Friday, January 02, 2015

Poetry Friday - One Little Word

I didn't post last week, since we went to Jacmel, in Southern Haiti, for a few days.  We had a beautiful and restful time.  This in-between time, in between years and semesters, is a great time to think back over the past year and the one to come, and I have been spending some time doing that.

Last year I chose the word "Garden" for my One Little Word.  (You can follow links in that post to the other OLWs I have chosen since I started doing this: "Look" in 2009, "Loved" in 2010, "Trust" in 2011, "Heal" in 2012, "Shalom" in 2013.)  I am very dissatisfied with how I did with 2014's word.  I wrote pitifully little last year in general, and hardly any on my chosen theme.  The long, grading-free hours of Christmas break often lead me to think unrealistic thoughts about how productive I'll be in the coming year in my own writing.  So much of my writing energy is focused on reading what my students produce.  I have to write more!  It's on the list of resolutions every single year.

My daughter gave me this book for Christmas, and I'm going to continue, while reading it, to pursue the "Garden" idea.  (I just love these beautiful little Everyman editions.)  Maybe I'll choose the same word again in 2016.

But in the meantime, 2015 will be a year of transition for our family.  The same daughter who gave me the book has been applying to colleges.  She's already been accepted into three and deferred at one (they'll look at her again in the spring).  One of the colleges she's looking at (Barnard) asked applicants to write an essay based on a quote from Anna Quindlen, who said that when she was a student there she "majored in unafraid."  When, the prompt asked, have you majored in unafraid?

I really need to major in unafraid this year, as I send my nearly grown-up baby away to another country.  So my word for 2015 is "Unafraid."

Here's a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins, a very old-fashioned poem about a very up-to-date issue in my life, and maybe yours too, Dear Reader.  The video just shows the beginning, used in the movie, "The Mortal Storm," in 1940.

God Knows
Minnie Louise Haskins

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

Miss Rumphius is hosting our roundup today.   Go take a look at what others have posted on this first Poetry Friday of 2015!


Tabatha said...

I especially like that last stanza. "Unafraid" is a worthy choice, Ruth! Wishing you all good things during this transition year.

Jessica Stock said...

I really like this poem. I didn't write enough last year either, and I am discouraged about it. I have been thinking of you and your family as so much transition lies ahead. Love to all!

Linda B said...

We are all impatient, aren't we? Your poem seems to tell us to be wise and waiting, the messages will come when needed. I wish you well with this year of change for your family, Ruth. It's not easy to say goodbye in any circumstances, but I did find those first "college goodbyes" a challenge. You'll love having an older daughter, too, as I have, but still... Happy New Year, & thanks for the lovely poem. Best wishes in the writing, too.

Tara said...

Linda is right, those college goodbyes are hard. Loved reading about your OLW - it sounds like just the word for 2015. Happy New Year, Ruth!

Mary Lee said...

I love the story that your OLWs tell. And I love it that even though we move on, they stay with us. (words and children?) Maybe GARDEN just needs more than one year to germinate!

Keri said...

What an incredible poem about moving forward in faith. There are many things and people blooming in your life -- no time is lost. You will redeem it in due season.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

I hope your OLW takes you to places that blossom in your heart, Ruth.

GatheringBooks said...

I needed this poem to calm my spirit today, dearest Ruth, and it did just that. Thank you. Best of luck to your daughter! I'm sure she will be in wherever she is meant to be. :)

jan godown annino said...

I think unafraid is a fantastic word.
I hope it has been a good one for you in 2015.
We sent our gal away to college (not as far, only FL to New England) so I
have a glimpse of the tug at your heart. (It worked out grand, for us all. She is
home this Christmas & having gotten away to fly her wings,
treasures home much more, even as she loves
her new home away from home.)

Christmas Cheer 2015 & a Vibrant New Year 2016 to you!