November 18, 2009

Footsteps of Angels

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Let this delightful poem charm your day!
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--Description: 19th C, Longfellow H.W., Death, Life, Night--


When the hours of Day are numbered,
And the voices of the Night
Wake the better soul, that slumbered,
To a holy, calm delight;

Ere the evening lamps are lighted,
And, like phantoms grim and tall,
Shadows from the fitful firelight
Dance upon the parlor wall;

Then the forms of the departed
Enter at the open door;
The beloved, the true-hearted,
Come to visit me once more;

He, the young and strong, who cherished
Noble longings for the strife,
By the roadside fell and perished,
Weary with the march of life!

They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore,
Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more!

And with them the Being Beauteous,
Who unto my youth was given,
More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven.

With a slow and noiseless footstep
Comes that messenger divine,
Takes the vacant chair beside me,
Lays her gentle hand in mine.

And she sits and gazes at me
With those deep and tender eyes,
Like the stars, so still and saint-like,
Looking downward from the skies.

Uttered not, yet comprehended,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer,
Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,
Breathing from her lips of air.

Oh, though oft depressed and lonely,
All my fears are laid aside,
If I but remember only
Such as these have lived and died!


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

--Did You Know: (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) Longellow was an American educator and poet whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and "Evangeline". He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five Fireside Poets.Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, then part of Massachusetts, and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a former headquarters of George Washington. His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after sustaining burns from her dress catching fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882. Longfellow predominantly wrote lyric poems which are known for their musicality and which often presented stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and also had success overseas. He has been criticized, however, for imitating European styles and writing specifically for the masses.

--Word of the Day: desultory \DES-uhl-tor-ee\, adjective:
1. Jumping or passing from one thing or subject to another without order or rational connection; disconnected; aimless.
2. By the way; as a digression; not connected with the subject.
3. Coming disconnectedly or occurring haphazardly; random.
4. Disappointing in performance or progress.
Example:
The shadows on the perfect lawn were straight and angular; they were the shadows of an old man sitting in a deep wicker-chair near the low table on which the tea had been served, and of two younger men strolling to and fro, in desultory talk, in front of him.
-Henry James Jr., "The Portrait of a Lady", The Atlantic Monthly, November 1880

--Quote of the Day: Sameness is the mother of disgust, variety the cure.
-Francesco Petrarch


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--TRIVIA FUN: What was 11th-century Spanish military leader Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar better know as?

ANSWER TO YESTERDAY'S TRIVIA:
What European country does Aruba maintain the strongest ties to?
Answer: The Netherlands

...SEE TOMORROW'S POST for today's Answer...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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2 comments:

Marinela on November 18, 2009 at 8:40 AM said...

Beautiful poem, I enjoyed reading it :)

V. Mahfood on November 18, 2009 at 10:01 AM said...

It seems this poem must be a favorite of many today. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and glad to see you visiting again!

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