Tag Archives: Poetry

“Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation.” Or world.

A mistake etched in stone.

This is etched on a wall at the Scottish Parliament. It is often misattributed to a Scottish writer and artist named Alasdair Gray. Gray credits Dennis Lee, a Canadian poet. A paraphrase of this quote — “Work as if you live in the early days of a better world.” — is on a mural in a subway station in Glasgow.



Like Joyce Kilmer & many others, I too like trees

Hanging out around trees is good for you. That’s what a recent study discovered.

I’m not sure why we are spending money on such research. There’s more pressing problems, in my opinion, like cancer and homelessness and poverty. But, then again, few, if any, listen to me.

Joyce Kilmer was a writer who gained prominence by serving, and dying, as a soldier during the First World War. Sadly, my great-grandmother’s younger brother faced the same fate, minus the fame.

No one knows much about my great-great uncle, even in our family, though I have been working to correct this. I plan on writing a book about his life, particularly his experiences during the war.

They died on the same day: July 30, 1918. Kilmer was 31. My great-great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, was 22, three weeks shy of his 23rd birthday. He had been gravely wounded by German machine gun fire four days prior.

When I mentioned some of these details to Grandma, she recalled having read his poem Trees while in school.

I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.


Ain’t it cool to see a haiku & art on the front page of a newspaper?


The Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia has inspired a few folks to write some haikus. One was featured on the front page of the Tuesday paper.

Petalfalls of pink
Cascading to verdant soil
Spring’s joy and beauty
— Carlene Jennings

I have written many, long since lost. In grade school one teacher had us writing verse all the time, including the haiku. I enjoyed it and still do.


Blessed Are The Dead

Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord

Hear what the voice from Heaven proclaims
For all the pious dead.
Great is the savour of their names
And soft their sleeping-Bed
They die in Jesus and are Blessed
How kind their slumbers are
From suffring’s and from sins released
And freed from every share.
For from this world of toil and strife
They’re present with the Lord
The labours of their pious life
End in a large reward.

— from the gravestone of my great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents

‘Tonight I Fear Not’

I discovered a poem the other day, an Irish one. I’m usually not one for poetry, but I do enjoy such old school writings. With both Irish and Viking blood flowing in my veins, it is very apropos.

It was handwritten in Gaelic, on the top of an old manuscript.

Is acher ingáith innocht
fufuasna faircggae findḟolt
ni ágor réimm mora minn
dondláechraid lainn oua lothlind


It translates into modern English, with the title TONIGHT I FEAR NOT THE VIKINGS, as:

Bitter is the wind tonight
It tosses the ocean’s white hair
Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway
Coursing on the Irish sea



They Journeyed Boldly

I’ve been sorting, going through a pile of magazines, my stack of stuff. One was a March 2014 copy of Smithsonian magazine. I came across an article on Vikings, which included the following poem.

They journeyed boldly;
Went far for gold,
Fed the eagle
Out in the east,
And died in the south
In Saracenland
— Gripsholm Rune-Stone (c. 1050)

I think it’s out if copyright now, so I’m reposting it here.