Lesson From the Robins

Service

You never hear the robins brag about the sweetness of their song,
nor do they stop their music gay whene’er a poor man comes along.
God taught them how to sing and when they’d learned the art,
He sent them here
to use their talents day by day, the dreary lives of men to cheer.
And rich or poor and sad or gay, the ugly and the fair to see,
can stop most anytime in June and hear the robins’ melody.

I stand and watch them in the sun using their gifts from day to day,
swelling their little throats with song, regardless of man’s praise or pay.
Just being robins, nothing else, nor claiming greatness for their deeds
but just content to gratify one of the big world’s many needs,
singing a lesson to us all to be ourselves and scatter cheer
by using every day the gifts God gave us when He sent us here.

Why should we keep our talents hid, or think we favor men because
we use the gifts that God has given? The robins never ask applause,
nor count themselves remarkable, nor strut in a superior way,
because their music sweeter is than that God gave unto the jay.
Only a man conceited grows as he makes use of talents fine,
forgetting that he merely does the working of the Will Divine.

Lord, as the robins, let me serve! Teach me to do the best I can
to make this world a better place, and happier for my fellow man.
If gift of mine can cheer his soul and hearten him along his way,
let me not keep that talent hid; I would make use of it today.
And since the robins ask no praise, nor pay for all their songs of cheer,
let me in humbleness rejoice to do my bit of service here.

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

robin

Wondering about something to post for today’s Word Press daily prompt: heard, I opened up my volume of Edgar Guest poems and found this one. Not only does it suit the prompt, I thought, but it was a verse I needed to hear myself this morning.

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Leaving for Parts Unknown

Today’s Writing Prompt asks, ” Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

I wonder how long any of us could get along without our little glowing boxes? There are days when I long for complete isolation, but they pass quickly. And if I really want a break from the computer, I can work on some sewing projects for a week. Take away the blipping boxes, but please don’t take away my electricity!

So, though I’d never want this life for myself, I really like the imagery in this poem. Though I daresay I’d want a perpetual Fountain of Youth flowing on this idyllic isle. Otherwise, some of us are old enough to appreciate having medical professionals close by.

Beachcomber
by Robert W Service

When I have come with happy heart to sixty years and ten,
I’ll buy a boat and sail away upon a summer sea;
And in a little lonely isle that’s far and far from men,
In peace and praise I’ll spend the days the Gods allow to me.

For I am weary of a strife so pitiless and vain;
And in a far and fairy isle, bewilderingly bright,
I’ll learn to know the leap and glow of rapture once again,
And welcome every living dawn with wonder and delight.

And there I’ll build a swan-white house above the singing foam,
With brooding eaves, where joyously rich roses climb and cling;
With crotons in a double row, like wine and honeycomb,
And flame trees dripping golden rain, and palms pavilioning.

And there I’ll let the wind and wave do what they will with me;
And I will dwell unto the end with loveliness and joy;
And drink from out the crystal spring, and eat from off the tree,
As simple as a savage is, as careless as a boy.

For I have come to think that Life’s a lamentable tale,
And all we break our hearts to win is little worth our while;
For fame and fortune in the end are comfortless and stale,
And it is best to dream and rest upon a radiant isle.

So I’ll blot out the bitter years of sufferance and scorn,
And I’ll forget the fear and fret, the poverty and pain;
And in a shy and secret isle I’ll be a man newborn,
And fashion life to heart’s desire, and seek my soul again.

For when I come with happy heart to sixty years and ten,
I fondly hope the best of life will yet remain to me;
And so I’ll burn my foolish books and break my futile pen,
And seek a tranced and tranquil isle, that dreams eternally.

I’ll turn my back on all the world, I’ll bid my friends adieu;
Unto the blink I’ll leave behind what gold I have to give;
And in a jewelled solitude I’ll mold my life anew,
And nestling close to Nature’s heart, I’ll learn at last . . . to live.

Getting My Act Together

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things I gleaned from the writing workshop last Saturday on “Finding Your Niche” was that we can’t spread ourselves too thin. We have to pick one main thing and work at that until we succeed, rather than bouncing all over the place genre-wise.

Our instructor told us that her husband compared her to a sprinkler: shoot a bit here, a bit there, always in motion. (As I watched her constant movement around the front of the room as she talked, I could easily picture this simile.☺ No wonder she’s thin!)

Another illustration she shared (from another writer) was that of taking a cruise. Let’s say we won a spectacular cruise — a month in any location of our choosing. So we decide we’re going to Italy and get on the ship, but when we’re half-way there we decide we’d rather go to Iceland. So we change course (or hop ship in mid-ocean) and head for Iceland. We’re almost there when we decide this is silly. Let’s rather head for exotic, sunny Morocco. So we change courses again.

If we keep this up, in the end we’ll have spent a month on the ocean and never arrived anywhere. So it is with people who try to write gardening articles, devotionals, poetry, sci-fi, Christian romances, children’s non-fiction, etc. You will end up with a lot of nothing in particular. Generally speaking it’s best to pick one genre and work in this niche until you succeed. Finish one project. Then if you feel you need to branch out, you can try a different genre.

As I listened, I realized it all boils down to making a decision — and I hate making decisions. Always have. I am probably Queen of the Wish-Wash Niche.

I also like things stored in neat compartments, which is why I have four separate blogs plus a blog in partnership with my cousin Linda (our family tree). And as I wrote yesterday, our workshop leader was not very encouraging in regard to this diversity. Something about digging too many holes, then tripping over them. ☹

After serious thought, I’ve decided to drop my poetry blog, “Swallow in the Wind” and slowly add those contents to this, my main blog. “Tree Top Haiku” will remain as is, but will include some of my short poems as well. It seems best to me right now to continue posting my fiction on “Christine Composes” but I will post links to those stories here.

Experiences, opinions, stories, ornithological observations, daily prompt responses: I am me, with all my creative tangents, and I’ve decided to let this site reflect that variety.

Cheerful Thoughts and Snow

Hello Everyone,

Things were looking up last week, along with the mercury in our thermometer. Ducks, blackbirds and sparrow hawks were back; I even saw a snipe on a fencepost on Thursday. Heavy rains early in the week put some green into our grass, changing it from a blah shade of brown.

Yesterday afternoon it started to snow….and snow…and it is still snowing. Yes, we’re glad for the moisture, but…  A small flock of robins is hanging out in the bare tree branches along our driveway, looking like they hardly know what to do with themselves. The yard is wearing a fluffy blanket of white and more snow continues to fall. Snow and rain predicted for today and tomorrow. Right now it takes more faith in the natural course of seasons to be upbeat.

Past experience tells us this in only a minor setback; the weather man tells us the warmth will return on Wednesday–along with our smiles. Isn’t that a lot like life?

I’ve been busy this month with the organization of the annual His Imprint Christian Writers Conference. This took place on Saturday and, as is often said, a good time was had by all.

Now I’m asking myself, “Where to from here in my writing? With my blogs? With my website? In future, how much should I be involved in LinkedIn? In writers groups?”

I don’t like being wishy-washy, yet I feel I need to make some decisions and have asked for a bit of advice from someone who’s had a lot of experience in social media. Shall I go to a self-hosted.com blog for any of my blogs? Shall I try to maintain all three or put all my eggs into one basket again? Change the focus of any one of them?

All comments welcome.

My other blogs:

christineevelynvance.wordpress.com
swallowinthewind.wordpress.com

Website:
christinegoodnough.ca