Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness

Mary Oliver’s “Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness” — a poem of love for the world in the season of autumn leaves and shorter days — arrived this morning from Canadian David Kanigan’s blog.

Live & Learn

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was, is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but what
else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

~ Mary Oliver, “Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness” in A Thousand Mornings 

Notes: Poem source – Thank you Karl @ Mindfulbalance. Photo via afaerytalelife

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Verse for a bad day

cold rain

constant drizzle
just above freezing
gray day stay inside
drive with friends
snow at least
would have been white

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, Jan. 3, 2015 – published Jan. 4.

Steve Shoemaker in his favorite chair with Blazer, his collie by his side, his iPhone, book, and newspaper. Kite soaring outside the window

Steve Shoemaker in his favorite chair with Blazer, his collie by his side, his iPhone, book, and newspaper. Kite soaring outside the window


Picture of Steve in his favorite chair with book, iPhone, newspaper, collie Blazer, and blue kite taken this morning by Kay Stewart in the Shoemaker home in Urbana. Later we did have snow.


Poem #76 – The Prairie

The prairie at night is dotted with light
Of farms where people live and love,
Fight and hate, and celebrate.

Now and again the lights congregate
Like happy peasant women
Singing their songs, dancing their dances.
And I am not so alone.

– Dale Hartwig (1940-2012), looking out the window from his room at the Care Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Parkinson’s Disease had left him alone.

Verse – First World Problems

My basement desk is extra large
because my grandfather who gave
it to me was a builder who
rolled out blueprints for many huge
commercial projects on it. Save
for one lamp, it is now piled high.

My double garage had a space
for the riding mower, but it
is now in the new backyard shed.
The room around the hybrid cars
now holds all of the tools that fit
on walls and shelves and floor instead.

Our Storage Unit’s deep and wide.
We can’t remember what’s inside.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, Feb. 14, 2014

Old Salem Cemetery

Old Salem Cemetary

Old Salem Cemetery

The square marble white stones
lie flat in straight rows
in God’s acre: unity,
liberty, and love.

No gaudy spire
of a wealthy patriarch;
no spreading plot of a family
blessed with many offspring.

The bachelor, the single woman,
the infant, the child–each in a choir
that someday will rise up and sing
along with the married folks.

The brass bands gather
and play across the rolling grounds
each Easter morning: trumpet,
trombone, euphonium…harmony.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, Feb. 9, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nestlé wants to sell more chips,
so the Tollhouse recipe
calls for two times more chocolate
than tastes best–just try and see!

From the yellow packages,
I eat handfuls semi-sweet,
but in cookie dough, like life,
moderation makes the treat.

I love butter on fresh bread,
pancakes, toast and potatoes,
but in cookies, half will do:
half Crisco with sugar goes.

Half brown sugar and half white,
integration tastes just right!
Use real vanilla, not the fake–
you’ll be proud of what you bake!

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL.

Let’s have an other child!

an acrostic for a former gymnast

Lindsay Shoemaker with Owen

Lindsay Shoemaker with Owen

Only Lindsay, brand new Mom,
While still in the Labor room,
Exclaimed “That was not so wild,
Now let’s have another child!”

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, January 27, 2014

NOTE: Four month old Owen, with mom, Lindsay Ramsey Shoemaker, spouse of Christopher Shoemaker, Steve’s nephew.

Verse – The Pulley (for George Herbert)

tree house pulley

tree house pulley

This pulley was hung upside down
on a strong cable in a tree
above a treehouse we boys made
from lumber left around the ground
of our new house. We tried to see
if we could hold the hook and slide
way down the cable to the stake
that we had driven in the grass.

We finally just tied a rope
to the pulley’s long steel hook
that hurt our young and weary hands.
We fell to hell, but screamed with hope

– Steve Shoemaker, November 30, 2013

Poem on working with Autistic Gabriel

Poem by Sebastian Moore OSB, Downside Abbey, England

Poem by Sebastian Moore OSB, Downside Abbey, England

Dom Sebastian Moore OSB, a Benedictine Monk at Downside Abbey, England, was featured yesterday on Views from the Edge. The poem in the form it appears here was featured in an Archbishop’s e-newsletter. In his later years Sebastian Moore has come to express himself increasingly in poetry. This one is from his book The Contagion of Jesus: Doing Theology as if It Mattered, Orbis Books, 2007.


apology letterThe above letter appeared publicly online today, Saturday, May 25 2013.

Usually our sins are less egregious and are such that we never do anything to make right our wrong. Which is what prompts this post.

Apologies to my friend Steve, the author of the poem in the Views from the Edge’s most recent post (“Beyond Fundamentalism”) for misprinting the title of his poem. Strange how our eyes are conditioned to see what we expect to read. Knowing Steve’s background, I didn’t expect to see the word ‘conversion’, so my eyes read it as ‘conversATion’. Here it is again under the correct title. And, Steve, this is the last I want to hear about this! 🙂 What are friends for if not to forgive by the wider, deeper, more than fact truth that knocked the Apostle Paul off his horse?


Four years Wheaton College tried
to make a fundamentalist
Christianity the first
and last thought on my searching mind.
Then a liberal McCormick
Dean Filson took a chance on me–
I learned Bible truth could be
much wider, deeper, than mere fact:
changing this world was our call!
From civil rights to stopping war,
social justice cried for more
of faithful love, that holy force
learned by the Apostle Paul
when Jesus knocked him off his horse.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, May 25, 2013