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From Harlem Shadows (1922)

America Although she feeds me bread of bitterness, And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth, Stealing my breath of life, I will confess I love this cultured hell that tests my youth! Her vigor flows like tides into my blood, Giving me strength erect against her hate. Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood. Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state, I stand within her walls with not a shred Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer. Darkly I gaze into the days ahead, And see her might and granite wonders there, Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand, Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand. Wild May

Memory can tell us only what we were,
In company with those we loved;
It cannot help us find out what each of us,
Alone, must now become.
Yet, no person is really alone;
Those who live no more still echo
Within our thoughts and words,
And what they did has become
Woven into what we are.

I particularly suggest that you listen to one volume a day, and on the tenth day, seek out your Otolaryngologist to see if your eardrums are in good condition.

I
If I should never see the moon again
If I should never see the moon again
Rising red gold across the harvest field
Or feel the stinging soft rain
As the brown earth her treasures yield.
If I should never taste the salt sea spray
As the ship beats her course across the breeze.
Or smell the dog-rose and new-mown hay,
or moss or primroses beneath the tree.
If I should never hear the thrushes wake
Long before the sunrise in the glimmering dawn.
Or watch the huge Atlantic rollers break
Against the rugged cliffs in baffling scorn.
If I have to say good bye to stream and wood,
To wide ocean and the green clad hill,
I know that he, who made this world so good
Has somewhere made a heaven better still.
This bears witness with my latest breath
Knowing the love of God,
I fear no death.
Major Malcolm Boyd, killed in action in France, June 1944
 
If roses grow in heaven
If roses grow in heaven,
Lord pleae pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Mother’s arms
and tell her they’re from her I love her and miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
but there’s an ache within my heart
that will never go away.
Anonymous
 
I must down to the seas again, the lonely sea and the sky
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
John Masefield, Poet Laureate (1878 – 1967)
 
If only
If only we could see the splendour of the land
To which our loved ones are called from you and me
We’d understand
If only we could hear the welcome they receive
From old familiar voices all so dear
We would not grieve
If only we could know the reason why they went
We’d smile and wipe away the tears that flow
And wait content.
Anonymous
 
I felt an angel
I felt an angel near today, though one I could not see
I felt an angel oh so close, sent to comfort me
I felt an angel’s kiss, soft upon my cheek
And oh, without a single word of caring did it speak
I felt an angel’s loving touch, soft upon my heart
And with that touch, I felt the pain and hurt within depart
I felt an angel’s tepid tears, fall softly next to mine
And knew that as those tears did dry a new day would be mine
I felt an angel’s silken wings enfold me with pure love
And felt a strength within me grow, a strength sent from above
I felt an angel oh so close, though one I could not see
I felt an angel near today, sent to comfort me.
Anonymous
 
If I should die
If I should die and leave you
Be not like the others, quick undone
Who keep long vigils by the silent
dust and my sake turn to life and smile
Nerving thy heart and trembling
hand to comfort weaker souls than thee.
Complete these unfinished tasks of mine
And I perchance may therein comfort thee.
Thomas Gray, poet, classical scholar and Cambridge don (1716 – 1771)
I thank thee God, that I have lived
I thank thee God, that I have lived
In this great world and known its many joys:
The songs of birds, the strongest sweet scent of hay,
And cooling breezes in the secret dusk;
The flaming sunsets at the close of day,
Hills and the lovely, heather-covered moors;
Music at night, and the moonlight on the sea,
The beat of waves upon the rocky shore
And wild white spray, flung high in ecstasy;
The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books,
The love of Kin and fellowship of friends
And all that makes life dear and thank Thee too, that there has come to me
A little sorrow and sometimes defeat,
A little heartache and the loneliness
That comes with parting and the words ‘Good-bye’;
Dawn breaking after weary hours of pain,
When I discovered that night’s gloom must yield
And morning light break through to me again.
Because of these and other blessings poured
Unasked upon my wondering head,
Because I know that there is yet to come
An even richer and more glorious life,
And most of all, because Thine only Son
Once sacrificed life’s loveliness for me,
I thank Thee, God, that I have lived.
Elizabeth Craven, writer and socialite (1750 – 1828)
 
In the garden
I come to the garden alone, While the dew
is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
the Son of God He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
And He walks with me, and He talks to me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Tho the night around me be falling;
But He bid me go, thru the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling
And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
C Austin Miles, American writer and worship leader (1868 – 1956)
 
If
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 your 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 imposters 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 breath 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!
Rudyard Kipling, author and poet (1865 – 1936)
 
I’ll lend you a child
“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of Mine.” He said.
“For you to love the while he lives
And mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years
Or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for Me?”
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you,
And should his stay be brief
You’ll have his lovely memories
As solace for your grief.
“”I cannot promise he will stay
Since all from Earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over
In my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Not think the labour vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call
And take him back again.
“I fancied that I heard them say,
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done,
For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness,
We’ll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known,
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him
Much sooner than we planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.”
Edgar Guest, newspaperman and prolific Anglo American poet (1881 – 1959)
 
In memoriam . (Part XXVII)
I envy not in any moods,
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:
I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weed of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate (1809 – 1892)
 
I fall asleep
I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
That my slumber shall not be broken;
And that though I be all-forgetting,
Yet shall I not be forgotten,
But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds
of those I loved.
Samuel Butler, iconoclastic Victorian author (1835 – 1902)
 
If I should go tomorrow
If I should go tomorrow
It would never be goodbye,
For I have left my heart with you,
So don’t you ever cry.
The love that’s deep within me,
Shall reach you from the stars,
You’ll feel it from the heavens,
And it will heal the scars.
Anon


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