The Open Window
My tower was grimly builded,
With many a bolt and bar,
“And here,” I thought, “I will keep my life
From the bitter world afar.”
Dark and chill was the stony floor,
Where never a sunbeam lay,
And the mould crept up on the dreary wall,
With its ghost touch, day by day.
One morn, in my sullen musings,
A flutter and cry I heard;
And close at the rusty casement
There clung a frightened bird.
Then back I flung the shutter
That was never before undone,
And I kept till its wings were rested
The little weary one.
But in through the open window,
Which I had forgot to close,
There had burst a gush of sunshine
And a summer scent of rose.
For all the while I had burrowed
There in my dingy tower,
Lo! the birds had sung and the leaves had danced
From hour to sunny hour.
And such balm and warmth and beauty
Came drifting in since then,
That window still stands open
And shall never be shut again.
“Let Every Day Be Christmas”
by Norman Wesley Brooks
Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.
Peace on Earth, good will to men,
kind thoughts and words of cheer,
are things we should use often
and not just once a year.
Remember too the Christ-child, grew up to be a man;
to hide him in a cradle, is not our dear Lord’s plan.
So keep the Christmas spirit, share it with others far and near,
from week to week and month to month, throughout the entire year!
Waiting At The Window
by A.A. Milne
Waiting on the window-pane.
I am waiting here to see
Which the winning one will be.
Both of them have different names.
One is John and one is James.
All the best and all the worst
Comes from which of them is first.
James has just begun to ooze.
He’s the one I want to lose.
John is waiting to begin.
He’s the one I want to win.
James is going slowly on.
Something sort of sticks to John.
John is moving off at last.
James is going pretty fast.
John is rushing down the pane.
James is going slow again.
James has met a sort of smear.
John is getting very near.
Is he going fast enough?
(James has found a piece of fluff.)
John has quickly hurried by.
(James was talking to a fly.)
John is there, and John has won!
Look! I told you! Here’s the sun!
Let me go where’er I will
I hear a skyborn music still:
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young,
From all that’s fair, from all that’s foul,
Peals out a cheerful song.
It is not only in the rose,
It is not only in the bird,
Not only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,
But in the darkest, meanest things
There alway, alway something sings.
‘Tis not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cup of budding flowers,
Nor in the red-breast’s mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers.
But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘The Journey’, by Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
By Edgar A. Guest
Figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You’ve all that the greatest of men have had,
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes
And a brain to use if you would be wise.
With this equipment they all began,
So start for the top and say, “I can.”
Look them over, the wise and great
They take their food from a common plate,
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes.
The world considers them brave and smart,
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.
You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if you only will.
You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have legs and arms and a brain to use,
And the man who has risen great deeds to do
Began his life with no more than you.
You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place,
You must say where you want to go,
How much you will study the truth to know.
God has equipped you for life, but He
Lets you decide what you want to be.
Courage must come from the soul within,
The man must furnish the will to win.
So figure it out for yourself, my lad.
You were born with all that the great have had,
With your equipment they all began,
Get hold of yourself and say: “I can.”