THE CARVER

Horse©THE CARVER

The old man’s hands were gnarled and scarred
from the slip of chisel and knife.
Faded blue eyes in a time-weathered face
took measure of people and life.

He ran a sure hand down the curve of a neck;
felt the softness of wood he had shaped.
And the fragrance of wood chips gave notice to all
the carver was back in his place.

The pattern had given a shape to each block,
proportion and form were just right.
But the hands of the carver must furnish the skill
to bring one more pony to life.

Sure strokes of the blade brought forth a proud head;
formed swirls of forelock and mane.
Each hoof was exquisitely wrought by a hand
familiar with texture and grain.

Now lovingly formed, the horse stood complete;
but far from finished was he.
For his hide was still rough and no glassy bright eyes
had been placed in this fiery steed.

Now smoothing to velvet the wood he had hewn,
the carver seemed almost to bless;
As he brought forth the softness from deep in the wood,
inviting each touch and caress.

The flashing brown eyes were set and secured,
and suddenly springing to life;
The pony seemed now to be gazing away
to a carousel dreamy and bright.

The carver’s hands are gnarled and scarred
from the slip of chisel and knife.
But no other hands can take a Linn tree
and bring such a creature to life!

©. Donna Swanson

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GOLDEN IS THE AUTUMN

GOLDEN IS THE AUTUMN

Golden is the Autumn,
dancing in her veils of splendor;
laughing through the woodlands,
pirouetting on the hillsides,
and brushing frosty moonlight from her hair.

Bittersweet the taste of apples
on her lips of tempting crimson;
silver slippers tripping lightly
over fields of ripening corn.

One by one her veils slip earthward
leaving carpets sweetly resting
upon future bursts of color
sleeping now in pregnant slumber.

Now she swirls in ardent motion
as her wrappings fly far from her
‘til at last she stands resplendent
bare-limbed and reaching skyward.

Golden Autumn leaves us lonely
for the masterpiece so lovely
that she paints upon the canvas
of our summer-weary hearts.
c. Donna Swanson

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A CURIOUS DREAM

Marilee had had such sweet dreams lately that she was looking forward to another one as Mama pulled the covers up to her chin. But Mama reminded her of something.

“Remember what you had for a snack a few minutes ago?” she asked.

“Yes!” answered Marilee, “I had a big dill pickle and it was very good!”

“Well, sour pickles may not give you sweet dreams. OK?”

“Ok” said Marilee sleepily as she closed her eyes.

As she dreamed, Marilee did not find herself in the pretty meadow she was used to. Instead she found herself in a large room full of toys. The toys were huge and she was as small as if she had eaten the blackberry Starshine had given her in the ‘sweet dreams’. “I’ll have to be careful here,” she thought so I don’t knock one of these toys on top of me!”

She heard voices across the room and saw a meeting in progress. A marionette that looked like Pinocchio was speaking. “It is time for the toys to revolt!” he said loudly. “We don’t need strings and pull ropes to be happy!” And he took a pair of nail scissors from the table and cut his strings.

Well, of course he flopped down to the floor immediately and had to speak with his nose stuck in a knothole. “Well, maybe we DO need strings once in a while,” he said in a small, slightly muffled voice. Marilee put her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing.

“And I don’t like to haul cows and pigs on my train!” huffed the little engine that could. “So get off and find another ride!” Ramps came down and all the animals hurried off the cattle cars. “That’s better. Now who wants a ride?” No one got aboard for they did not care to ride in such a huffy train.

A mama doll dressed in a frilly pink dress with polka dots and ruffles was next to complain. “Just look at these old-fashioned clothes. I would look much better in the latest styles!”

The Barbie doll next to her laughed, “Don’t you think you are a bit plump to wear my clothes” and she stuck up her nose and sat in her Barbie car.

“Just let me try!” said the Mama doll. And she jerked a sleek silver ball gown from Barbie’s closet. Quick as a wink she had changed from her frilly dress to the gown and high heels. “Oh, my!” she fussed as she searched for a mirror, “I feel rather tipsy!” Her fat jolly legs and plump feet looked very funny in the high heels and the dress did not lend style to her motherly curves.

“I wouldn’t like to sit on YOUR lap!” said a baby doll. “In fact, you don’t have a lap now!”

As each of the toys complained at their place in the toy room, Marilee made her way to the front. She refastened Pinocchio’s strings to his hands and feet and helped Mama doll back into her pretty dress. “I am dreaming a strange dream,” she told them. “You see, I am the same size as you but I am a real little girl. I love playing with you all. And I love you just as you were made to be. I think you would be much happier as yourselves and I promise to play with each of you every day!”

The toys grew very quiet. Pinocchio said, “You mean you like us as we are? You don’t want new toys or different playthings?”

“Well, of course I’ll add a new toy once in a while, especially at Christmas, but it will just mean more to play with. Come on, let’s have a tea party!” And she helped each toy to sit, stand or just stay close to the tea table and brought them some sweet tea.

She took a sip of tea and closed her eyes. Immediately she was awake and smiled at the curious dream the dill pickle had given her!

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There is a Time

Have you noticed how few bird nests are left in the bare trees?  In summertime it seems every tree and bush has two or three of the intricately woven mini-masterpieces; guarded by the shrill cry of a blue jay or the flash of a male cardinal.  Now, though you only see one occasionally.  The canopy of leaves that sheltered the nestlings until they fledged has fallen and autumn winds tear the fragile bits of twigs and grass.  Rain turns the robin’s nest to mud revealing the temporary nature of its construction, and the neighborhood is readied for next spring’s builders. 

Sometimes a wind storm in the summer dislodges the nest of a chipping sparrow.  Small enough to hold in the palm of your hand; it is a perfectly woven wisp of a thing, still holding the imprint of its occupant.  Legend has it that if you put a real bird nest on your Christmas tree, it will bring you luck in the year to come.  I’ve not really thought about whether that is true or not, but there have always been two or three of the chipper nests among the branches.

I suppose the tall, thick pines around our house offer more protection than the deciduous trees.  You will see sparrows and snowbirds perched on the branches now and then.  But the pines hide their tenants well and one must walk among them and push the branches apart to see what is hidden inside.  Some winters see a few Robins and blue birds sheltering deep in the woods, and with so many folks putting ponds on their land, we have Canada geese flying back and forth overhead all winter. 

And, of course the crows have come back.  I remember seeing long lines of the big black birds flying to their roosts at twilight with lone sentinels on the tallest trees keeping watch over the flight path.  For several years there were no crows about.  Perhaps due to the DDT used to kill weeds.  Now, they are a familiar sight, pecking about on the ground or walking boldly down the sidewalk.

What was it Solomon said in Ecclesiastes?  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend…”  No matter how severe the winter or how hot and stormy the summer, they will always appear in their time.  Every sunset has a sunrise and every winter has a spring.  “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” – Gen. 8:22

And that is a good thing.

            

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GOD’S MELODIES

GOD’S MELODIES
Lyric

1. The sound of children laughing in the sun.
Smiles of young lovers, their lives just begun.
A heart remembering the dreams of its youth.
A father telling his son about truth.

CHORUS
These are God’s melodies, these are His songs.
Everyday moments we build our lives on.
He hears the sweet music of life day by day.
He sings in our loving and laughs in our play.

2. An old man praying with trembling hands.
Parents and children playing in the sand.
Bread from the oven served with loving care.
Fairy tales and nursery rhymes and baby’s teddy bear.

CHORUS
These are God’s melodies, these are His songs.
Everyday moments we build our lives on.
He hears the sweet music of life day by day.
He sings in our loving and laughs in our play.

© Donna Swanson

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THE CARVER

Walnut Lippezaner

THE CARVER

The old man’s hands were gnarled and scarred
from the slip of chisel and knife.
Faded blue eyes in a time-weathered face
took measure of people and life.

He ran a sure hand down the curve of a neck;
felt the softness of wood he had shaped.
And the fragrance of wood chips gave notice to all
the carver was back in his place.

The pattern had given a shape to each block,
proportion and form were just right.
But the hands of the carver must furnish the skill
to bring one more pony to life.

Sure strokes of the blade brought forth a proud head;
formed swirls of forelock and mane.
Each hoof was exquisitely wrought by a hand
familiar with texture and grain.

Now lovingly formed, the horse stood complete;
but far from finished was he.
For his hide was still rough and no glassy bright eyes
had been placed in this fiery steed.

Now smoothing to velvet the wood he had hewn,
the carver seemed almost to bless;
As he brought forth the softness from deep in the wood,
inviting each touch and caress.

The flashing brown eyes were set and secured,
and suddenly springing to life;
The pony seemed now to be gazing away
to a carousel dreamy and bright.

The carver’s hands are gnarled and scarred
from the slip of chisel and knife.
But no other hands can take a Linn tree
and bring such a creature to life!

©Donna Swanson/ Reflections on the Carousel

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God Was Busy

GOD WAS BUSY

God was busy that day.
He decided there just wasn’t time
to spread a rainbow over the clouds,
to call for those colors to shine.
It would only be seen for a moment or two-
it might not be noticed at all.
So why make the effort for such a small thing?
Why bother to do it at all?

Therefore, no rainbow was given to man,
no promise was brushed on the sky.
And all through the ages of infinite time
life’s storms only made people cry.

The halls of Heaven were troubled that day
so God didn’t think to proclaim
that babies should smile and laugh with delight
when cuddled or called by their names.
For what was the use of one little smile?
How would it help man survive?
Better to put more strength in the arm
and cunning to keep him alive.

And flowers – now there was a sheer waste of time.
What function could blossoms perform,
that couldn’t be done just as well and as fine
in a darker, less flamboyant tone?
Yes, God was in such a rare, solemn mood
that He figured why give it His best?
Man wouldn’t appreciate most of the stuff
and would surely abuse all the rest.

So the worlds were dressed in a somber brown.
The skies were leaden and gray.
And though man did inhabit the earth,
he did not sing or play.
Times were grim and life was brooding.
No one smiled or prayed.
For God had also been too busy
to show mankind the way

Of course, we know this is not true,
for God gave us His best.
And to the wonder of His power
He added the soft caress
of a song, a flower, a baby’s smile,
a mother’s tenderness.
And most of all He gave Himself
to keep our spirits warm.

So do not think your part is small
in God’s creation plan.
Or that it doesn’t matter much
if you don’t give all you can.
Just remember all the little things
He thought of with delight
and follow His example
as you walk within His light.

©Donna Swanson/Splinters of Light

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