There is an arid Pleasure –
As different from Joy –
As Frost is different from Dew –
Like Element – are they –
Yet one – rejoices Flowers –
And one – the Flowers abhor –
The finest Honey – curdled –
Is worthless – to the Bee –
Remember the goodness of God in the frost of adversity.
Hard times leave us frozen solid,
and too cold to touch,
yet there is hope and healing,
remembering the immensity and goodness of God.
Even when life’s chill leaves us aching,
longing for relief,
the coming thaw is real
because God is good.
Even when we’re flattened,
stepped on, broken into fragments —
the pieces left are the beginning
of who we will become,
made whole again
because God is good.
The frost lasts not forever.
The sun makes us glisten and glitter
as ice melts down to droplets.
We become the goodness of God,
His eyes and ears,
heart and soul,
hands and feet.
Even more so,
we are His tears.
You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last. This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead—that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.
But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first—
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the east?
You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself. I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
~Linda Pastan “Imaginary Conversation”
To live each day like the first day, not the last…
It would mean unbridled awe and astonishment, as it should be.
Not just gratitude that the world exists, but grateful that I exist within it.
Baptized by amazement each day anew.
Some sings of the lily, and daisy, and rose,
And the pansies and pinks that the Summertime throws
In the green grassy lap of the medder that lays
Blinkin’ up at the skyes through the sunshiney days;
But what is the lily and all of the rest
Of the flowers, to a man with a hart in his brest
That was dipped brimmin’ full of the honey and dew
Of the sweet clover-blossoms his babyhood knew?
I never set eyes on a clover-field now,
Er fool round a stable, er climb in the mow,
But my childhood comes back jest as clear and as plane
As the smell of the clover I’m sniffin’ again;
And I wunder away in a bare-footed dream,
Whare I tangle my toes in the blossoms that gleam
With the dew of the dawn of the morning of love
Ere it wept ore the graves that I’m weepin’ above.
And so I love clover–it seems like a part
Of the sacerdest sorrows and joys of my hart;
And wharever it blossoms, oh, thare let me bow
And thank the good God as I’m thankin’ Him now;
And I pray to Him still fer the stren’th when I die,
To go out in the clover and tell it good-bye,
And lovin’ly nestle my face in its bloom
While my soul slips away on a breth of purfume
~James Whitcomb Riley “The Clover Poem”
Lightly it flew to the pleasant home
Of the flower most truly fair,
On Clover’s breast he softly lit,
And folded his bright wings there.
‘Dear flower,’ the butterfly whispered low,
‘Long hast thou waited for me;
Now I am come, and my grateful love
Shall brighten thy home for thee;
Thou hast loved and cared for me, when alone,
Hast watched o’er me long and well;
And now will I strive to show the thanks
The poor worm could not tell.
Sunbeam and breeze shall come to thee,
And the coolest dews that fall;
Whate’er a flower can wish is thine,
For thou art worthy all.
~Louisa May Alcott from “Clover-Blossom”
Can anything be as plain to the eye as one of a million clover blossoms?
Then you look up close.
There is nothing quite as lovely — each individual little bloom of the clover ball is a part of a greater whole.
Here is a place to tangle our toes and nestle our nose.
Here we roll over.
Here we find the sacredest sorrow and joy of our heart.
Here is a place to get lost and be found.
The darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.
- A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth
- Turns and twindles over the broth
- Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning,
- It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.
- Degged with dew, dappled with dew,
- Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
- Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
- And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.
- What would the world be, once bereft
- Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
- O let them be left, wildness and wet;
- Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins “Inversnaid”
- There is despair in the wilderness of untamed hearts.
Such wildness lies just beneath the surface;
it rounds and rounds, almost out of reach.
- How are we spared drowning in its pitchblack pool?
How can we thrill to the beauty rather than be sucked into the darkness?
- He came not to destroy the world’s wildness,
but to pull us, gasping,
from its unforgiving clutches as we sink in deep.As weeds surviving in the wilderness,
we must grow, flourish, and witness to a wild world bereft.
- O let us be left.
Let us be left.
Faith steals upon you like dew:
some days you wake and it is there.
And like dew, it gets burned off
in the rising sun of anxieties,
~Christian Wiman from My Bright Abyss
refreshed in the light of morning,
can evaporate in the dry stress of the day.
May I turn my face up
each night, asking to be washed
in the mist of God’s dew,
my anxiety settled like dust.
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
a spider’s web under the olive trees
splendidly hung with early drops, already
vanishing up the vortex of the air
…a heaven-sent refreshment? or a curtain
cutting out the light?
And I must ask it now
(small moisture that I am) under the sun of God’s great grace on me:
Which am I–dew, or fog?
~Luci Shaw from “…for you are a mist“
To be mere mist that clarifies
rather than opacifies,
that reflects new worlds
rather than absorbs,
that replenishes grace
rather than depletes~
at once evaporating heaven-ward within His warmth
while glistening from His descended touch.
And by and by Christopher Robin came to the end of things,
and he was silent,
and he sat there, looking out over the world,
just wishing it wouldn’t stop.
~A.A. Milne from The House at Pooh Corner
Yes, long shadows go out
from the bales; and yes, the soul
must part from the body:
what else could it do?
…These things happen … the soul’s bliss
and suffering are bound together
like the grasses …
The last, sweet exhalations
of timothy and vetch
go out with the song of the bird;
the ravaged field
grows wet with dew.
~Jane Kenyon from “Twilight: After Haying”
Bliss and suffering are bound together like the grasses; we are like the grasses withered and ravaged by time, released reluctant to the wind.
Tears flow today as they must, wetting the stubble left behind, clinging and sparkling like dew.
We weep in sorrow for those we have lost;
we weep for joy each time we’re able to wake to another day.
For what else can a soul do but weep at parting and weep at welcoming?
These things happen, oh yes, they happen. I just wish it wouldn’t cut us so.
Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
~Psalm 103: 15