Greetings, Poetry Lovers, and Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for you.
It's been a week of wistful and sweet remembrances, showing up in unexpected moments during the retail hurry and flurry over here. My mother-in-law died in February, and her birthday was Sunday; a dear family friend died in July, and her birthday was Tuesday. And I've been thinking of Lee Bennett Hopkins so fondly and often; have you? Three months he's been gone, and I'm reminded of him so often.
I wanted to find a poem in honor of these, and others, who won't be around our Thanksgiving tables this year but whose spirits still guide and warm us, nudge us, make us notice some odd or delightful thing here or there.
I turned to my mother-in-law's college copy of THE ARBUTHNOT ANTHOLOGY of Children's Literature from the 1950s. I've mentioned it before, having borrowed it before, and my sister-in-law kindly saved it for me after Marge's death. On the inside cover is written in pencil, "Margie Pinson Black" in Marge's hand, and the price - just $7.00. I always remember Marge's saying, "That was my favorite class!"
Our friend Cheryl would have enjoyed all the stories and poems as well. Both of our kids were lucky to have her as their third grade teacher. Morgan has now taught third grade herself for several years, selected to represent her school in a leadership program this year at the county level, and Seth is off in seminary, blowing the grad school classroom curves as he did in college. [While Morgan practically learned to read while in diapers, Seth took his time and had to get over some second-grade frustrations; Cheryl worked her magic to help him become a confident student.]
Here's a poem by Grace Noll Howell ( 1877-1969) I think they and Lee would like. I wasn't familiar with the author, but here's an article about her from Baylor University in Texas, and Wikipedia has an entry. She was a much-loved inspirational and religious writer in the early 1900s, and was Poet Laureate of Texas for three years, beginning in 1936.
The Day Will Bring Some Lovely Thing
Grace Noll Crowell
"The day will bring some lovely thing,"
I say it over each new dawn:
"Some gay, adventurous thing to hold
Against my heart when it is gone."
And so I rise and go to meet
The day with wings upon my feet.
I come upon it unaware -
Some sudden beauty without name:
A snatch of song - a breath of pine -
A poem lit with golden flame;
High tangled bird notes - keenly thinned -
Like flying color on the wind.
No day has ever failed me quite -
Before the grayest day is done,
I come upon some misty bloom
Or a late line of crimson sun.
Each night I pause - remembering
Some gay, adventurous, lovely thing.
A couple of pages before that poem were a few lines from a short Langston Hughes poem, "Heaven." Lee loved Langston Hughes so, I'll share the whole poem, which I found after a little searching:
The place where
And birds sing---
To each stone,
Stone answers back,
"Well! And you?"
Here's to lovely things, and adventure, and conversing with stones, and to those we remember with full hearts.
For more poetic inspirations today, saunter over to savor the Roundup at Sloth Reads, hosted by the lovely and adventurous Rebecca!