Category Archives: Christian Poems

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T.S. Eliot

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

— T.S. Eliot – “Little Gidding” (the last of his Four Quartets)

(image source: http://www.theatlanticwire.com)

The end is where we start from

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I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down
to meet and mingle with each other.

Then some one at my side says,
“There! She’s gone!”

Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all.
She is just as large in the mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side,
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of her destination.

Her diminished size is in me, and not in her.

And just at that moment, when some one
at my side says, “There! she’s gone!”
there are other eyes that are watching for her coming
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,
“There she comes!”

And that is—dying.—

— (attributed to) Henry Van Dyke – A Parable of Immortality

In memory of Anouk Sung Ja Henn † 22/07/2012.

A Parable of Immortality

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Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
’T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, — you’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

— Emily Dickinson – Complete Poems – Part One – IX

Life

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People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

— Mother Teresa – Do It Anyway (adaptation of a text from Kent M. Keith that Mother Theresa put on the wall of her children’s home in Calcutta)

Do it anyway!

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Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

— Mother Theresa

Life is…

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The animals met in assembly and began
to complain that humans were always
taking things away from them.

“They take my milk,” said the cow.
“They take my eggs,” said the hen.
“They take my flesh for bacon,” said the hog.
“They hunt me for my oil,” said the whale.

Finally the snail spoke. “I have something
they would certainly take away from me
if they could. Something they want
more than anything else.
I have TIME.”

You have all the time in the world, if you would give it to yourself. What’s stopping you?

— Anthony de Mello – The Song of the Bird (page 136)

A Parable on Modern Life