Thursday, April 28, 2016

Great Poetry Reading Day

Today is GREAT POETRY READING day! I'm a big fan of good poetry so I think this is a wonderful day to celebrate. I'll give you some of my favorites...

These are a few in my girls library that we enjoy reading occasionally. One of my personal favorites is from Ghastlies, Goops, & Pincushions by X.J. Kennedy, 
A Giraffe's Laughs Last
When spied on in a zoo, Giraffe
Neglects his tree-leaf diet
To take a look at you and laugh - 
Your short neck! What a riot!

He grins and grins from ear to ear. 
If you've not yet departed,
In several days you'll get to hear 
The throaty laugh you started.
Isn't that a great one?

Another great one from A Child's Book of Poems by Victor Hugo,

One of my favorites since high school, that always made me cry, is The Panther by Rainer Maria Rilke,
His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

And then there are these gems,
The Valley of Vision is a collection of puritan prayers by Arthur Bennett. I have so many favorites that I cannot share them all, but here are pieces I have written down and scattered throughout my house,

Or these that I've shared on my blog before...

BUT one my all time favorite from this book is the very first one titled, The Valley of Vision (others include Love Lustres at Calvary, Deliverance, and Regeneration)
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where i live in the depths but see thee in the heights; 
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine; 
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty
thy glory in my valley.

A Gospel Primer is not a book of poetry, but Milton Vincent did write The Gospel Narrative: Prose Version, which I highly recommend reading and holding onto. It's a great one to end on...
Beholding the heavens, I now understand
God measured them all with the breadth of His hand.
He fashioned the trillions of stars in the sky,
The sun and the moon He established on high.
All heaven and earth, which He made in six days, 
Show daily and nightly His merit of praise.
So wondrously caring is God every day, 
Creating, sustaining my life every way.
Each breath I intake, every beat of my heart,
All pleasures well-tasted are His to impart.
Indeed, for such blessings He should be adored
And honored supremely as eminent Lord.
In fact, for this purpose He brought me to be, 
That I might His glory and kindliness see
And cherish Him fully in all of my days, 
Obeying with pleasure whatever he says, 
Fulfilling the calling He's laid upon me
To show forth His glory deliberately.
Yet I could not fail God much worse than I've done.
Ignoring His glory, for mine I have run.
I've spurned a life under His wisdom and care, 
Begrudged Him the throne and pretended me there.
A prideful and lust-laden path I have trod,
Transgressing all Ten great Commandments of God. 
My foolish rebellion gives God every right
To damn me with haste to the miserable plight
Of terrible judgments in His Lake of Fire,
Where wrath is most fierce and will never expire.
With wickedest sinners I truly should know
The worst of Hell's furies for failing God so.
So this is my status and these are my flaws
Apart from Christ Jesus and His saving cause: 
I carry sin's guilt and am gripped by sin's pow'r,
Held fast to its various lusts ev'ry hour,
Deserving of flames, both within and without,
And sliding t'ward Hell as I toss all about,
Too reprobate even to play a small part
In clearing my record or changing my heart
To pacify wrath and be worthy of grace,
To make myself lovely and win God's embrace.
Completely condemned by God's Law in its whole,
I've nothing to offer to ransom my soul.
But wonder of wonders, so great to behold,
My God chose to save me with method so bold.
What I could not render,
God fully has done, and doing, He rendered it all through His Son.
He sent Christ to die on the cross for my sin
To suffer my anguish, my pardon to win.
Amazing it is, when I stop to regard, 
That God would consent to an anguish so hard,
Surrend'ring His Son unto mayhem and death,
To torturous writhing 'til His final breath.
'Why does God forsake Me?' alone Jesus cried;
Yet God left Him hanging until He had died.
That Jesus was willing His life to lay down,
Be scourged and insulted and wear thorny crown
For one such as I who had spited God so,
Amazes and blesses and makes me to know
That greater a lover is no man than He, 
Who laid down His life for a sinner like me.
Now after Christ died
He was placed in a tomb,
Which first was a grave,
But then served as a womb,
Travailing and quaking the day He was raised
And brought forth by God to be handled and praised.
The Firstborn from death on that day emerged He
With power to save to the utmost degree.
At God's own right hand Christ now reigns from on high,
A Friend in high places to sinners who cry
To Him for forgiveness, their evils confessed.
He gives them a pardon and then makes them blessed.
As prince He is Savior to all who believe,
Who come to Him humbly His grace to receive.
Now when my time came and to Jesus I cried,
He gave me the pardon for which I had sighed,
He cleansed me completely from wrongs I had done, 
Released me from bondage to sins, every one.
He shattered sin's chains which had held me before, 
And thus made me free not to sin any more.
A child of the Father He made me to be
And gave me the Spirit as His guarantee
That, being God's child, I will one day obtain
A heavenly treasure that never will wane.
While in me, the Spirit gives power and love
And sweet premonitions of glory above.
In saving, God also did justify me,
Accounting me righteous by His own decree,
Declaring me guiltless of all of my sin,
And bringing His wrath against me to an end.
This wrath Christ appeased in full brunt on the Tree,
When, bearing my sin, He endured it for me.
So now God relates to me only with grace,
The former wrath banished without any trace!
And each day I'm made a bit more as I should,
His grace using all things to render me good.
Yes, even in trials God's grace abounds too
And does me the good He assigns it to do.
And when I am sinning God's grace does abound,
Ensuring my justified status is sound.
No wrath is awakened in God at my sin,
(to say so again).
God's heart pulses only with passionate grace, 
Which jealousy wants me back in His embrace.
God does not require even that I confess,
Before He desires His forgiveness to press.
Forgiveness has been in His heart all along; 
And when I approach Him to make right my wrong,
He runs up to greet me and draws to me near,
Embracing and kissing and ready to clear. 
God does see my sins and He grieves at them so,
For when I am sinning, His love I don't know. 
He even will send me some heart-rending pain,
So I'll learn new ways and His holiness gain.
His disciplines always are with love imbued,
A love that seeks ever my ultimate good.

So this is my story; ongoing it is.
How shall I thank God for this gospel of His?
A gift that keeps giving, the gospel confers 
The bounty of heaven each time I rehearse.
Deserve it?
I don't on my holiest day;
But this is salvation, and herein I'll stay.

I can't help myself when I see books of poetry - they are all over my house. They are fantastic books to pick up and read one if I have a few minutes to do so, but they are great books with which to decorate...

Poetry is great for so many reasons - they make me laugh, smile, cry and speak to my soul - it only makes sense that they become an integral addition to my decorating and my life!

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