We were in the city today, so I’m very late posting this. Bob and I attended our monthly Christian writers get-together and one of the subjects we touched on was book reviews. How some reviewers go the extra mile to really slam a book. Which fits in with today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt: WORDS

Writers – especially poets – will deliberate for hours on which is the best word to describe what they want to convey. Thus was the thesaurus born.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the prompt was that old BeeGees’ song, “It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away.” Words can win a heart, and words can break a heart.

words enlighten – and confuse
words conceal – and reveal
words compliment – and censure
words can inspire – and shatter

Concerned, you ask a family member or friend, “How are you doing?”
“I’m okay.”

“I’m getting by.”

Evasive words. Avoiding the elephant in the room – because the elephant, if examined closely, may jab you with a painful tusk.

The Bible talks about words and speech. In Proverbs 31 Solomon describes a virtuous woman, one of her qualities being “in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
The same would be true of a good man: kindness is their guiding light. Even when repeating the truth, careful not to censure, ready to give the benefit of the doubt. Discreetly silent about things that need not be revealed. Not blind but not blabbing.

Some people rather make honesty their rule of life. “I don’t mince words. I tell it just like I see it. If you don’t like it, that’s your problem.” However, honesty tends to come mixed with the grit of opinion and feeling. Sorting the golden truth from all the sand is almost impossible for us mortals.

Jesus warns his hearers about name-calling. In Matthew 5:22 He tells the crowd, “…whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” A serious thought!
The Apostle Peter comes in on the up-side. “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”
To me that means, “Show respect to all people — even when critiquing their attitudes or behaviour.”

Fifteen Delights

Happy May 1st everyone!

I wrote in yesterday’s post that I was going to follow the example of Writing from the heart with Brian and list the many things I enjoy. I hesitate to use the word love. Years ago I heard about a young woman who was enthusing about loving some thing when an elderly lady encouraged her to “Love something that can love you back.” That thought has stuck with me.

So here are fifteen outdoor things that are a delight to my heart. If you are an avid fan of nature like me, many of these things will delight you, too. 🙂


– The first dandelions brightening the lawn, heralding spring. (But only the first!)

– Hearing the winnowing of a nighthawk when on an evening walk

– A wren in a nearby tree singing his merry song over and over

– The gentle coo coo of a mourning dove in the morning as it bobs along picking at seeds

“For, lo, the winter is past…the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle(dove) is heard in our land…” Eccl 2:11-12

– Seeing rhubarb nubs coming up and remembering Jane Kenyon’s “rhubarb leaf, like a mad red brain, thinks its way up through loam.”

– Seeing wrens moving into the birdhouses I’ve set up for them

such a wee bird
sir wren – yet how fiercely
you scold that cat

– Discovering a toad in my flowerbed. I actually like the little guys and I know they’re helpful.

embarrassed by light
they wait for darkness
good works in secret

– The setting sun tinting the clouds pin and mauve

– Colorful butterflies flitting around, lighting on blooms and folding their wings.

– The satiny softness of tulip petals

– Hummingbirds zipping around our feeders

– Humming bird moths nectaring among the flowers at night

— Seeing the birds taking baths in the water basins I’ve set out for them

– Vees of Canada geese winging their way northwards

– When the Youth group sings for the seniors at the Villa on summer evenings, with the windows open, hearing the robins singing along
(Some may say this is pure coincidence, but when the youth – who sing acappella – blend their voices in a hymn, the nearby robins do seem to join in, full voice.)

The Ever-Present Hills

Above the mists
we straggle through
with dark visions
of dread and doom
high above us still
the ever-present
ever-watchful hills
lift up your eyes
from whence comes
your help
your solid  Rock.
look above these
worries and woes
the eye of faith
will see the shadow
of His sheltering hand.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Psalm 121:1-3

Try Again

I read somewhere about a type of poem that increases, then decreased, by one syllable. Does anyone know what it’s called? Anyway, I worked on two of these yesterday. Here’s one of my attempts:

once more
don’t give up
try one more time.
Be brave! Go for it;
it’s worth the effort, right?
If you have a worthwhile goal
you believe you should reach,
keep working at it.
You will make it
just give it
a fresh

Image: Homecare 119 –Pixabay

A Family of Bards

Since it’s International Poetry Month, as well as posting new poems I want to mention some beloved poems of long ago. My Mom F (nee Vance, actually my birth father’s sister who raised me) loved saga-type poems and songs. She told me Grandma & Grandpa Vance also loved poems and could recite long ones. Uncle Steve and Uncle Charley were our family storytellers, but I suspect this love of story and verse goes way back in our Vance clan.

Great Grandma Vance may have picked up this skill too, though she probably never went to school. She couldn’t write her name on the land title to her farm, but signed with an X. However, poems and sagas were learned and recited long before people could read and write.

Five years ago I received a gift copy of Best Loved Poems of the American People © 1936 by Doubleday & Company) where I’ve discovered many well known verses from my childhood. Written in metered rhyming lines these verses were easy to memorize and teachers back then believed memorizing was a good way to exercise the mind.

How many can you remember?
– “For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat…
– “That moss-covered bucket I hailed as a treasure…”
– “If you’re ever going to love me, do it now, while I can know…”
– “Abou Ben Adam (may his tribe increase!)…”
– “The Sabbath day was ending in a village by the sea…”
– “The boy stood on the burning deck…”
— “But a dastard in love, and a coward in war, was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar…”
– “Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie…”

Finding A Poem

Seeing it’s National Poetry Month, I’ll try my hand at some different forms this month. This one is a CENTO.

Robert Lee Brewer, in his list of various poetic forms, writes: “The cento…is a form of found poetry that is entirely composed of lines and phrases from previously written poems.”

I feel like I’m the AI here: taking snatches of already-done to create something new. Probably Oh, well…good exercise.

I’ve drawn from these poems to create my CENTO:
She Walks in Beauty by George Gordon Byron
My Mother’s Garden by Alice E Allen
Let Me Grow Lovely Growing Old by Karle Wilson Baker

In Beauty, Growing Old

She walks in beauty, growing old –
so many old things do –
a garden old-fashioned, quaint
laces and ivory, forget-me-nots,
to full perfection brought.

Old streets a glamor hold,
we know as we pass by,
mellowed to that tender light
which heaven to day denies

Pansies bloom in tender thought
that softly lightens her face.
Love’s roses blossom, grow lovely
growing old, in goodness spent.

Songbirds always singing,
how dear their dwelling place
and from it floats forever,
the smiles that win, the tints that glow
a mind at peace with all below,
the fragrance of her life.