Tag Archives: Reading

“The Wonderer” (Stanza 5 – You/Creation)

In the first four stanzas of “The Wonderer” Robert William Service wrote of

  1. “the moving marvel of my Hand”
  2. “the wonder of my Eyes”
  3. “the wonder of my Heart”
  4. “the wondrous wonder of my Brain”

Lest you and I  think we are any less marvelous than he, the beginning of the fifth stanza of the poem assures us otherwise.

But do not think, O patient friend,
Who reads these stanzas to the end,
That I myself would glorify. . . .
You’re just as wonderful as I,
And all Creation in our view
Is quite as marvelous as you.

The pastor in me immediately remembered the words of the psalmist:  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Ps 139:14a NRSV)  Not just me.  You, too, are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Nothing less than a marvel.

The rest of the fifth stanza – the way it is printed makes it look like it is not a new stanza – is an invitation to wonder.

Come, let us on the sea-shore stand
And wonder at a grain of sand;
And then into the meadow pass
And marvel at a blade of grass;
Or cast our vision high and far
And thrill with wonder at a star;
A host of stars — night’s holy tent
Huge-glittering with wonderment.

I searched through my digital photographs looking for sand and grass and stars.  I took time to marvel at the variety of unique flowers and wonder at the shapes of many individual leaves.  But flowers and leaves aren’t mentioned in this stanza of the poem.

I don’t take many landscape pictures.  Nevertheless I found a few photos that sort of reflect the fifth stanza of Service’s poem.  Hope you’ll take a moment to wonder or marvel or thrill – not so much at the pictures but of the memories you have of a sea-shore, a meadow, and the night sky.

img_2020

Beach, Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, Washington.  Photo: TLClark, 10/7/2018

grain of sand

Sand on Fingers and Rock, Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, Washington.  Photo: TLClark, 10/7/2018.

img_0373

Meadow, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois. Photo: TLClark, 6/29/2013

blade of grass

Blade of Grass after the rain.  Photo:  TLClark, 6/29/2013

img_2586.jpg

Epiphany Stars, Faith UCC, January, 2013

This is another in a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking here.  The first stanza is in my first post found here; the second is here, the third is here and the fourth is here.

Advertisements

“The Wonderer” (4th stanza: Brain)

dsc01148

This is the fourth of a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking hereThe first stanza is in my first post found here; the second is here and the third is here.

Now, the fourth stanza of the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert Service:

Then oh! but how can I explain
The wondrous wonder of my Brain?
That marvelous machine that brings
All consciousness of wonderings;
That lets me from myself leap out
And watch my body walk about;
It’s hopeless – all my words are vain
To tell the wonder of my Brain.

A few observations about how the brain operates.  There is the “Eureka!” sort of moment; a realization of discovery.  There is the “Wow!” of wonder, of being taken aback at how another is thinking.  There is the pondering, the imagining of what might be.

EUREKA!  As a brand spanking new Computer Programmer in the “real world” in 1987 I was amazed at how my brain worked.  Computer coursework in college had not taught me exactly what I needed to know.  But it had taught me how to think to learn what I did need to know for using particular programming languages in a specific computing environment.  I marveled at how my brain made connections.

WOW!  My oldest nephew was about 4 years old when I pulled out the book God’s Paintbrush by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso.  Upon hearing the title, B responded in a matter-of-fact tone, “It must be really big.”  It took me a moment to realize that God, who is pretty big to a preschooler, would have a really big paintbrush.

IMAGINE.  Ponder.  Contemplate.  Wonder.  About a creative endeavor.  About a career move.  About the words of a poem, the lyrics of a song, the phrases in a text.  About a relationship.  About God.

Holy God … assure us again that ear has not heard, nor eye seen, nor human imagination envisioned, what you have prepared for those you love you.   – From Book of Worship, United Church of Christ.

God has prepared things for those who love God that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being.  – 1 Corinthians 2:9b CEB

 

Language and Reading

dsc01180 (3)

I’ve started the new year with two works of fiction.  One was added to my “to read” list as soon as I heard the author was preparing to release her next book.  The other was a Christmas gift.

Both books are written in English.  Both have language that stretches me.

Tony Hillerman has long been one of my parent’s favorite authors.  But it’s my first time to read one of his books.  I started The Blessing Way as bedtime reading on Tuesday.

I have read every book in Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series – except the latest one – at least twice.  The Kingdom of the Blind went with me on Wednesday as waiting room reading.  Once started, I read it straight through, putting it down only to drive home, to prepare and eat supper, and to sleep.

Returning to the Hillerman book, I was struck by how I was challenged by the language.  The names of the native peoples, their names for places, and even some of the descriptions of the southwestern U.S. landscape are mostly foreign to me.  I have to concentrate to keep them straight.

Set in French speaking Canada, Penny’s books also include names of people and places which are mostly foreign to me.  Having done nothing with the French I took in college 34 years ago, decoding phrases written in French takes effort.  I have to concentrate.

Reading as an enjoyable pastime requires falling into the language.  Relaxing into the rhythm of words and phrases and sentences.  Being open to new vocabulary as well as new ideas.  Allowing the text to reveal a new or unfamiliar world.

What are you reading?  How is it challenging you to see more broadly or think more deeply?

So many books.  So little time.

 

Letter to Santa

DSC00891

Written after reviewing the Iowa Public Radio’s Children’s Holiday Book Guide (click here to see it)

Dear Santa,

Please? Just one? I’ll let you choose.
One for every child, of whatever chronological age.
A book.

For fun.
For hope.
For growth.

To promote reading.
To encourage diversity.
To increase understanding.

I wanted to ask for one of each for me.
But that seemed greedy.
And I really do want everyone to have at least one.

Please.
Without checking the naughty and nice list.
A book for every child, of whatever chronological age.

Thank-you.

Love,
T.

DSC00887