A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.
Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.
Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finished: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end!
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.
Prayer of a Woman Walking Barefooted in the Sand
Oh Lord, please allow me, even for a lone moment,
To ponder the perfect rhythm of thy harmonious Creation.
Provide me, a poor barefooted woman,
With the key to unlock the mysterious secret of oneness
Hidden in everything and in every ordered movement.
In the depths of my own soul,
Where it meets with the one Universal Soul,
May I gratefully acknowledge
The obedient surrender of the sandy shore,
As each new bejeweled wave breaks,
Washing away all traces of yesterday's burdens.
The seashore vulnerably offers a lifetime of shoreline trophies obtained -
Bright shells, starfish, shiny little stones, polished pebbles and seahorses -
Obediently back to the boundless sea,
Dashed under the indelible impact of
Hurtling element molecules forming an unending
Wall of water...water...water...Water...WATER -
That transformed liquid essence of the furthest reaches
Of the feminine earth mother and the masculine sky father.
The youthful shore-bride unquestioningly surrenders
To her insatiable sea-groom's vigorous waves washing over her,
Submerging her, and breathlessly heaves a vast and sensuous sigh,
Whereupon, her sandy heart is thoroughly cleansed and thoroughly purified,
And subsequently is metamorphosed into a beautified manifestation
Of the timeless and infinite Eternal Now.
Oh, Lord, please allow me to observe the sweet symbiotic play of nature -
The splendid blazing red sunset hues, the seasonally violent weather,
The insistent circling shore birds, the agitated swooping seagulls,
The remarkable fish and other sea life;
To share, spellbound, a vision: the idea of perfect harmonious peace,
Which is wrought of acquiescence to the mystifying greater force
That shapes nature's destiny, and without which none of this would have any form.
Just as the good Lord speaks to us in this remarkable way,
Giving us tangible clues to our own means of rejoining with Him,
Similarly, allow this woman's admittedly foolish monkey-mind to always remember
The loyal unwearying humility of the devoted shore-bride to her groom,
And just as every moment another formidable white-headed wave breaking shoreward
Washes away the obsolete debris of her yesterdays past,
Please permit a polished illuminated reflection of purity
To shine upon this barefooted woman's weary soul.
Furthermore, oh Lord, allow me then to always be thankful
For thy abundant and generous Grace,
To awaken my mind to the blissful joy of total absorption in Thee,
And to ultimate Enlightenment.