Joy within.

This post ends my year-long skim through some lines in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poems. I discovered this poem, “The Shepherd,” pasted in the back of “The Friendship Birthday Book” that contained the Longfellow lines. This poem by Laurence Binyon was apparently special to the person recording birthdays in the little green book. The line that sticks out to me is “now he has joy within.” The shepherd was alone in the evening doing his work—and he experienced joy. Joy from within.

Silent presence.

Alfred Brendel was a renowned classical pianist. He’s also known to have said, “The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.” When I was navigating breast cancer treatment, the most precious gift was the gift of someone’s presence. Even silent presence can speak loudly.

Past and present.

Lines from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, A Gleam of Sunshine, come to mind as I cross on a walk-bridge in rural Kentucky:

“The past and present here unite

Beneath time’s flowing tide,

Like footprints hidden by a brook,

But seen on either side.”

A Gleam of Sunshine poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Amazing design.

Every year I am amazed that tiny seeds become yummy vegetables. The photo shows a carrot seed (under the first stitched “R”). Every day I am surrounded by awe-inspiring design in the world around me. Working in the garden reminds me to notice and appreciate these dependable and intricate designs.


“Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.”

“The Rainy Day” poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow fits the weather as I write. Clouds gather and rain is predicted. I believe I appreciate the sunny days more because of the overcast ones. Bring on the rain!

Peaceful night.

Not so sure I agree with this month’s quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. “The fountain of perpetual peace flows there” is from his poem, “Hymn to the Night.” So many people have trouble sleeping at night for a whole host of reasons. Sleeplessness is thankfully very rare for me. If my mind hasn’t quieted down at bedtime, the reader and writer in me acts. I read some light-hearted fiction or a spiritually comforting passage. And I keep a piece of paper and pen on my nightstand to document anything that pops into my mind—even if I wake during the night. It can sometimes be challenging to read what I wrote in the dark. But writing does get the thoughts out of my mind and into a physical medium. Just what I need to slip back to sleep.