Saturday, March 30, 2013

A New Spin on Easter

We had such fun with our Dudley Spin-an-Egg apparati today.  While we also dyed solid color eggs in light pastels as well as rich brights (Sis's favorite), I had the most fun spinning eggs with multiple dyes; Bud did, too.  Besides being fun, the result was very similar to the eggs of my childhood--beautiful, richly-colored, marbled eggs made with the now defunct Ruby's egg dyes.  Bud said, "I'm an egg artist!"

Here are some of our spinner art eggs:







Easter Penguin!!

The Easter Penguin came!

And the kids were up early in anticipation.

The first thing they noticed--after the little Stitch figures and the two new Lonely Planet books--was how small the Easter Penguin's footprints were.  Now, they were the same size they always were.

But the kids are older and wiser.

So I said, "Maybe the Easter Penguin is a Fairy Blue!"

That was enough.  And makes sense, since he comes through our fairy door!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter Weekend!

Let the holiday weekend begin!

For those of you who celebrate "American" Easter (or Catholic Easter, vs. Russian Orthodox Easter), we wish you a wonderful weekend!

We spent today, at first, at doctors' appointments--for a rash Sis has and for some trouble with our cat Hermione (she's edgy and fighting a lot--so we got her a phermone diffuser!).  Then I had a wonderful visit with my hospice patient--she was awake and chatty and smiled a lot; best visit yet!  Then Mama took the kids and I to a new restaurant--Venezuelan beach food!  Batidos (like a lassi--kids had mango), chi cha (rice pudding-like drink, our favorite), mango iced tea, yucca fries, this yummy chimichurri-like guasacaca sauce, ceviche, plantains, black beans and rice, chili lime corn on the cob, arepas (a fried corn cake split in two and stuffed with different fillings--we had avocado and queso blanco, pernil/roasted pork, beef, ham and cheese, crispy honey chicken, chicken stew), empanadas (black bean and queso, "cheeseburger"), black bean soup, flan, arroz con leche, coconut tres leches, and tropical fruit salad.  We'd cleaned some--we have a new-to-us pie safe that involved some rearranging downstairs--and now we're watching episodes of the colonial history cartoon, "Liberty's Kids."

And the Easter Penguin comes tonight!

Saturday we'll dye eggs and have a big Easter lunch (recipes are below) with Ma and Gong (Goo is on rotation at the hospital) and then Sunday the four of us will hunt eggs the Easter Bunny hides inside and out.

But I imagine I will post again . . . .

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In the next 24-hours or so:


Bacon Cheese Bites


1/2 stick melted butter
1-5 oz. jar Kraft Old English Cheese Spread or any potted cheddar cheese (like Wis Pride)
1 can real bacon bits
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 package 6 English Muffins

Mix together first four ingredients. Split muffin and spread on mixture. Quarter each half. Freeze. When ready to serve broil 5 minutes.

Gommie Hungry

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Gommie's Deviled Eggs

4 hard-boiled eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon powdered dry mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 to 4 drops bottled liquid hot pepper sauce or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/8 teaspoon paprika
salt and white pepper to taste
pickles, onions (optional)

Cut eggs lengthwise and gently remove yolks. Mash yolks with a fork, but do not pack. Add mayonnaise, dry mustard, Worcestershire, pepper sauce, paprika, salt, and white pepper. Also, add finely chopped pickles and onions, if desirable. Garnish with paprika, pimiento strips, or sliced olives.

Gommie Hungry

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Pimiento Cheese
Makes 4 cups
Prep: 15 min.
11/2 cups mayonnaise
1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (Margie added a bit more)
1 tsp. finely grated onion (Margie added a bit more)
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (8-oz.) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 (8-o.z) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in cheeses. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Jalapeño Pimiento Cheese: Add 2 seeded and minced jalapeño peppers.

Cream Cheese-Olive Pimiento Cheese: Reduce mayonnaise to 3/4 cup. Stir together first 5 ingredients, 1 (8-oz.) package softened cream cheese, and 1 (53/4-oz.) jar sliced salad olives, drained. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Pecan Pimiento Cheese: Stir in 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted.
  
Rev. M

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Ham
Always ham for Easter and we’d pick off the chewy dark bits as soon as it was out of the oven. Very good the next day cut up into macaroni and cheese.
To make red eye gravy, merely boil ham drippings and add water.  Some people add coffee.

Bake uncovered at 325°F for 1 1/2-2 hours.
Mom

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Hasselback Potatoes
6              Medium Size Potatoes
2 - 3        Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
2              Tbsp Olive Oil
30           g Butter
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Directions
Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F). Put the potato on a chopping board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, at about 3 to 4 mm intervals.
Arrange the potatoes in a baking tray and insert the garlic in between the slits. Scatter some butter on top of each potato. Then drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes turn crispy and the flesh is soft.

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Sumi Salad

3-6 oz. packages shredded red cabbage, or 1/2 head of firm cabbage, chopped
1 package Ramen noodles, crushed while in package (save the seasoning packet)
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sesame oil
6 tablespoons rice vinegar, plain, not seasonred
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

In small pan, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.  Add sesame seeds and almonds.  Brown, stirring constantly.  don't let burn.  Set aside.  Chop scallion, using tops as well.  Combine crushed Ramen, scallion, and cabbage in a large bowl.  Mix together. In another bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, 1/2 cup of sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, seasoning packet, salt, and pepper.  Combine all, stirring well.  Store covered in refrigerator overnight.  Stir a few times during the day before serving.  (*I'm working on using less oil and substituting olive oil in this recipe).

Church cookbook
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Virginia Light Rolls

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
3 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into pieces
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons SAF yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, for brushing

Place all ingredients in bread machine pan according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions. Program for the DOUGH cycle; press START. The dough will be soft, but add no more than 2 to 3 extra tablespoons of flour as needed.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. When the machine beeps at the end of the cycle, press Stop and unplug the machine. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half, then roll each half into a 2-3" cylinder. With a dough scraper, cut the cylinder into 8 equal portions. Repeat with second cylinder, producing 16 portions total. Shape into desired shapes (I wonder if you can drop them into a greased muffin tin like my other recipe?). Brush some melted butter along the tops. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375F.

Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown. Remove rolls from pan and cool on a rack.

To make ahead of time: Shape rolls as directed above, but then bake in 300F oven for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely and then freeze (up to 3 weeks) or refrigerate (up to 3 days). To serve, defrost. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake 10-14 minutes, until golden brown.

Adapted from Beth Hensperger, The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

OR

Miss B's Dinner Rolls

1 1/4 cup water (less 1 tablespoon if you use liquid milk)
1 tablespoon skim milk powder (Miss B just uses milk)
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast

Combine ingredients in container of bread machine. Use on dough setting.

Remove dough from machine. Punch down. Roll into dough log and pinch into 12 balls. Place in greased muffin tin. Brush with melted butter. Cover with towel and set in warm place to rise 20-25 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 375F. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown (can partially bake, 7-11 minutes and then freeze and/or reheat/finish off later).

Miss B
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Cardamom Easter Braid

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom or 8 cardamom pods, crushed
2 3/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 1/4 cups golden raisins or chopped glaceed dried fruit
1 egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water for glaze
raw or decorating sugar, for sprinkling

Place the dough ingredients, except the raisins or fruit, in the pan according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions.  Program for the Dough cycle; press Start.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  When the machine beeps at the end of the cycle, press Stop and unplug the machine.  Immediately turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Pat into a fat rectangle and sprinkle with raisins or fruit.  Fold the dough over in thirds and knead gently to distribute evenly.  Cover with a clean tea towel and let rest on the work surface for 15 minutes to relax the dough.

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.  Using your palms, roll each section into a fat rope about 15 inches long and tapered at each end.  Be sure the ropes are of equal size and shape.  Place the 3 ropes parallel to each other and braid like you are braiding hair.  Adjust or press the braid to make it look even.  Transfer to the baking sheet.  Tuck the ends under, pinching the ends into tapered points.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is almost doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Twenty minutes before baking, set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 375F.

Beat the egg white and water for the glaze with a fork until foamy.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops fo the loaves with the egg glaze and sprinkle liberally with the sugar.  Bake for 40-45 mintues, or until the loaves are golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your finger.  Cool on the baking sheet on a rack.  Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

Beth Hensperger, The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

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Citrus Crown Cake
A great upside-down candied topping cake and DP’s favorite dessert, served every Easter (plus some!).

1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Lemon Supreme Cake Mix
1 jar (12 ounces) orange marmalade
2/3 cup flaked coconut
¼ cup butter, melted
all the ingredients to make the cake mix (eggs, oil, water)

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease generously and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Combine
marmalade, coconut and melted butter in small mixing bowl; pour into pan.
Prepare cake following package directions; pour batter over marmalade mixture.
Bake 50-55 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plate. Cool completely.
Tip: For best results, cut cake with a serrated knife; clean knife after each slice.

Great American Brand Name Baking

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Home on the Range

Milk-can supper.

I'd never heard of it until I opened this month's Cook's Country and read the essay about cowboys cooking their meat and potatoes in 10-gallon milk cans out on the trail ride.  It's like the Midwestern version of boiled New England dinner (also reminded me of Wisconsin fish boils in a way), but with brats instead of corned beef . . . plus beer!

And then later on the BBC, I read about how scholars now think 25% of American cowboys were African-Americans, most likely ex-slaves (just as so many cowboys were ex-soldiers, too, I believe.)

So, I had cowboys on the brain and decided to make milk-can supper, or as we called it tonight "cowboy dinner."  The kids loved the story and devoured the meal.  I can see making it with all manner of meat--chicken, pork chops--as long as you brown them first and layer them well, putting the longest-cooking items like the potatoes and carrots near the bottom and the meat towards the top.  Also, I used chicken stock instead of beer tonight, to make sure the kids would like it the first time.  And not brats--we used kielbasa. (And I ate my new favorite vegetarian "sausage" on the side, apple and sage by Field Roast available at Whole Foods--Bud likes it better than kielbasa.)

I think we should make this for Gommie and Pop when we are in Texas, but with some Texas beef sausage from Prasek's . . . and maybe, even though it'll be 100F, we should go to the George Ranch again!!

(I just asked Mama to look to see what the George Ranch had going on in July and she said, "It's got hot going on.")

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Milk-Can "Cowboy" Supper
adapted from Cook's Country

2 lbs. kielbasa, cut into big chunks about 1 1/2-2" long (we used 2 kinds, one more peppery than the other)
6 red potatoes, washed but unpeeled
1 small cabbage, cut into wedges and unstacked
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
1 onion, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 ears of corn (I put in 4 frozen ears and it worked wonderfully)
1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
10 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 green bell pepper, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the kielbasa in a little oil until browned all over (about 6-8 minutes on medium high.)  Remove from pot (I used a Dutch oven.)  Layer ingredients in pot in this order, bottom to top:  red potatoes, cabbage wedges (unstacked and all spread out flat), baby carrots, onion, garlic, and corn.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper; add bay leaves and thyme.  Distribute kielbasa on top and pour in chicken broth.  Bring to boil, cover, and simmer approximately 15-20 minutes.  Add green bell pepper on top and cook 15-20 minutes more until potatoes are tender (use long skewer to test doneness.)  Remove to serving platter and discard bay leaves and thyme.  Enjoy!


Isn't it Ironic?

I have lost the book I was reading . . . about cleaning house!

It was Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her House of Youth Entitlement  by Kay Wills Wyma.  It's certainly not my usual read, though I have been reading some self-improvement, parenting, non-fiction books in the last few years.

But I don't think I've ever read one that has a blurb from Focus on the Family on the cover.  Or that was written by a person who worked in the Bush White House.  A woman who decries the socialism of our current government and the entitlement of the welfare state, all while exploring why her youngsters don't pick up after themselves and she had let them get away with it.

Yeah, that's equivalent:  food stamps and unemployment vs. kids thinking it's their mom's job to clean the house.  Why do I think no kid in public housing would ever say that to his or her mom??

So, right away, my spine is up about the author's politics.  I just wanted to read why and how she went about encouraging older kids to be more pro-active in household chores.

And I'll admit, Republican Tea-Partyism aside (and I feel quite proud of myself that I can read a book from across the aisle, so to speak!), I liked her idea about the $30 jar.  Essentially, kids are giving a jar with 30-$1 (or 31 or 28) bills in it at the beginning of each month.  Everyday that they do their assigned clean-up in their rooms, they get to keep their dollar; however, in the event that they leave clothes, toothbrushes, toys out and about, they lose the dollar.

I have a pile of ones ready for April.

I was curious to see what she did the other months--each month was a new household chore like laundry, cooking, gardening, etc.  I wonder what 12 chores I'd want to train the kids in--opening cat food cans and scooping the litter box?  taking the recycling out?  dusting?  washing windows?  They already unload the silverware (they can't reach any of the dish or glass cabinets), "shark" the kitchen floor, and help with feeding the cats and with laundry.  With no remuneration because we firmly believe it's part of their responsibility as members of the family.  But we also realize that the time has come for a bit of an allowance, which they can earn.  We're also prepping them to take care of their own spaces as we get ready to put them in separate rooms this summer (which will involve moving about 1000 books, dressers, a bed, etc, and has repercussions across 2 floors and the basement.)

She also wrote about how, while she was taught responsibility and had chores (though, she admits not many because she had sports and studying, and, speaking of entitlement, she got a BMW for her Sweet 16), she hadn't required any of that of her four kids.  I'm particularly interested in this because I had no chores or responsibilities as a child:  I did not help with dishes, laundry, the yard, garbage, feeding the pets.  Nothing.  My mom had me mow a row of grass once but decided she didn't like how I did it and thought it would be easier to do herself.  I figure I got out of all the work that way.  Otherwise, I  kept my room impeccably clean because I liked it that way.  I did my homework and made As because that was my only job (but I'm not even sure how expected that was; I never really talked about grades with my parents, probably because I had good ones.  They certainly never inquired about much less looked at my homework.)  But I left for college never having handled money because I had no allowance (but had perfected begging and borrowing to buy whatever), never having done my own laundry, etc etc etc.  And when I had my own apartment, I scrubbed toilets and tubs for the first time, unsure how to do any of it.

My kids aren't going to be that lucky.  Though, in retrospect, I'm not sure that's what you call it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wick-ed

"If a thing is wick it has a life about it . . . ."

Sis and Bud are fixated on a new musical, The Secret Garden, which is based on the book and appeared on Broadway in the early 1990s.  Mama saw the original cast including Tony-winner Daisy Egan; I saw the national tour sometime afterwards in Houston.  We both loved it and enjoyed singing along then and after we got together.

We hadn't listened to it for awhile and I can't recall what got us started again.  I think Bud heard it one of the songs, "Winter's on the Wing," on Mama's iPod shuffle in the car on the way to kung fu one day.  Then on the way to and from various places over the weekend, we listened to the whole soundtrack, explaining the story as we went.  Mama and I loved hearing it again, especially the duet, "A Girl in a Valley," which is one of our favorite Broadway love songs.

They're hooked.  Bud's tried to play "Winter's on the Wing" on the piano.  They've changed their morning wake up music.  There are very few videos online, but Mama did show them the Tony performance complete with Mandy Patinkin et al.

And after days of singing about things waking up in gardens, of plants being wick, it's 49F outside and sunny . . . and, best of all, the snowstorm skipped us!

Turning Pink



In support of same-sex marriage being debated today and tomorrow in front of the Supreme Court.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Younger, Blonder Me


I have a new profile picture, after some 5 years!

Yes, that's me--about 3 years old and still blonde--in the requisite Texas wildflower pose at my grandparents' place ("Raucous") in Denton.  I include the full picture here.  Note the mighty flexible "w" position!  And the pond that was later drained and became a rose garden.  Hey, Sis, I'm wearing pink pants!  And a mighty butch navy pea coat (which I imagine my Bammie, who thought Gommie didn't dress me like a little girl, did not like.  She thought the pants--and overly sensitive Mr. Rogers--might affect me.  Little did she know she was right, but not because of clothes or tv!)  I like that I'm smelling the flowers!  A good reminder to the older, brunetter me.

My Family Goes On!

My uncle just discovered that we're distantly related to Celine Dion via a relative in 17th-century France (Ploujean, Bretagne to be exact)!

Getting Ready for Easter

With Easter this weekend, I've begun my planning and shopping.  Lindt is donating money to Autism Speaks, so I stalked up on chocolate bunnies.  And this morning, I went to the regular store to get the things that Whole Foods doesn't carry, like cheese spread, bacon bits, and lemon cake mix.  There will be more shopping, not only because I'm not done with Easter but because I'm taking a meal to the family of Sis and Bud's classmate with cancer this week (probably spaghetti pie with salad and banana pudding, also a pot of tortellini soup because they liked it last time).

Besides some of these recipes, I'm thinking of making:
What are you making?

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UPDATE:  We voted:  it's Hasselback potatoes, sumi salad, and both deviled eggs and pimiento cheese!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hospice Crib Sheet

I've mentioned that I've been singing and reading to my hospice patient.  Sometimes, though, I need a cheat sheet of lyrics and a better way to find verse on the fly.  And so here it is, so I can find it again and again--some of the songs and poems I think will work (well, I include "Death" by Donne, but I'm not sure I could read it.)  I haven't tried them all during my visits, but here they are.  For the next time and the time after that . . . . 


Love Me Tender

Love me tender,
Love me sweet,
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete,
And I love you so.

Love me tender,
Love me true,
All my dreams fulfilled.
For my darlin I love you,
And I always will.

Love me tender,
Love me long,
Take me to your heart.
For it's there that I belong,
And well never part.

Love me tender,
Love me dear,
Tell me you are mine.
Ill be yours through all the years,
Till the end of time.

(when at last my dreams come true
Darling this I know
Happiness will follow you
Everywhere you go).



Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

--John Newton, "Amazing Grace"



Think of Me

Think of me
think of me fondly,
when we've said
goodbye.
Remember me
once in a while -
please promise me
you'll try.


When you find
that, once
again, you long
to take your heart back
and be free -
if you
ever find
a moment,
spare a thought
for me ...

We never said
our love
was evergreen,
or as unchanging
as the sea -
but if
you can still
remember,
stop and think
of me ...

Think of all the things
we've shared and seen -
don't think about the things
which might have been ...

Think of me,
think of me waking,
silent and
resigned.

Imagine me,
trying too hard
to put you
from my mind.

Recall those days,
look back
on all those times,
think of the things
we'll never do -
there will
never be
a day, when
I won't think
of you ...



Memory

Daylight
See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses whither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day . . .

Midnight
Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

Memory           
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Every streetlamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters
And the streetlamp gutters
And soon it will be morning

Daylight
I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning

Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is

Look
A new day has begun




For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.




Simple Gifts

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 
  'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain'd, 
  To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight, 
  Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,

'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.[

The Earth is our mother and the fullness thereof,
Her streets, her slums, as well as stars above.
Salvation is here where we laugh, where we cry,
Where we seek and love, where we live and die.

When true liberty is found,
By fear and by hate we will no more be bound.
In love and in light we will find our new birth
And in peace and freedom, redeem the Earth.

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be fair,
'Tis a gift to wake and breathe the morning air.
And each day we walk on the path that we choose,
'Tis a gift we pray we never shall lose



Lord of the Dance
I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon & the Stars & the Sun
I came down from Heaven & I danced on Earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth:

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
(...lead you all in the Dance, said He!)

I danced for the scribe & the pharisee
But they would not dance & they wouldn't follow me
I danced for fishermen, for James & John
They came with me & the Dance went on:

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
(...lead you all in the Dance, said He!) 

I danced on the Sabbath & I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame!
They whipped & they stripped & they hung me high
And they left me there on a cross to die!

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
(...lead you all in the Dance, said He!) 

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body & they thought I'd gone
But I am the Dance & I still go on!

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
(...lead you all in the Dance, said He!)

They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the Life that'll never, never die!
I'll live in you if you'll live in Me -
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!


Ordinary Miracle

It's not that unusual
When everything is beautiful
It's just another ordinary miracle today

The sky knows when it's time to snow
Don't need to teach a seed to grow
It's just another ordinary miracle today

Life is like a gift they say
Wrapped up for you everyday
Open up and find a way
To give some of your own

Isn't it remarkable
Like every time a raindrop falls
It's just another ordinary miracle today

Birds in winter have their fling
Will always make it home by spring
It's just another ordinary miracle today

When you wake up everyday
Please don't throw your dreams away
Hold them close to your heart
'Cause we're all a part of the ordinary miracle

Ordinary miracle
Do you want to see a miracle?

It seems so exceptional
The things just work out after all
It's just another ordinary miracle today

Sun comes up and shines so bright
And disappears again at night
It's just another ordinary miracle today

It's just another ordinary miracle today



Cottonfields

When I was a little bitty baby
My mama would rock me in the cradle,
In them old cotton fields back home;
It was down in Louisiana,
Just about a mile from Texarkana,
In them old cotton fields back home.
Oh, when them cotton bolls get rotten
You can't pick very much cotton,
In them old cotton fields back home.



Summertime
Summertime,
And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky

But until that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

Summertime,
And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry


Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man of Mine

Fish got to swim, birds got to fly,
I got to love one man till I die.
Can't help lovin' dat man of mine.

Tell me he's lazy, tell me he's slow,
Tell me I'm crazy, (maybe I know).
Can't help lovin' dat man of mine.

Oh listen sister,
I love my mister man,
And I can't tell you' why
Dere ain't no reason
Why Ishould love dat man,
It mus' be sumpin dat de angels done plan.

Fish got to swim, birds got to fly,
I got to love one man till I die.
Can't help lovin' dat man of mine.
Tell me he's lazy, tell me he's slow,
Tell me I'm crazy, (maybe I know).
Can't help lovin' dat man of mine.

When he goes away,
Dat's a rainy day,
And when he comes back dat day is fine,
De sun will shine!
He kin come home as late as can be,
Home without him ain't no home to me,
Can't help lovin' dat man of mine.



Water is Wide

The water is wide
I can't cross over
And neither have
I wings to fly
Build me a boat
That can carry two
And both shall row
My love and I

There is a ship
And she sails the sea
She's loaded deep
As deep can be
But not so deep
As the love I'm in
I know not how
I sink or swim

Oh love is handsome
And love is fine
The sweetest flower
When first it's new
But love grows old
And waxes cold
And fades away
Like summer dew

Build me a boat
That can carry two
And both shall row
My love and I
And both shall row
My love and I



Morning Has Broken
Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlight from heaven.
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetnes of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning.
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning;
God's recreation of the new day.

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.


Now I Walk in Beauty
Now I walk in Beauty
Beauty is before me
Beauty is behind me
Above and below me.


 Be Like a Bird
Be like a bird, who, halting in her flight
On a limb too slight, feels it give way beneath her;
Yet sings, sings, knowing she has wings;
Yet sings, sings, knowing she has wings.


River of Birds in Migration
There’s a river of birds in migration
A nation of women with wings.


Come Come Whoever You Are
Come, Come whoever you are
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of learning
Ours is no caravan of despair
Come, come again, come.


 Come Sing a Song with Me
Come,sing a song with me; come,sing a song with me;
Come sing a song with me thatI might know your mind.
And I’ll bring you hope, when hope is hard to find;
And I’ll bring a song of love, and a rose in the wintertime.
Come share a rose with me; come share a rose with me;
Come share a rose with me, thatI might know your mind.
And I’ll bring you hope, when hope is hard to find;
And I’ll bring a song of love and a rose in the wintertime.



 Keep on Moving Forward
Gonna keep on walking forward
Keep on walking forward
Keep on walking forward
Never turning back
Never turning back

Gonna keep on walking proudly
Gonna keep on singing loudly
Gonna keep on loving boldly
Gonna reach across our borders
Gonna end the occupations
Gonna stop these wars together
Gonna keep on moving forward

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


Poems


She Walks in Beauty
by Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o'er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek and o'er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,—
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.


If
by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!


Sonnet 18
by William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


How Do I Love Thee?
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Ode on a Grecian Urn
by John Keats
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'


Death
by John Donne
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.


The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


The Summer Day
By Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


Wild Geese
 by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


Otherwise
By Jane Kenyon
I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.


Welcome Morning
~ Anne Sexton ~
There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.


We Grow Accustomed to the Dark
By Emily Dickinson
We grow accustomed to the Dark --
When light is put away --
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye --

A Moment -- We uncertain step
For newness of the night --
Then -- fit our Vision to the Dark --
And meet the Road -- erect --

And so of larger -- Darkness --
Those Evenings of the Brain --
When not a Moon disclose a sign --
Or Star -- come out -- within --

The Bravest -- grope a little --
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead --
But as they learn to see --

Either the Darkness alters --
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight --
And Life steps almost straight.


Courage
 By Anne Sexton
It is in the small things we see it.
The child's first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later,
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

Later,
if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

Later,
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.


THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS
By Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


Let Evening Come
By Jane Kenyon
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.


August Third
By May Sarton
These days
Lifting myself up
Like a heavy weight,
Old camel getting to her knees,
I think of my mother
And the inexhaustible flame
That kept her alive
Until she died.

She knew all about fatigue
And how one pushes it aside
For staking up the lilies
Early in the morning,
The way one pushes it aside
For a friend in need,
For a hungry cat.

Mother, be with me.
Today on your birthday
I am older than you were
When you died
Thirty-five years ago.
Thinking of you
The old camel gets to her knees,
Stands up,
Moves forward slowly
Into the new day.

If you taught me one thing
It was never to fail life.


The First Green of Spring
By David Budbill
Our walking in the swamp picking cowslip, marsh marigold,
this sweet first green of spring. Now sautéed in a pan melting
to a deeper green than ever they were alive, this green, this life,
harbinger of things to come. Now we sit at the table munching
on this message from the dawn which says we and the world
are alive again today, and this is the world's birthday. And
even though we know we are growing old, we are dying, we
will never be young again, we also know we're still right here
now, today, and, my oh my! don't these greens taste good.


For Strong Women
Marge Piercy
A strong woman is a woman who is straining
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing "Boris Godunov."
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.
A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why aren't you dead?
A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.
A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.


For Each of You
By Audre Lorde
Be who you are and will be
learn to cherish
that boisterous Black Angel that drives you
up one day and down another
protecting the place where your power rises
running like hot blood
from the same source
as you pain.

When you are hungry
learn to eat
whatever sustains you
until morning
but do not misled by details
simply because you live them.

Do not let you head deny
your hands
any memory of what passes through them
not your eyes
nor your heart
everything can be used
except what is wasteful
(you will need
to remember this when you are accused of destruction.)
Even when they are dangerous examine the heart of those machines you hate
before you discard them
and never mourn the lack of their power
lest you be condemned
to relieve them.
If you do not learn to hate
you will never be lonely
enough
to love easily
nor will you always be brave
although it does not grow any easier

Do not pretend to convenient beliefs
even when they are righteous
you will never be able to defend your city
while shouting.

Remember whatever pain you bring back
from your dreaming
but do not look for new gods
in the sea
nor in any part of a rainbow
Each time you love
love as deeply as if were
forever
only nothing is
eternal.

Speak proudly to your children
where ever you may find them
tell them
you are offspring of slaves
and your mother was
a princess
in darkness.


To Be of Use
By Marge Piercy
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.


Inaugural Poem
Maya Angelou
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no more hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.
The River sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.
Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.
Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.