1) STEP BY STEP
2) the Cliff
3) Don't Eat On Them Apples, Man by Gerry Sutter
4) Could You Afford It?
5) "on his cat Jeoffry" by Christopher Smart
6) Two Olive Trees by Carlene Appleby
7) Peek-a-boo by Gerry Sutter
8) Forgiving by Taijia and Adrienne
As thou goest, step by step I will open the way before thee.
(Proverbs 4:12, New Translation)
Child of My love, fear not the unknown morrow,
Dread not the new demand life makes of thee;
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow,
Since what thou knowest not is known to Me.
Thou canst not see today the hidden meaning of My Command,
but thou the light shalt gain; Walk on in faith,
upon My promise leaning, And as thou goest,
all shall be made plain.
One step thou seest then go forward boldly,
One step is far enough for faith to see;
Take that, and thy next duty shall be told thee,
For step by step thy Lord is leading thee.
Stand not in fear, thine adversaries counting,
Dare every peril, save to disobey;
Thou shalt march on, all obstacles surmounting,
For I, the Strong, will open up the way.
Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned thee,
Having My promise, needing nothing more
Than just to know, whereer the future find thee,
In all thy journeying I go before.
Frank J. Exley
'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
The people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally.
Some said, "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."
The lament of the crowd was profound and was loud,
As their hearts overflowed with their pity;
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day
As it spread through the neighboring city.
A collection was made to accumulate aid,
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave dollars and cents -not to furnish a fence-
But an ambulance down in the valley.
"For the cliff is alright if you're careful," they said;
"And if folks ever slip and are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below -when they're stopping."
So for years (we have heard), as these mishaps occurred
Quick forth would the rescuers sally,
To pick up the victims who fell from the cliff
With the ambulance down in the valley.
Said one, to his plea, "It's a marvel to me
That you'd give so much greater attention
To repairing results than to curing the cause;
You had much better aim at prevention.
For the mischief, of course, should be stopped at its source,
Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally.
It is far better sense to rely on a fence
Than an ambulance down in the valley."
"He is wrong in his head," the majority said;
"He would end all our earnest endeavor,
He's a man who would shirk this responsible work,
But we will support it forever.
Aren't we picking up all just as fast as they fall
And giving them care liberally?
A superfluous fence is of no consequence,
If the ambulance works in the valley.
The story looks queer as we've written it here,
But things oft occur that are stranger.
More humane, we assert, than to succor the hurt,
Is the plan of removing the danger.
The best possible course is to safeguard the source,
Attend to things rationally.
Yes, build up the fence, and let us dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley.
3) Don’t Eat On Them Apples, Man
I’m not talking ‘bout those Granny Smith,
Dappled red – golden delish.
There’s just so damn much juicy fruit
That the good Lord wants for you to chew:
“Do,” says he, “by all means do!”
There’s pomegranate, honey-dew
Pineapple, plums and peaches, too.
God’s filled this earth with honey nectar
To keep you out of Satan’s cellar,
Just steer clear forbidden fruit.
Stay away from short-cut stuff –
The good Lord wants you high enough:
Run five miles with a climb,
Nail that book report on time,
Number algebraic clime,
Endorphins wash your body fine.
But if you have to suck or sniff
Or gulp or slurp or gurgle it
To regulate just how you’re feeling,
Your life’s failed – y’ain’t even dealing.
Drugs, they just steal your soul –
Forbidden fruit attacks the whole.
Feeling good – God’s that all over:
Like doing something good for brother –
That smile spreads – one to another.
This joy swells without kickback
It’s called love and where it’s at!
Just stay away – apple attack.
Every one is high on sex
The good Lord blesses – without a hex.
Making love starts with a dad
Who at 3 AM walks sleep his lad.
Mother has some thanks in store
Treasure only moms outpour
When Dad knows all his momma do
He sings her praise she don’t refuse.
She wants to be his garden grown
So ladies wait for the guy who knows
Who’ll walk with you, with you alone.
So when Junior says that you’re a trance,
Go ahead enjoy the dance.
But the aphrodisiac God’s made a must
Is a bond we know is trust –
To go without is such a bust,
Don’t eat them apples – be in no rush.
If you want life of real adventure,
Thrill and joy of complex venture:
There’s nothing greater than the good –
Or better fitting in the ‘hood
Than happiness once understood:
Don’t fall for fool’s gold – flee for good.
December 20, 2006
Could You Afford It?
Suppose God charged us for the rain.
Or put a price on a songbird's strain
Of music, the dawn, mist on the plain.
How much would autumn landscapes cost,
Or a window etched with a winter's frost,
And the rainbow's glory, so quickly lost?
Suppose that people had to pay
To see the sunset's crimson play
And the magic stars of the Milky Way.
Suppose it was fifty cents a night
To watch a gull in graceful flight.
How much, I wonder, would it be worth
To smell the good, brown, fragrant earth
In Spring? The miracle of birth--
How much do you think would people pay
For a baby's laugh at the close of day?
Suppose God charged us for them,
Suppose we paid to look at the hills,
For the rippling mountain rills
Or the mating song of the whippoorwills
Or curving breakers of the sea,
For grace and beauty and majesty?
And all these things He gives us free!
Christopher Smart, "on his cat Jeoffrey" from Jubilate Agno (1762), lns. 695-742
1 For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
2 For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
3 For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
4 For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
5 For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
6 For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
7 For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
8 For this he performs in ten degrees.
9 For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
10 For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
11 For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
12 For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
13 For fifthly he washes himself.
14 For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
15 For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
16 For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
17 For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
18 For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
19 For having consider'd God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
20 For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
21 For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
22 For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
23 For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
24 For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
25 For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
26 For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
27 For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
28 For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
29 For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
30 For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
31 For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
32 For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he's a good Cat.
33 For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
34 For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
35 For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
36 For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
37 For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
38 For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
39 For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
40 For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
41 For he is tenacious of his point.
42 For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
43 For he knows that God is his Saviour.
44 For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
45 For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
46 For he is of the Lord's poor and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually--Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
47 For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
48 For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
49 For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
50 For he is docile and can learn certain things.
51 For he can set up with gravity which is patience upon approbation.
52 For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
53 For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.
54 For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
55 For he can jump from an eminence into his master's bosom.
56 For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
57 For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
58 For the former is afraid of detection.
59 For the latter refuses the charge.
60 For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
61 For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
62 For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
63 For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.
64 For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
65 For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
66 For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
67 For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.
68 For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance, which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
69 For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
70 For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
71 For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
72 For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
73 For he can swim for life.
74 For he can creep.
Christopher Smart, who was tossed in the madhouse for his incessant praying (in the street, for the most part), constantly asks what creativity is, what rationality and irrationality are. His poems let loose a portion of the imagination which the age of reason makes a point of keeping fettered with social norms and conventional religion; in this way his raptures are related to the scenes of redemptive or escapest madness we see in the literature of Sensibility: Clarissa's mad letters after the rape and the lunatic picking flowers in Werther. These issues of madness animate the debate we see throughout the literature of Sensibility that revolves around the tension between an imagination founded on the senses, on one hand, and governing reason and judgement, on the other. Foucault in Madness and Civilization examines the relationship between passion and enthusiasm and madness. Smart's "madness" is actually grounded in his acute sensibilious response to the physical world: the "mad" Smart is very much a part of this world, even as he authorizes himself as a prophetic interpretor of the universe. Interested in this world -- the material, the everyday, his cat -- his own senses lead him on a journey of spiritual discovery. We also see here, as we see in Sentimental Journey and elsewhere, the non-human or animal which sparks benevolence, pity, or joy in the human.
6 ~ TWO OLIVE TREES... by Carlene Appleby
Come my Beloved, Come hide Away!
Find shelter in MY wings!
You are the ONE, whose voice I heard!
Your heart, the one that sings!
And on a Journey, you have been!
No friend or foe hath know
The Mysteries of YOur Spirit's flights!
Or where the Wind has blown!
But in the deep, yes, in the sweet!
Where waters ebb and flow!
There lies a mystery, in keep,
And this I say, you'll KNOW!
Now ride, my love, on Wings of Power
And feel, anew, again
The Power of the HOLY ONE
The ONE that lives "within"
Yes, in "this" night, and in "this" fight!
I've stood beside to show
That not by might
and Not by power
Will victory, you know!
But by my grace, and grace alone
shall I unveil to you!
The Mystery of "two" olive trees!
And show you what they do!
Yes, my annointed, they are "two"
Yet "one" are two, you know
And Two are one, and
Two have won. By Carlene Appleby
© by author and used with permission
7 ~ Peek-a-boo by Gerry Sutter
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, diddily do –
Where’s the mud, its stain so true?
I ambled down the water way,
Swollen by the spring melee,
Nearly was I washed on through.
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, telling you –
I thought I had it working too:
Early to bed and early to rise,
Put in steps to glamorize,
Followed up, I knew.
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, seeing it through,
‘Til the Lord pointed out the fool.
Pestering proud of my jury rig,
Outside the box, I danced my jig,
Swept off my feet on through.
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, whaddaya do?
Sweeping laurel flower’s dew.
I thought I was in charge of life –
Laid low like grass before the scythe,
Then I saw, it’s you.