?

I found another treasure!  This time, it is in the form of a book of poetry I gave to Mom in 1984 – for Mother’s Day (or so the inscription reads).  

Flipping through the pages I came across a poem that Mom and Dad used to quote to each other – at least the first few lines – often even through their marriage that I am familiar with the poem.  

Today – a tribute to Bill and Paula and the love they shared.  


How Do I Love Thee? (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. 

I love thee to the level of every day’s 

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. 

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath, 

Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death. 

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Mom’s Morning Prayer

Wow.  I found it.  For such a long time I have wondered where the poem went.

I bought a framed poem for my Mom probably 15 years ago in Ottawa.  It spoke to me and said, “HEY, Stacey!  This is all about your Mom!  Buy me!”.

And needless to say, I bought it.

The poem, by J. Lemming so reminded me of how Mom used to love the sunrise.  As a child I would lay in bed (okay, as a teen) and listen to her clanging pots and pans in the kitchen ..bright and early.  She was up before anyone else – to enjoy the peace and quiet.  I think there were times when she was up even before the birds.  Soon, I’d smell the bacon or morning treat cooking.  Wow.  If that smell doesn’t get you up – nothing will.  And so, without saying a word to us, my brother, Dad and I were up and sitting at the breakfast table with Mom.  Her companion had been the rising sun all morning.  She’d say to us, “Good morning, what a beautiful day!”  And this would be whether it was raining, snowing, blowing, or some other form of nasty weather.  And then she’d quote one of her favorite stories, “It was a lovely day and Dinky Duck was happy.”.  Now, I had never read Dinky Duck, but I think this was a main staple for my brother.  Mom loved the morning.  Mom loved the morning.

Now, every morning when I get up I look to the sunrise and wish Mom a “good-morning”.  It gives me comfort and reassures me that Mom is with me… especially when my family and I are on vacation in Myrtle Beach where  the sun rises over the ocean.  The sunrise, it seems, is sole possession of my Mom.  I hung the poem I bought her right beside my bed so that when I wake up in the morning, I am reminded of the beauty of a sunrise.  And I am reminded that I can soon expect to see Mom in the day’s rising sun.

For your reading pleasure, here is …

“Mom’s Morning Prayer”.

“Early in the morning

When the sun begins to rise,

I thank God for His


As I pray for sunny skies.

So sacred is the morning

As I kneel to say a Prayer

I am thankful for

God’s Presence

In my life, His love to share”

Categories: Family and Friends, Life After Dad, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Wind – It’s All About the WInd

And then Andrea said, “As Bill may say…

I give you this one thought to keep –
I am with you still – I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning’s hush
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as only gone –
I am with you still – in each new dawn.”

God, it was perfect.  What a perfect poem to recite on this day.  What a perfect selection for a perfect day.  What a fitting end – or beginning.  God, it was perfect.

And the wind blew on the 15 of us gathered at Union Cemetery to place Dad’s ashes with Mom’s.  The wind we had felt before.  It had been with us all our lives.  The wind gave us comfort as the temperature soared above 35 degrees.  The wind was cooling and healing.

We all remembered the glint of a diamond snow.  And God knows we remember Dad’s favorite song, “Snowbird” by Anne Murray.  The snow had been with us – well other than the Dancing Nannies – all our lives.  The snow gave us joy and comfort when we played in it as kids.  The snow was something from which we could escape into our snug homes when it became too much.

Sunlit ripened grain.  What an image.  What powerful words.  And then the wind tossed our hair again. Grain.  This was an image that both Mom and Dad would have shared from their separate childhoods – Mom from the prairies and Dad from New Lowell.  Grain would be ground into flour and used to nourish the body and soul.

When you awake in the morning’s hush I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.  Dad was there with us.  We all saw the birds.

On this day, when we gave Dad to be with Mom, the birds were chirping and gliding, and playing in the air above us.

On this day, when we gave Dad to be with Mom, the sun shone on our faces and warmed our souls.

None of us thought of Mom and Dad as gone, on this day.  We knew they were there.  We all shed tears – together.  We all closed our eyes in prayer, together.  We all gathered to pay our respects to Mom and Dad – together.  And we all felt the wind blow gently on us – together.

Who has seen the wind, several of our new family members queried.  And the answer was a resounding, “Neither you nor I.  But when the trees bow down their heads, we know its passing by.”  The wind was there.  Mom and Dad were there – and finally – together.

(Typically the attribution states ‘Author unknown’ but it is the native American version of the poem, Do not stand at my grave and weep, by Mary Elizabeth Frye)

Categories: Family and Friends, Life After Dad, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Found it: Sans eyes, sans teeth

Now I wonder if this was taken from Omar Khayyam or inspired by his “sans” passage in the Rubaiyat?  It is the last line from Jaques famous ‘all the world’s a stage’ speech in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, 1600.  How many of us – my generation – can actually quote poetry?  What a gift.  Anyhow – here it is..

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Categories: Duff History, Family and Friends, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Omar Khayyam

Mom and Dad both used to quote this passage to me when I was young.  Then, I had no appreciation for it – whatever that “finger” was I had no idea.

Today – the passage resonates.  Maybe I’ll start reciting it to my own children.


“The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,

Moves on:  nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”


They also used to say something like, “Sans eyes, sans teeth, sans all..”  but I haven’t found the source of that yet –


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