This Mother’s Day, I’d like to honor my mom (who has been in Heaven with the Lord for over 30 years now) by sharing one of her original poems with you. I still miss my mother every day, but I do not grieve. I have the glad assurance that when I have run my race and come to the end of my own earthly journey, I will be with her once again and enjoy her company for eternity.
My mom wrote most of her poetry about “ordinary” people and “ordinary” events in life. To her, it was those simple things that made life truly precious and, therefore, made it “extraordinary.”
This little poem is one she wrote about being a mother and bringing up children. I thought it was particularly appropriate for today:
by Vera Faye Wallace Pavloff
Children are a gift from God above
For us to cherish and shower with love,
To care for and teach them how to mind;
This is not easy, so soon we find.
Having patience with a wee little one
Is winning a battle that’s only begun.
Time spent with them is seldom too much
For knowing your child and keeping in touch —
For teaching them how to love one another,
And to always be kind to sister and brother.
You listen to all the stories they tell,
Add one of your own with something to sell.
Giving them freedom and time to dream
Is not quite so foolish as it may seem.
Persuade and guide them along the way,
And take time out to hope and pray
That they develop both character and mind —
One to your liking and much refined.
To show that you care and stay in command
You must use a firm but gentle hand.
When they’re older and much troubled too,
Help them by being both honest and true.
Part of the burden they really must bear
Much too often we think we should share.
Yes, raising a child is a pleasure for sure;
For each little crisis there is a cure.
When they worry to their wits’ end,
Always remember it’s on you they depend.
Bring them up in the ways of the Lord
And give them what you can afford.
When they accomplish whatever they do,
You know that you have accomplished too.
The past 3 or 4 years, I have written one or two Thanksgiving poems in November. This year, I thought I’d just post the whole collection together.
Ah, Thanksgiving, How I Love You!
Ah, Thanksgiving, how I love you!
Golden crowning jewel of Fall,
Beacon of warmth and camaraderie,
Sending glad invitation to all:
“Gather to worship; gather to visit;
Gather to focus on all that’s worthwhile;
Feast from tables resplendent with harvest;
Feast on the love in a touch and a smile.”
All the year’s labors weigh heavy upon us.
All the world’s problems seem bigger by far.
But out from that wearisome struggle you call us,
And laying it down, we run to where you are.
And whether in cottages, mansions, or churches,
Community buildings, or tables in parks,
We gather with gratitude full – overflowing;
To the Giver of blessings lift voices and hearts.
Then we return to life’s pattern awaiting.
Filled up with joy, we set off on our way,
Warmer and richer and kinder in spirit
For pausing to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner,
And I am set to have a lovely time.
First I’ll make a jaunt to church and, kneeling down,
I’ll thank the Lord for all His blessings kind.
And then I’ll journey farther to meet kith and kin.
We’ll hug and laugh and tell each other news.
Then next I’ll help dish up the yummy treats in store;
So many dishes, all from which to choose.
Then after eating more than I could ever need,
And going back again for one more pinch,
I’ll sit by fireplace warm and cuddle little ones,
And soon we’ll be asleep; it is a cinch.
Oh, my, how dear Thanksgiving is to all of us.
It gives us one whole day when we can part
From all that pulls and presses us and wounds us sore,
And give ourselves to healing, loving hearts.
What’s For Dinner?
I spot him there, behind the barn,
A full-plumed, regal bird.
He looks up, straight into my eyes.
I speak no single word.
It’s happened thus, in passing years —
At least for two or three:
Each mid-November I’ve set my mind;
He’s been there to greet me.
Now, lifting his head in challenge strong,
He gobbles loud and long.
I lower my gun and heave a sigh:
To kill him would be wrong!
So, wrestling with my double mind,
I trek home to my wife
To explain why, once again this year,
Ham will greet the carving knife.
Thursdays come and go; in every month there’s four or five. Hardly anyone’s attention they demand. Ahhh, but there’s one month when Thursday is a special day. November’s got the situation well in hand. Kinsmen, young and old, along with neighbors, best of friends, Stop their normal labor briefly and, instead, Gather close, declare a feast, and celebrate all day In churches, homes, and civic halls – wherever led. Voices glad and warm with love fill up the heart and soul, Inviting those attending to lay burdens down. Neath autumn’s healthy harvest, tables beckon us – so come; Giving thanks to God, now let us gather ’round.
A Lesson in Thanksgiving
Pilgrims reached the blessed shore,
But bitter winters were in store.
Death and anguish played their part.
Still, ’twas with a thankful heart
That they gathered to expound
Upon the God whose gifts abound.
We, who in their footsteps trod,
Though they lay beneath the sod,
Now do take the lesson learned
From their lives, and, in our turn,
We prepare to thank and praise;
To that same God our anthems raise.
And just as they faced troubled days,
Through hardships grievous made their ways,
So, now, such grievous times we face,
That ne’er before have taken place.
Yet from their lesson we take heart
And lift our songs with grateful hearts.
We will not bow to troubled thoughts,
Nor in the throws of fear be caught,
We have too rich a heritage.
So with forefathers we engage
To praise and sing and laugh and play
And celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
The poem below has a title borrowed from the English poet John Donne. It was not the title of a separate poem by Donne, but instead was a line included in his “Meditation XVII,” which was from a longer work entitled “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions.” My poem, I hope, gives a modern view of the basic truth of the “oneness” of our human race to which he referred in his own immortal words.
A siren wails,
And in our modest town,
From one end to the next,
We hear its cry.
And though we try
To keep our focus sharp
Upon the tasks at hand,
We feel the pain.
We know the strain
Of facing hurt and fear,
Of crisis, loss, and tears,
And wonder – who?
Naught we can do,
Except to pray for God,
Who knows the victim’s name,
To give His aid.
And prayer being made,
We focus once again
On our own lives, until
A siren wails.