Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life
~ attributed to St. Francis of Assisi
Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,
the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back
from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere
except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle
of unobservable mysteries — roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This
I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn
flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay — how everything lives, shifting
from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.
From Mary Oliver, American Primitive (1984), which won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry
Especially when the October wind
With frosty fingers punishes my hair,
Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire
And cast a shadow crab upon the land,
By the sea’s side, hearing the noise of birds,
Hearing the raven cough in winter sticks,
My busy heart who shudders as she talks
Sheds the syllabic blood and drains her words.
O hushed October morning mild,
Announcing Autumn on my porch,Duranta berries are reminders of the beauty and importance of small things. Birds love these berries, so I welcome cardinals and mockingbirds as morning visitors. Their thank you notes trill as they perch on my kitchen windowsill. I enjoyed the plant’s summer blooms, but the small berries they left are an enchanting reminder of joy we find when we watch for life as it is made up of moments.
I think of [my life] in all its small component parts: the snowdrops, the daffodils; the feeling of one of my kids sitting close beside me on the couch; the way my husband looks when he reads with the lamp behind him; fettuccine Alfredo; fudge; Gone with the Wind, Pride and Prejudice. Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement.
~ Anna Quindlen, in A Short Guide to a Happy Life