Archive for ‘Religious’

Friday, 22 April 2022

A Woman’s Prayer by Philadelphia Nina Robertson

I am so placid as I sit
In train or tram, and knit and knit;
I walk serenely down the street
And smile on all the friends I meet;
Within the house I give due heed
To every duty, each one’s need
And when it’s dark and lamps are lit,
I take my sock again, and knit.

Sometimes the newsboys hurry by
And then my needles seem to fly
Through purl and plain, row after row,
They flash, until the fire burns low—
I am so tranquil as I sit
Till bedtime comes, and knit and knit.

And when the house has grown quite still,
I lean out on my window-sill—
Lean out to the velvet night,
Gemmed with all its points of light,
And pray to God to see to it
That I keep sane enough to knit.

From: “New War Books” in The Bulletin, Vol. 37, No. 1916 (2 November 1916), p. [The Red Page].
(https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-658831288/view?partId=nla.obj-658862907#page/n0/mode/1up)

Date: 1916

By: Philadelphia Nina Robertson (1886-1951)

Saturday, 16 April 2022

An Easter Text by Anne Emilie Poulsson

Waiting so long in the earth-dark low,
Flower-seeds, do you but hope, or know,
The glory to which you shall some time grow?

Whether by hope or foreknowledge blest,
Upward and outward the plantlet pressed:
This is the text. Do we need the rest?

Is this your heaven, this world of ours,
Here where you bloom into lovely flowers
After your groping and toilsome hours?

From: https://dvpp.uvic.ca/poems/atalanta/1888/pom_1770_an_easter_text.html

Date: 1888

By: Anne Emilie Poulsson (1853-1939)

Friday, 15 April 2022

Barabbas Speaks by Edwin McNeill Poteat

I heard a man explaining
(they said his name was Paul)
how Jesus, on that fateful day,
had died to save us all.

I found it hard to follow
His fine-spun theory,
but I am very, very sure
He died that day for me.

From: Morrison, James Dalton (ed.), Masterpieces of Religious Verse, 1905, Harper & Brothers: New York and London, p. 184.
(https://archive.org/details/masterpiecesofre002909mbp/)

Date: 1892

By: Edwin McNeill Poteat (1861-1937)

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Noah’s Song by Evan Lloyd Jones

The animals are silent in the hold,
Only the lion coughing in the dark
As in my ageing arms once more I fold
My mistress and the mistress of the Ark.

That, the rain, and the lapping of the sea:
Too many years have brought me to this boat
Where days swim by with such monotony,
Days of the fox, the lion and the goat.

Her breathing and the slow beat of the clock
Accentuate the stillness of the room,
Whose walls and floor and ceiling seem to lock
Into a space as single as the tomb.

A single room set up against the night,
The hold of animals, and nothing more:
For any further world is out of sight –
There are no people, and there is no shore.

True, time passes in unbroken peace:
To some, no doubt, this Ark would seem a haven.
But all that I can hope for is release.
Tomorrow I’ll send out the dove and raven.

From: http://www.australianpoetryreview.com.au/2015/02/evan-jones-selected-poems/

Date: 1960

By: Evan Lloyd Jones (1931- )

Sunday, 26 December 2021

Just Doing My Job by Clare Bevan

I’m one of Herod’s Henchmen.
We don’t have much to say,
We just charge through the audience
In a Henchman sort of way.

We all wear woolly helmets
To hide our hair and ears,
And Wellingtons sprayed silver
To match our tinfoil spears.

Our swords are made of cardboard
So blood will not be spilled
If we trip and stab a parent
When the hall’s completely filled.

We don’t look very scary,
We’re mostly small and shy,
And some of us wear glasses,
But we give the thing a try.

We whisper Henchman noises
While Herod hunts for strangers,
And then we all charge out again
Like nervous Power Rangers.

Yet when the play is over
And Miss is out of breath
We’ll charge like Henchmen through the hall
And scare our mums to death.

From: https://www.panmacmillan.com/blogs/literary/our-favourite-christmas-poems

Date: 2004

By: Clare Bevan (19??- )

Saturday, 25 December 2021

A Christmas Letter from Australia by Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen

’T is Christmas, and the North wind blows; ’t was two years yesterday
Since from the Lusitania’s bows I looked o’er Table Bay,
A tripper round the narrow world, a pilgrim of the main,
Expecting when her sails unfurled to start for home again.

’T is Christmas, and the North wind blows; to-day our hearts are one,
Though you are ’mid the English snows and I in Austral sun;
You, when you hear the Northern blast, pile high a mightier fire,
Our ladies cower until it’s past in lawn and lace attire.

I fancy I can picture you upon this Christmas night,
Just sitting as you used to do, the laughter at its height:
And then a sudden, silent pause intruding on your glee,
And kind eyes glistening because you chanced to think of me.

This morning when I woke and knew ’t was Christmas come again,
I almost fancied I could view white rime upon the pane,
And hear the ringing of the wheels upon the frosty ground,
And see the drip that downward steals in icy casket bound.

I daresay you ’ll be on the lake, or sliding on the snow,
And breathing on your hands to make the circulation flow,
Nestling your nose among the furs of which your boa ’s made,—
The Fahrenheit here registers a hundred in the shade.

It is not quite a Christmas here with this unclouded sky,
This pure transparent atmosphere, this sun midheaven-high;
To see the rose upon the bush, young leaves upon the trees,
And hear the forest’s summer hush or the low hum of bees.

But cold winds bring not Christmastide, nor budding roses June,
And when it’s night upon your side we ’re basking in the noon.
Kind hearts make Christmas—June can bring blue sky or clouds above;
The only universal spring is that which comes of love.

And so it’s Christmas in the South as on the North-Sea coasts,
Though we are starved with summer-drouth and you with winter frosts.
And we shall have our roast beef here, and think of you the while,
Though all the watery hemisphere cuts off the mother isle.

Feel sure that we shall think of you, we who have wandered forth,
And many a million thoughts will go to-day from south to north;
Old heads will muse on churches old, where bells will ring to-day—
The very bells, perchance, which tolled their fathers to the clay.

And now, good-night! and I shall dream that I am with you all,
Watching the ruddy embers gleam athwart the panelled hall;
Nor care I if I dream or not, though severed by the foam,
My heart is always in the spot which was my childhood’s home.

From: https://mypoeticside.com/show-classic-poem-27515

Date: 1885

By: George Brooke Wheelton Sladen (1856-1947)

Friday, 24 December 2021

Model-Train Display at Christmas in a Shopping Mall Food Court by James Arthur

These kids watching so intently
on every side of the display
must love the feeling of being gigantic:
of having a giant’s power
over this little world of snow, where buttons
lift and lower
the railway’s crossing gate, or switch the track,
or make the bent wire topped with a toy helicopter
turn and turn
like a sped-up sunflower. A steam engine
draws coal tender, passenger cars, and a gleaming caboose
out from the mountain tunnel,
through a forest of spruce and pine, over the trestle bridge,
to come down near the old silver mine.

Maybe all Christmases
are haunted by Christmases long gone:
old songs, old customs, people who loved you
and who’ve died. Within a family
sometimes even the smallest disagreements
can turn, and grow unkind.

The train’s imaginary passengers,
looking outward from inside,
are steaming toward the one town they could be going to:
the town they have just left,
where everything is local
and nothing is to scale. One church, one skating rink,
one place to buy a saw.
A single hook-and-ladder truck
and one officer of the law. Maybe in another valley
it’s early spring
and the thick air is redolent of chimney smoke and rain,
but here the diner’s always open
so you can always get a meal. Or go down to the drive-in
looking for a fight. Or stay up
all night, so tormented by desire, you can hardly think.

Beyond the edges of the model-train display, the food court
is abuzz. Gingerbread and candy canes
surround a blow mold Virgin Mary, illuminated from within;
a grapevine reindeer
has been hung with sticks of cinnamon. One by one, kids
get pulled away
from the model trains: Christmas Eve is bearing down,
and many chores remain undone.

But for every child who leaves, another child appears.
The great pagan pine
catches and throws back wave on wave of light,
like a king-size chandelier, announcing
that the jingle hop has begun,
and the drummer boy
still has nothing to offer the son of God
but the sound of one small drum.

From: https://poets.org/poem/model-train-display-christmas-shopping-mall-food-court

Date: 2018

By: James Arthur (1974- )

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Before Christmas by John Corben

The year tips, the sun
slips towards the sky’s edge, and
dark bites at the day.

Shopping after dark:
hands clutching carrier-bags
stuffed with surprises.

The pillar-box’s
smiling mouth swallows our cards,
cheered by the greetings.

Christmas cards snow through
the letter-box. Open them
and brightness thaws out.

Lying awake I
hear clattering hooves: reindeer
landing on the roof.

From: Harrison, Michael and Stuart-Clark, Christopher (ed.), The Oxford Treasury of Christmas Poems, 2008, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 13.
(https://archive.org/details/oxfordtreasuryof0000unse_r0l6/)

Date: 1991

By: John Corben (19??- )

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Advent Days by Kate Seymour MacLean

The centuries grow old; one after one
The circle rounds into the perfect orb,
Forging the silver links that backward run
Along the twilight slopes of hoary time,
(Which the past darkness cannot quite absorb).
To that first day of Eden’s rosy prime,
When stars and seraphs, and the crystal spheres,
In the pure ether turning, sang the world’s first morn.
In music still the slow-revolving years
Turn in their silver chain, unheard of men,
Bringing the birthday of the world again, —
Bringing the infant Christ which should be born.

Once more bright angels gather in the sky,
And the dull ear of night awakes to hear
The far-off sound of heavenly pinions furled,
And glad hosannas singing sweet and clear —
Peace, peace on Earth— glory to God on high,
In the new birth-song of the ransomed world.
O day sublime to which all other days
Flow down convergent since earth’s days begun,
And all their separate and scattered rays,
Down the vast space, unmeasured of the sun —
The twilight of the ages— merge in one,
To kindle in these later alien skies
The white lamp of that earlier paradise!

From: MacLean, Kate Seymour, Advent Days and Poems of Remembrance, 1902, The Jackson Press: Kingston, p. [unnumbered].
(https://archive.org/details/adventdayspoemso00macl/)

Date: 1902

By: Kate Seymour MacLean (1829-1916)

Thursday, 25 November 2021

The Fulness of Time by James Stephens

On a rusty iron throne
Past the furthest star of space
I saw Satan sit alone,
Old and haggard was his face;
For his work was done and he
Rested in eternity.

And to him from out the sun
Came his father and his friend
Saying, now the work is done
Enmity is at an end:
And he guided Satan to
Paradises that he knew.

Gabriel without a frown,
Uriel without a spear,
Raphael came singing down
Welcoming their ancient peer,
And they seated him beside
One who had been crucified.

From: Stephens, James, The Hill of Vision, 1912, Maunsel and Company: Dublin, p. 30.
(https://archive.org/details/hillvision00stepgoog/)

Date: 1912

By: James Stephens (1880-1950)