Honour to those…


Algy perched on a large boulder in a patch of pale autumn sunlight and stared at the waters of the loch.

He was reflecting on the strange nature of human beings; a few of them caused a huge amount of trouble and distress for others who they did not even know, and yet the vast majority were kind to one another, especially when those in trouble or danger were in need of help. The situation was entirely baffling to a fluffy bird, but by a strange coincidence it seemed to match today’s poem in the anthology “A Poem for Every Day of the Year” – a poem which was written over 150 years ago:

Whene’er a noble deed is wrought,
Whene’er is spoken a noble thought,
Our hearts, in glad surprise,
To higher levels rise.

The tidal wave of deeper souls
Into our inmost being rolls,
And lifts us unawares
Out of all meaner cares.

Honor to those whose words or deeds
Thus help us in our daily needs,
And by their overflow
Raise us from what is low!

[Algy is quoting the opening verses of the poem Santa Filomena by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

The next day, Algy flew on across the great sea loch and into a large forest on the other side. The trees towered high above the forest floor, much taller than in the more exposed woodlands he was used to;  Algy lay back among the ferns and deep mosses and gazed upwards in amazement at the tree trunks reaching for the sky. He was reminded of the opening lines of a poem by Longfellow:

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

[Algy is quoting the opening lines of the epic poem Evangeline: A Tale Of Acadie by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

The mist blew away again, and the sun was shining once more. Algy took his wee friend from Germany, the little black teddy, to admire a fine patch of cowslips, and they settled down beside the flowers to enjoy the sunshine. Algy opened his battered book of verse by Longfellow, and started to read to his wee friend:

    When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
‘Tis sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
    The first flower of the plain.

    I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
    The coming-on of storms.

    From the earth’s loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,
    The drooping tree revives.

    The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
    The forest openings.

[Algy is reading the opening stanzas of An April Day, a very early poem by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

A fluffy spring tribute to photosworthseeing’ “No Edit Friday” 🙂

Algy was trying to help his assistant finish his book, but his mind kept dozing and drifting and he just couldn’t seem to concentrate. It had been a long, long, weary winter, and all he wanted to do was rest. So he reclined against the tall Marram grasses, lazily watching the grey mist roll in from the sea, and dreamed of this and that. He was reminded of a poem by Longfellow:

          Becalmed upon the sea of Thought,
          Still unattained the land it sought,
          My mind, with loosely-hanging sails,
          Lies waiting the auspicious gales.

          On either side, behind, before,
          The ocean stretches like a floor, –
          A level floor of amethyst,
          Crowned by a golden dome of mist.

          Blow, breath of inspiration, blow!
          Shake and uplift this golden glow!
          And fill the canvas of the mind
          With wafts of thy celestial wind.

          Blow, breath of song! until I feel
          The straining sail, the lifting keel,
          The life of the awakening sea,
          Its motion and its mystery!

[Algy is quoting the poem Becalmed by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

It had been a dry, bright week, but the fine weather was coming to an end – or so
the forecast said – and the cloud bank that had been hovering in the distance for days
was about to sweep over the land.

Algy perched among the Marram grass on the
foreshore, his beak tucked into a book of poetry, while the sea birds
investigated the exposed sand by the tidal islands. The tide was unusually low, and Algy was reminded of a sonnet by Longfellow, which he dedicates to all his friends who are feeling low themselves just now, whether from depression, from exhaustion at the end of a long, dreary winter, or just from the stresses and strains of age. May the ebbed tide sweep in again and bring you “love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song”:

          I saw the long line of the vacant shore,
          The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,
          And the brown rocks left bare on every hand
          As if the ebbing tide would flow no more.
          Then heard I, more distinctly than before,
          The ocean breathe and its great breast expand,
          And hurrying came on the defenceless land
          The insurgent waters with tumultuous roar.
          All thought and feeling and desire, I said,
          Love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song,
          Have ebbed from me for ever! Suddenly o’er me
          They swept again from their deep ocean bed,
          And in a tumult of delight, and strong
          As youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me!

And Algy has a special word today for his friend qbnscholar: upbore 🙂

[Algy is quoting the sonnet The Tides by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

Although the morning was bright and sunny, the sky had clouded over entirely by the time Algy flew out upon the rocks, and the sea had grown moody and sullen. But it was fun to watch the incoming tide, even in dull weather, and Algy spent a happy hour or so watching the waves. As the spray flew up and the water surged through all the wee gullies between the rocks, Algy thought of one of his favourite sea poems:

          The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
          And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
          I heard the first wave of the rising tide
          Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
          A voice out of the silence of the deep,
          A sound mysteriously multiplied
          As of a cataract from the mountain’s side,
          Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
          So comes to us at times, from the unknown
          And inaccessible solitudes of being,
          The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
          And inspirations, that we deem our own,
          Are some divine of foreshadowing and foreseeing
          Of things beyond our reason or control.

Watch a short video clip of this incoming tide on the rocks…

[Algy is quoting the poem The Sound of the Sea by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

When Algy woke up on Sunday morning, the weather had changed. It was still very chilly, but the wind was calmer, the sky was brighter, and – in between fast-moving showers of rain and sleet – the sun shone. Algy picked up his volume of Longfellow’s poems and looked for the least-sodden spot he could find. No part of the ground was actually dry, but he discovered a bank of budding daffodils that was only moderately wet. So, resigned to the prospect of damp tail feathers, he settled down happily in the sunshine, and started to read The Song of Hiawatha to his friend from Germany, the little black teddy:

           Should you ask me, whence these stories?
           Whence these legends and traditions,
           With the odours of the forest
           With the dew and damp of meadows,
           With the curling smoke of wigwams,
           With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions,
And their wild reverberations
As of thunder in the mountains?
           I should answer, I should tell you,
“From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland,
From the land of the Ojibways,
From the land of the Dacotahs,
From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes.
I repeat them as I heard them
From the lips of Nawadaha,
The musician, the sweet singer.”

Algy hopes that you will all have a bright and peaceful Sunday xoxo

[ Algy is of course reading the opening lines of the long narrative poem The Song of Hiawatha by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. ]