Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘National Poetry Month’

IF

A few weeks ago a kindred spirited friend, Shari—who loves many of the English poets whom I love—mentioned Milton’s sonnet On His Blindness.  I responded with a whopping “YES!”  I hadn’t read that sonnet for years, but I still recalled the poignant last line:  “They also serve who only stand and wait.”  I thanked Shari for the déjà vue, and that evening I located my beautiful antique volume of John Milton’s poems.  Here is the sonnet, followed by an explanation of why it has meant so much to me in recent weeks:

On His Blindness

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
Lodg’d 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.”

John Milton
 
As many of you know, our daughter-in-law, Rosemary, is facing a stand off with breast cancer.  The first post-op reports were encouraging, but complications have been discovered and both chemo and radiation will be needed.  For certain, 15 years ago (and perhaps as recently as 6!) I would have been on a Denver-bound plane—probably more than one time, to help Rosemary, our son, Karl, and their family during the difficult days ahead.  Sometimes physical issues ramp up so gradually, I had to mentally pinch myself to realize that NO—I probably should no longer travel “to help out”.  
 
I cannot “Hoover” (as they say in England) my own carpets, let alone someone else’s.  Fatigue often renders me useless for purposes other than reading, blogging, knitting, writing letters, or painting after 6:00 p. m.  My 82 year old husband and I are so attached to each other that leaving him alone (even in the company of a sweet Pembroke Welsh corgi) might break my heart (or his, or both)! 
 
We have an amazingly energetic daughter, Debbie, who loves to travel, loves her brother and his family (just as I do), and is incredibly deft at helping most anyone, anywhere!  Debbie has already been to Denver once since Rosemary’s surgery 2 weeks ago, and may quite possibly return!  Thus the re-reading (again and again) of On His Blindness ministered powerfully to my soul which had been considerably troubled by the realization that I’d no longer be flying to Denver, to help out. 
 
“They also serve who only stand and wait.”  And while I stand (sit or lie down) and wait, I pray!  I’m quite certain that Milton did that as well! 
 
Margaret L. Been, ©2013
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

nz6

Thanks to the countless friends who have prayed for Rosemary.  She is coming along, better each day—praise God!  MB

In celebration of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, here is one of my all time favorite poems—also preempting April which is National Poetry Month!  🙂

Pied Beauty 
 
Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him.
 
Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1844–1889
 
___________________________________________________________________
 
Have a blessed RESURRECTION DAY!!!
 
Margaret L. Been, 2013
 

Read Full Post »

 

 “Sea Fever” by MLB– watercolor on Yupo paper ↑

Since it is National Poetry Month, I’m including some poems on this home page, as well as in the “Ekphrasis” section.  Especially when the wind howls (as it does most of the time around our home), poems rock in my head—other poets’ verses, that I’ve learned and loved from childhood right up to this day, and sometimes new or older poems that I’ve written.

Lately, John Masefield’s Sea Fever has been rolling in my head.  I don’t really want to be on the high seas with the wheel kicking and the sail shaking.  Although thoroughly at home in a canoe on inland rivers and lakes, I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to rough big water!  But I LOVE to read about oceans and ships!

Above you will find the painting that flowed from my brush in response to Sea Fever, by John Masefieldfeatured below. ↓

Sea Fever

I must down to the seas again to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a gray mist on the sea’s face and a gray dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield

Read Full Post »

The Colour of Terrible Crystal

(referring to the firmament above Ezekiel’s chariot vision, recalled by the visual of a sunset)

Topaz, beryl, peridot

steeped in royal purple

dipped in blood . . . .

We are not Ezekiel by the Chebar,

yet exiled for a time

on this fallen planet we call “home”

we dream through half-remembered mist

while four-faced chariots surge Heavenward—

each face four within a face and tandem wings,

incandescent chariots with eye-encrusted rims

and omnipresent wheels.

Land riveted,

we could lose our half-remembered dream

but for the brilliance of terrible crystal

radiating westward twilight-wise,

rushing, surging, beckoning . . .

Topaz, beryl, peridot

steeped in royal purple,

dipped in blood.

© Margaret Longenecker Been

Note:  After Easter, I hope to begin adding to the Paintings and Poems page on this site — adding my paintings and additional poems by (not only me but) poets whose work I love. 

My painting passion has taken a sharp right turn toward the abstract in recent months, and I’ve many new renderings that I want to share with you.  Enjoy the ride on Paintings and Poems.   🙂

Read Full Post »