Archives For poetry

Willpower with a Poem

March 10, 2014 — 13 Comments
determined soul Ella Wheeler Wilcox

source: Facebook/Symphony of Love

Will, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(first published 1897)

There is no chance, no destiny, no fate,

Can circumvent or hinder or control

The firm resolve of a determined soul. 

Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great;

All things give way before it, soon or late. 

What obstacle can stay the mighty force 

Of the sea-seeking river in its course, 

Or cause the ascending orb of day to wait? 

Each well-born soul must win what it deserves. 

Let the fool prate of luck. The fortunate 

Is he whose earnest purpose never swerves, 

Whose slightest action or inaction serves 

The one great aim. Why, even Death stands still, 

And waits an hour sometimes for such a will.

Poetical works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Edinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, Second Edition 1917.
Source: Ella Wheeler Wilcox Society

This poetess has been a hero of mine since I discovered her writings when I was fifteen years old. I cherished my copy of her poems, and ‘Winds of Fate’ was one of the first I ever memorized. This poem ‘Will’ also resonates deeply and when I came upon this astounding photograph with an excerpt from her poem, the timing felt perfect. I’ll soon share more works of the talented Mrs. Wilcox from my almost 100-year-old poetry book “Poems of Pleasure” (one of my most cherished antique books). May these timeless words stir awake that inner hero ‘Willpower’. Let us claim our own determined resolve and know that we have the ability to make our dreams into reality.
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE

Look To This Day

January 4, 2014 — 13 Comments

space sunrise 500
Kalidasa Salutation to the dawn

When I was a child I was given a copy of this poem from the ancient Sanskrit ‘Salutation to the Dawn’ which I cherished for years. I read it over and over. Still to this day these fine words imbue me with optimism! I hope they cheer your day as well. Please feel free save this image and print it off for your wall or fridge. May its cheerful wisdom brighten all your mornings. Namaste. Gina

[With warm gratitude to the creator of the Google-sourced earth sunrise image]

like the person alone with DyerToday I am sharing an old poem by the ‘People’s Poet’ and it describes the importance of liking ourselves. This is an essential component of raising our self-worth, and strengthening our self-love.

From this foundation we all can see that challenges make life interesting, and the overcoming of them is what makes life worthwhile. We are strong enough for everything we find in our path.

friends with yourselfRemember Victor Hugo’s wisdom: “God doesn’t make fruit grow on branches too weak to bear its weight.” This old adage reminds us that if we are given a challenge it means we are up to it, and the stronger we are sometimes the tougher the obstacle. If we find ourself in a rough patch, let’s hold our head high and know that we must be up to the challenge or it wouldn’t have landed in our lap.

Having faith in ourselves and our abilities is sometimes as simple as the ability to lift our heads up off the pillow. It is another day. A new day. And we are here, with ourself. We must like ourselves. After all, we know ourselves the best, and we know how much we have been through.

Sometimes when I take a moment to remember where I came from and all that I have been through, I cannot help but want to pat myself on the back. ‘Way to Go’, I cheer to myself. ‘I’m so glad you’re still here’. Try saying that to yourself and see how much better it makes you feel.


Written by Edgar A. Guest

I have to live with myself and so

I want to be fit for myself to know.

I want to be able as days go by,

Always to look myself straight in the eye;

I don’t want to stand with the setting sun

And hate myself for the things I have done.

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf

A lot of secrets about myself

And fool myself as I come and go

Into thinking no one else will ever know

The kind of person I really am,

I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect

I want to deserve [people’s] respect;

But here in the struggle for fame and pelf

I want to be able to like myself.

I don’t want to look at myself and know

I am bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me;

I see what others may never see;

I know what others may never know,

I never can fool myself and so,

Whatever happens I want to be

Self-respecting and conscience free.

Edgar Guest (1881 – 1959) worked for more than sixty years at the Detroit Free Press, publishing his first poem at the age of seventeen, then going on to become a reporter and columnist whose work was featured in hundreds of newspapers around the country. Guest is said to have written some 11,000 poems during his lifetime, most of it sentimental, short, upbeat verse. Critics may have occassionally derided his work, but America adored him. He was known as the “People’s Poet,” served as Michigan’s poet laureate, hosted a long-running radio show and TV show, and published more than twenty books.

Related Reading:
Paul Mark Sutherland found a wonderful verse from Edgar A. Guest. Thanks Paul!

Here’s a couple of my earlier posts with additional poems from Edgar A. Guest:

Post updated April 14, 2016:
Changed the word wealth in ‘But here in the struggle for fame and wealth’ to the correct word of ‘pelf’. My most humble apologies for not checking my sources more thoroughly. Since this was posted, a helpful person pointed it out to me, and I’ve also been lucky enough to obtain my own copy of a vintage book of poems by Guest himself. Any future poems shared will be carefully double checked.

galileo-telescopeA while ago I woke with a moonbeam shining in my eyes. My mind called out: it’s too early to be awake! It’s hardly into the third hour of the day and I’d hoped to wake when the alarm went off at 7am. But the moon had other plans, shining her beaming light across my face, through the small opening in the window covering. After turning and trying to think of sleep, I laid on my back, eyes open, and heard the lines of a poem running through my mind:

“How the heart mingles with the moonlit hour,
As if the starry heavens suffused a power.”

It’s been a while since I’ve thought of this poem and it took time to remember it all. The beginning was eluding me and, having realized sleep was not returning, I tiptoed to my home office hoping for speed on my computer, and sought out the poem. There it was! The stanza that was eluding me:

“And when, oblivious to the world, we stray,
At dead of night, along some noiseless way,”

This poem, Starry Heavens, is one of my all-time favorites. I hadn’t thought about it in a year or so, and am happy to be woken by moonbeams to help me remember it. Memorized poems need to be occasionally dusted off and recited, even if only for our selves. An audience for this hobby of memorizing old-fashioned poetry is yet to be found in my life, so I’m thankful to share it here.

More prose is wandering through my thoughts this early morning… this time by Galileo… 

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”

lovedthestars_galileo 2

What a beautiful statement, making me think about faith even though the man himself was not known for being pious.

This I learned as I sought more information about a quote I was self-misinformed about, years ago. I was watching a PBS seminar with the always-inspirational Dr. Wayne Dyer, and he shared a quote that had me pause the VCR (like I said, years ago):

“The sun, with all it’s planets revolving around it, can ripen the smallest bunch of grapes as if it had nothing better to do.” ~ “Why then, should I doubt His power?”

I was in my early twenties (a young mom with a VCR) and I wrote down this paraphrased quote and memorized it as I heard it, not realizing I’d misunderstood the pause in Dr. Dyer’s sharing of this powerful quote and I added his own comment to the end of Galileo’s writing. So for years, decades really, I’d memorized this tidbit from Galileo with a Wayne Dyer addition on the end. It is a great quote, and my inadvertent ‘addition’ has brought me great comfort through the years. However I prefer to know the truth, and to know who really said what.

galileoLet’s hear it for research! As I sought info I realized that Galileo was in the ‘other’ camp. I personally enjoy melding science and religion within my own viewpoints and give thanks to live in a time when this is possible but Mr. Galilei did not live in such a time, and his passion for science unfortunately drove a wedge between himself and the primary organized religion of his day. To say he was ‘ahead of his time’ is a gross understatement. [Scroll to the bottom of this post for info on his life.]

Today I woke too early, with a poem about the moon and stars in my mind, and thoughts of Galileo hovering. Then, as I thought of Galileo, I easily recalled a favourite song by The Indigo Girls and have shared it here. As I wrote in a previous post: It has been suggested that insomnia is linked with creativity.”

This is my ‘share’ today, sent out to any other insomnia wanderers out there, and of course to all my cherished readers whatever time of day you happen to come upon this post. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to relish in every moment of the day that you are alive.

Thank you to YouTube user ‘elmonkey26’ for this excellent video!

Excerpt from GoodReads:
“Galileo Galilei (Feb 5, 1564 – Jan 8, 1642) was a Tuscan (Italian) physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of science”, and “the Father of Modern Science.” The motion of uniformly accelerated objects, taught in nearly all high school and introductory college physics courses, was studied by Galileo as the subject of kinematics. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, named the Galilean moons in his honour, and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, improving compass design. Galileo’s championing of Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime. The geocentric view had been dominant since the time of Aristotle, and the controversy engendered by Galileo’s presentation of heliocentrism as proven fact resulted in the Catholic Church’s prohibiting its advocacy as empirically proven fact, because it was not empirically proven at the time and was contrary to the literal meaning of Scripture. Galileo was eventually forced to recant his heliocentrism and spent the last years of his life under house arrest on orders of the Roman Inquisition.”

Related articles:

[Images randomly sourced off the internet]

springtime crocusIt is the first day of March.

Each minute sweeter than before…

There is a blessing in the air…

~William Wordsworth

The theme of March is the uncovering of faith and courage through the letting go of fear. We have a choice in how we react to the images in our minds. Patience, surrender and the faith that all things work for the best help form the foundation for deep peace of mind. ~Joan Borysenko

rainbow cloudsFour years ago today my mother passed away and left this physical experience. While my heart has felt leaden and heavy about losing her, this year I feel different. I feel a deep peace, even a flutter of joy for my mother and where she is now. I do not experience the same sadness I used to. While I don’t know what happens after we die, I do have a sense of intuition and belief in an afterlife. As a Native American funeral blessing shares, we were never born and we will never die. That part of us which is pure spirit is here always, and I seem to be feeling my mother’s joy.

springtimeThe first of March is a beautiful day, and here in my part of the world the sky is bright blue and the birds are singing. The daylight hours are lengthening and the temperatures are warming. Having crossed the calendar from February to March, even the word itself sounds brighter… one crisp, joyful syllable to describe this bright and early month of the year, as well as the verb form of the word that describes moving forward with confidence and determination.

cosmic sky rainbow colours 400That’s how I see my Mom now. I  see her as a determined soul who chose to march forward in her own destiny and into the unknown of the next level. I see her in a place free from pain and judgment, and surrounded by blissful peace and profoundly unconditional love. I believe she is with me and cheers on everything that brings me closer to the light and loving truth of my being.

cribbage 29 smNow I feel like celebrating this day. I feel like not only is a day of one’s birth to be joyfully acknowledged, but also their death as a transition through a new doorway. I celebrate that my mother is cradled in the embrace of God and as such is immersed in love. I symbolically release brightly coloured balloons for her, and play the upbeat music she loved. Today I will prepare some of the delicious food she taught me to make (like Corn Chowder and tender Pot Roast). And tonight in her honour I’ll enjoy a few games of crib with my husband.

Let’s remember that there’s no need to collapse into deep sadness when we lose a loved one, except of course for the fact that we miss them, but that’s about ourselves. As far as how they are doing… they are pain-free and at peace. And that is most definitely worth celebrating with love!

do-not-stand-grave-Mary Frye[Randomly sourced images]

rose petal heartThis post title was introduced to me by a blogger I tremendously enjoy following: The Dad Poet. He is a talented poet as well as a poetry aficionado. If you enjoy poetry even a bit, I am certain you’ll enjoy visiting his blog. I have learned so much more about poetry from him! He also includes videos of himself doing readings as well as other poets doing recitals, both on his blog and on YouTube.

Thank you David for the inspiration for me to share this delightful poem today! My answer to the presented question of a love poem I wish I had written is easy: Arthur L. Gillom’s “I Want You”.

This rhyming poem with its strong visuals was rather effortless for me to memorize decades ago for a wedding I’d been invited to recite at. The presentation of this poem went wonderfully, and it was a special way to lead into the reception that followed the ceremony. It is a piece of poetry I deeply cherish and I hope you enjoy. Please note that I was single when I memorized this. I allowed the powerful love these words portray to permeate my being and raise my spirits, helping me know my true mate would arrive in the right time. And it came true! If you are single and wish not to be, never give up. If you have found your love, always cherish and value your relationship. We have the power to help create our own destiny. May yours be beautiful and loving. Namaste.

Arthur L. Gillom I WANT YOU

Additional Reading:

Langston Hughes

February 1, 2013 — 39 Comments

langston hughes poetry lineAs far back as I can remember, I have adored poetry. I’m especially drawn to the works of poets who courageously dive deeply into their stories… their journeys through life. These are my favorite kinds of poetry: raw and honest tales of joy and of woe. These are the poetic stories which can become eternal.

Writer-poet Langston Hughes (Feb. 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was born 111 years ago. Happy Birthday Langston Hughes! I am joined with millions of other readers who continue to be moved by your poetic stories to this day, for your works are eternal.

langston hughes poemJames Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was a small child and his father moved to Mexico. He was raised by his grandmother until he was thirteen, when he moved to Lincoln, Illinois to live with his mother and her husband before the family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. It was in Lincoln, Illinois, that Hughes began writing poetry. Following graduation he spent a year in Mexico and a year at Columbia University. During these years he held odd jobs as an assistant cook, launderer, and a busboy, and travelled to Africa and Europe working as a seaman. In 1924 he moved to Washington, D.C.  Hughes’s first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1926. He finished his college education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania three years later. In 1930 his first novel, Not Without Laughter, won the Harmon gold medal for literature.

Hughes, who claimed Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman as his primary influences, is particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties. He wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as poetry, and is also known for his engagement with the world of jazz and the influence it had on his writing, as in “Montage of a Dream Deferred.” His life and work were enormously important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Unlike other notable black poets of the period—Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Countee Cullen—Hughes refused to differentiate between his personal experience and the common experience of black America. He wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself.  Source:

Here are a couple of delightful books for readers of all ages to enjoy:


Langston Hughes: American Poet” By Alice Walker ~ Illustrated by Catherine Deeter

When Langston Hughes was a boy, His grandmother told him true stories of how African people were captured in Africa and brought to America enslaved. She told him about their fight for freedom and justice. Langston loved his grandmother’s stories. To learn more stories and bear more beautiful language, he began to read books. He fell in love with books and decided that one day he would write stories too, true stories about Black people.

When he was only fourteen, Langston wrote his first poem, and for the rest of his life he was always writing — stories and essays and, most of all, poems. He wrote about Black people as he saw them: happy, sad, mad, and beautiful. Through his writing he fought for freedom from inequality and injustice; and his gift of words inspired and influenced many other writers.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker was one writer Langston influenced. In this moving and richly detailed portrait she celebrates the life of an extraordinary man. Accompanied by stunning paintings by artist Catherine Deeter, Langston Hughes: American Poet will introduce a whole new generation to the life and works of a great African American Poet of the twentieth century, and one of the most important poets of all time.

AUTHOR BIO: Alice Walker (b. 1944), one of the United States’ preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy. In her public life, Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, teacher, and public intellectual.

langston hughes book cover - my people

My People Poem by Langston Hughes ~ Photography by Charles R. Smith Jr.

Langston Hughes’s spare yet eloquent tribute to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today.

Editorial Review ( “Smith’s knack for pairing poetry and photography is well documented in books such as Hoop Queens (Candlewick, 2003) and Rudyard Kipling’s If (S & S, 2006). Here, his artful images engage in a lyrical and lively dance with Langston Hughes’s brief ode to black beauty. Dramatic sepia portraits of African Americans—ranging from a cherubic, chubby-cheeked toddler to a graying elder whose face is etched with lines-are bathed in shadows, which melt into black backgrounds. The 33 words are printed in an elegant font in varying sizes as emphasis dictates. In order to maximize the effect of the page turn and allow time for meaning to be absorbed, the short phrases and their respective visual narratives often spill over more than a spread. The conclusion offers a montage of faces created with varying exposures, a decision that provides a light-filled aura and the irregularities that suggest historical prints. A note from Smith describes his approach to the 1923 poem. This celebration of the particular and universal will draw a wide audience: storytime participants; students of poetry, photography, and cultural studies; seniors; families. A timely and timeless offering.” ~Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library


By Langston Hughes ~ Calligraphy Image Source:

Langston_Hughes Hold Fast to Dreams