Kahlil Gibran |
Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving.
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?
There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Though the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.
You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving.
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
And you receivers - and you are all receivers - assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.
Claude McKay |
Into the furnace let me go alone;
Stay you without in terror of the heat.
I will go naked in--for thus ''tis sweet--
Into the weird depths of the hottest zone.
I will not quiver in the frailest bone,
You will not note a flicker of defeat;
My heart shall tremble not its fate to meet,
My mouth give utterance to any moan.
The yawning oven spits forth fiery spears;
Red aspish tongues shout wordlessly my name.
Desire destroys, consumes my mortal fears,
Transforming me into a shape of flame.
I will come out, back to your world of tears,
A stronger soul within a finer frame.
Walt Whitman |
A GREAT year and place;
A harsh, discordant, natal scream out-sounding, to touch the mother’s heart closer
I walk’d the shores of my Eastern Sea,
Heard over the waves the little voice,
Saw the divine infant, where she woke, mournfully wailing, amid the roar of cannon,
shouts, crash of falling buildings;
Was not so sick from the blood in the gutters running—nor from the single corpses,
those in heaps, nor those borne away in the tumbrils;
Was not so desperate at the battues of death—was not so shock’d at the repeated
fusillades of the guns.
Pale, silent, stern, what could I say to that long-accrued retribution?
Could I wish humanity different?
Could I wish the people made of wood and stone?
Or that there be no justice in destiny or time?
O Liberty! O mate for me!
Here too the blaze, the grape-shot and the axe, in reserve, to fetch them out in case of
Here too, though long represt, can never be destroy’d;
Here too could rise at last, murdering and extatic;
Here too demanding full arrears of vengeance.
Hence I sign this salute over the sea,
And I do not deny that terrible red birth and baptism,
But remember the little voice that I heard wailing—and wait with perfect trust, no
And from to-day, sad and cogent, I maintain the bequeath’d cause, as for all lands,
And I send these words to Paris with my love,
And I guess some chansonniers there will understand them,
For I guess there is latent music yet in France—floods of it;
O I hear already the bustle of instruments—they will soon be drowning all that would
O I think the east wind brings a triumphal and free march,
It reaches hither—it swells me to joyful madness,
I will run transpose it in words, to justify it,
I will yet sing a song for you, MA FEMME.
More great poems below...
Elizabeth Barrett Browning |
The face of all the world is changed, I think,
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul
Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole
Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink
Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink,
Was caught up into love, and taught the whole
Of life in a new rhythm.
The cup of dole
God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink,
And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee anear.
The names of country, heaven, are changed away
For where thou art or shalt be, there or here;
And this .
this lute and song .
(The singing angels know) are only dear
Because thy name moves right in what they say.
Julia Ward Howe |
women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace.
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Derek Walcott |
After that hot gospeller has levelled all but the churched sky,
I wrote the tale by tallow of a city's death by fire;
Under a candle's eye, that smoked in tears, I
Wanted to tell, in more than wax, of faiths that were snapped like wire.
All day I walked abroad among the rubbled tales,
Shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar;
Loud was the bird-rocked sky, and all the clouds were bales
Torn open by looting, and white, in spite of the fire.
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked, why
Should a man wax tears, when his wooden world fails?
In town, leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths;
To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath
Rebuilding a love I thought was dead as nails,
Blessing the death and the baptism by fire.
George Herbert |
As he that sees a dark and shady grove,
Stays not, but looks beyond it on the sky;
So when I view my sins, mine eyes remove
More backward still, and to that water fly,
Which is above the heav'ns, whose spring and rest
Is in my dear Redeemer's pierced side.
O blessed streams! either ye do prevent
And stop our sins from growing thick and wide,
Or else give tears to drown them, as they grow.
In you Redemption measures all my time,
And spreads the plaster equal to the crime;
You taught the book of life my name, that so
What ever future sins should me miscall,
Your first acquaintance might discredit all.
Isaac Watts |
Believers buried with Christ in baptism.
Do we not know that solemn word,
That we are buried with the Lord,
Baptized into his death, and then
Put off the body of our sin?
Our souls receive diviner breath,
Raised from corruption, guilt, and death;
So from the grave did Christ arise,
And lives to God above the skies.
No more let sin or Satan reign
Over our mortal flesh again;
The various lusts we served before
Shall have dominion now no more.
Isaac Watts |
Children devoted to God.
[For those who practise infant Baptism.
17:7,10; Acts 16:14,15,33.
Thus saith the mercy of the Lord,
"I'll be a God to thee;
I'll bless thy num'rous race, and they
Shall be a seed for me.
Abram believed the promised grace,
And gave his sons to God;
But water seals the blessing now,
That once was sealed with blood.
Thus Lydia sanctified her house,
When she received the word;
Thus the believing jailer gave
His household to the Lord.
Thus later saints, eternal King!
Thine ancient truth embrace;
To thee their infant offspring bring,
And humbly claim the grace.
George Herbert |
Since, Lord, to thee
A narrow way and little gate
Is all the passage, on my infancy
Thou didst lay hold, and antedate
My faith in me.
O let me still
Write thee great God, and me a child:
Let me be soft and supple to thy will,
Small to my self, to others mild,
Although by stealth
My flesh get on, yet let her sister
My soul bid nothing, but preserve her wealth:
The growth of flesh is but a blister;
Childhood is health.
Robert Herrick |
Charm me asleep, and melt me so
With thy delicious numbers;
That being ravish'd, hence I go
Away in easy slumbers.
Ease my sick head,
And make my bed,
Thou Power that canst sever
From me this ill;--
And quickly still,
Though thou not kill
Thou sweetly canst convert the same
From a consuming fire,
Into a gentle-licking flame,
And make it thus expire.
Then make me weep
My pains asleep,
And give me such reposes,
That I, poor I,
May think, thereby,
I live and die
Fall on me like a silent dew,
Or like those maiden showers,
Which, by the peep of day, do strew
A baptism o'er the flowers.
Melt, melt my pains
With thy soft strains;
That having ease me given,
With full delight,
I leave this light,
And take my flight
Isaac Watts |
28:19; Acts 2:38.
'Twas the commission of our Lord,
"Go teach the nations, and baptize:"
The nations have received the word
Since he ascended to the skies.
He sits upon th' eternal hills,
With grace and pardon in his hands;
And sends his cov'nant with the seals,
To bless the distant British lands.
"Repent, and be baptized," he saith,
For the remission of your sins:"
And thus our sense assists our faith,
And shows us what his gospel means.
Our souls he washes in his blood,
As water makes the body clean;
And the good Spirit from our God
Descends like purifying rain.
Thus we engage ourselves to thee,
And seal our cov'nant with the Lord;
O may the great eternal Three
In heav'n our solemn vows record!
Robert William Service |
It was foretold by sybils three
that in an air crash he would die.
"I'll fool their prophesy," said he;
"You won't get me to go on high.
Howe're the need for haste and speed,
I'll never, never, never fly.
It's true he traveled everywhere,
Afar and near, by land and sea,
Yet he would never go by air
And chance an evil destiny.
Always by ship or rail he went -
For him no sky-plane accident.
Then one day walking on the heath
He watched a pilot chap on high,
And chuckled as he stood beneath
That lad a-looping in the sky.
Feeling so safe and full of glee
Serenely he went home to tea.
With buttered toast he told his wife:
"My dear, you can't say I've been rash;
Three fortune tellers said my life
Would end up in an air-plane crash.
But see! I'm here so safe and sound:
By gad! I'll never leave the ground.
"For me no baptism of air;
It's in my bed I mean to die.
Behold yon crazy fool up there,
A-cutting capers in the sky.
His motor makes a devilish din .
Look! Look! He's gone into a spin.
"He's dashing downward - "Oh my God!" .
Alas! he never finished tea.
The motor ploughed the garden sod
And in the crash a corpse was he:
Proving that no man can frustrate
The merciless design of Fate.
Ben Jonson |
— TO OLDEND GATHERER.
Long-gathering OLDEND, I did fear thee wise,
When having pill'd a book which no man buys,
Thou wert content the author's name to lose ;
But when, in place, thou didst the patron's choose,
It was as if thou printed hadst an oath,
To give the world assurance thou wert both ;
And that, as puritans at baptism do,
Thou art the father, and the witness too.
For, but thyself, where, out of motley, 's he
Could save that line to dedicate to thee ?
Edgar Lee Masters |
I was the laughing-stock of the village,
Chiefly of the people of good sense, as they call themselves --
Also of the learned, like Rev.
Peet, who read Greek
The same as English.
For instead of talking free trade,
Or preaching some form of baptism;
Instead of believing in the efficacy
Of walking cracks -- picking up pins the right way,
Seeing the new moon over the right shoulder,
Or curing rheumatism with blue glass,
I asserted the sovereignty of my own soul.
Before Mary Baker G.
Eddy even got started
With what she called science
I had mastered the "Bhagavad Gita,"
And cured my soul, before Mary
Began to cure bodies with souls --
Peace to all worlds!