Bringing Home the Treasures

Ships Returning Home

by Max Ehrmann

We are all ships returning home
laden with life’s experience,
memories of work, good times and sorrows,
each with his special cargo.
And it is our common lot to show
the marks of the voyage,
here a shattered prow, there a patched
rigging, and every hulk
turned black by the unceasing
batter of the restless wave.
May we be thankful for fair weather
and smooth seas, and in times of storm,
have the courage and patience
that mark every good mariner.
And over all, may we have
the cheering hope of joyful meetings,
as our ship at last drops anchor in
the still water of the eternal harbor.

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My response to today’s WordPress prompt: fortune

Note:
In spite of all the tales about its ancient origins, the Desiderada was also written by Max Ehrmann, 1872-1945.

The Brighter Side

I want to celebrate my birthday today with an upbeat, inspiring poem — and I found this one that fits the bill perfectly.

The Brighter Side

by Edgar Guest

Though life has its trouble and life has its care
and often its dark days of sorrow,
there is always the hope that the sky will be fair
and the heart will be happy tomorrow.

There’s always the light of a goal just ahead,
a glimpse of the dream we’re pursuing,
in spite of the difficult pathway we tread
there is much it is good to be doing.

Time empties the purse of the pennies of youth,
the heart of its innocent laughter,
but gives in return just a few grains of truth
and the promise of more to come after.

There’s never a new day lived out to the end,
however life’s tempests may pitch us,
but what with a triumph, a joy, or a friend,
the swift, fleeting hours may enrich us.

There is so much to do and there’s so much to see
in spite of the troubles that fret us,
so much to wait for and so much to be
if only the future will let us —

that life with its burdens and life with its tears
and its heart-burning touches of sadness
still lures us all on to the end of our years
with its friendships, its loves, and its gladness.

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

The Reluctant Surfer — Poem by Joel F

LIFE IS LIKE AN OCEAN

Today I’m giving credit where credit is due by posting about several other blog posts I’ve read recently. I’ll begin with a poem I read this morning: The Reluctant Surfer, written by blogger Joel F (joysofjoel.com). He talks of the need to get out there and brave the waves, both in surfing and in life. His thoughts really encouraged me and I see they’ve inspired over 200 other people as well. I thought you might like to check it out, too.

Click here to read this poem.

We’ll Never Surrender —Maybe

The Word Press daily prompt word today is doubt. Curious, I picked up my book of quotes, Words of Wisdom, and found this gem:

“The greatest quality of leadership is the ability to hide your panic from the others.”

business-peopleI hope leaders don’t go around in secret panic, but we know that every undertaking has the possibility of failure. A good leader won’t rattle on about his misgivings and the possibility of impending disaster. He weighs his options, decides on a course, and rallies the troops.

As Winston Churchill once did with his rousing speech:
“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

He didn’t say:
We shall try to defend our island as best we can and hold out as long as we can, though it’s going to be a pretty tough go. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender until we have to.

Or do you all think we should rather give in now already? After all, we may not win. The enemy army is pretty strong, you know, and well organized. They may defeat our army, overrun our island and slaughter us all. But still, I think we should do our best to repel them — or would we be better off to wave the white flag and avoid all that bloodshed?

Not very inspiring.

How often in our day-to-day lives don’t we need people with courage and confidence? The following incident came to mind:

The teen son of a friend was doing some quick welding one day and a sliver of metal landed in his eye. My friend drove him to the medical clinic, then held her breath as the doctor took a razor-sharp blade and scraped the surface of the boy’s eyeball to dislodge the sliver.

She trembled, knowing one slip of that blade could cause permanent damage, but seeing the doctor’s confidence and steady hand gave her courage. A moment later the sliver was removed. My friend sighed with relief as she and her son left the office, prescription for antibiotic drops in hand.

Imagine yourself in that situation. How confident would you feel with a nervous doctor dithering away as he examined your child’s eye? Maybe he’d say, “Hmm… I’m not sure if I can get this out. I’ll give it a shot, but one slip of my blade and I’d slice his eyeball. I hope that won’t happen, because then infection might set in and he’d be blind in that eye for the rest of his life. I trust I can hold my hand steady enough, but I get a bit shaky when I’m tense, you see.”

Then he picks up the blade. Would you let him have a go at the child’s eye?

Granted, there’s the old “Look before you leap” advice. Yet prudence — thinking the matter through before acting — is a different species than the debilitating worm of doubt.

Old Poets

By Joyce Kilmer

If I should live in a forest
And sleep underneath a tree,
No grove of impudent saplings
Would make a home for me.

I’d go where the old oaks gather,
Serene and good and strong,
And they would not sigh and tremble
And vex me with a song.

The pleasantest sort of poet
Is the poet who’s old and wise,
With an old white beard and wrinkles
About his kind old eyes.

For these young flipperti-gibbets
A-rhyming their hours away
They won’t be still like honest men
And listen to what you say.

The young poet screams forever
About his sex and his soul;
But the old man listens, smokes his pipe,
And polishes its bowl.

old-man-black-hat

There should be a club for poets
Who have come to seventy year.
They should sit in a great hall drinking
Red wine and golden beer.

They would shuffle in of an evening,
Each one to his cushioned seat,
And there would be mellow talking
And silence rich and sweet.

There is no peace to be taken
With poets who are young,
For they worry about the wars to be fought
And the songs that must be sung.

But the old man knows that he’s in his chair
And that God’s on His throne in the sky.
So he sits by the fire in comfort
And he lets the world spin by.

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Alfred Joyce Kilmer, born 1886 in New Brunswick, NJ, USA, was killed
in action in World War I, never obtaining this mellow state he writes of.

Seriously?

This little story was included in an e-mail one day from a friend in Missouri.  Not sure where he got it, but I’ll pass it on in case you haven’t heard it yet.

It was very early in the morning and we were transporting horses to a show in our horse trailer.  Weather was nasty; rain was falling.  I pulled into a gas station at 5am to fill up.

Another traveler at the next pump inquired,  “Where are you going with those horses?”

“To the horse show,” I answered.

“You horse people must be crazy, going to something like that in this kind of weather,” he commented.

“What brings you out so early on such a nasty day?” I asked him.

“I’m going fishing,” the man replied in all seriousness.

Word Press daily prompt: seriousness

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Personal note:

I’m closing down my blog, Swallow in the Wind, where for several years I posted poetry and anecdotes like the one above.  For the next month, while I’m occupied with my spring sewing, I’m going to be reposting these here.