Monday, January 25, 2016

'The Old Sampler'

Out of the way, in a corner
Of our dear old attic room,
Where bunches of herbs from the hillside
Shake ever a faint perfume,
An oaken chest is standing,
With hasp and padlock and key,
Strong as the hands that made it
On the other side of the sea.

When the winter days are dreary,
And we're out of heart with life,
Of its crowding cares weary,
And sick of its restless strife,
We take a lesson in patience
From the attic corner dim,
Where the chest still holds its treasures,
A warder faithful and grim.

Robes of an antique fashion,
Linen and lace and silk, That time has tinted with saffron,
Though once they were white as milk; Wonderful baby garments,
'Bordered with loving care
By fingers that felt the pleasure,
As they wrought the ruffles fair;

A sword, with the red rust on it,
That flashed in the battle tide,
When from Lexington to Yorktown
Sorely men's souls were tried;
A plumed chapeau and a buckle,
And may a relic fine,
And all by itself, the sampler,
Framed in with berry and vine.

Faded the square of canvas,
And dim is the silken thread,
But I think of white hands dimpled,
And a childish, sunny head;
For here in cross and in tent-stitch,
In a wreath of berry and vine,
She worked it a hundred years ago,
"Elizabeth, Aged Nine."

In and out in the sunshine,
The little needle flashed,
And in and out on the rainy day,
When the merry drops down lashed,
As close she sat by her mother,
The little Puritan maid,
And did her piece in the sampler,
While the other children played.

You are safe in the beautiful heaven,
"Elizabeth, aged nine;"
But before you went you had troubles
Sharper than any of mine.
Oh, the gold hair turned with sorrow
White as the drifted snow,
And your tears dropped here where I'm standing,
On this very plumed chapeau.

When you put it away, its wearer
Would need it never more,
By a sword-thrust learning the secrets
God keeps on yonder shore;
And you wore your grief like glory,
You could not yield supine,
Who wrought in your patient childhood,
"Elizabeth, Aged Nine."

Out of the way, in a corner,
With hasp and padlock and key,
Stands the oaken chest of my fathers
That came from over the sea;
And the hillside herbs above it
Shake odors fragrant and fine,
And here on its lid is a garland
To "Elizabeth, aged nine."

For love is of the immortal,
And patience is sublime,
And trouble a thing of every day,
And touching every time;
And childhood sweet and sunny,
And womanly truth and grace,
Ever can light life's darkness
And bless earth's lowliest place.

                            Mrs. M. E. Sangster

As reprinted in McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader, revised edition, copyright 1879.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Books of 2015

I tried to post this earlier with cute little graphics from Goodreads, but Goodreads and Blogger refused to play nice. Here's the cute infographic.

Books I read in 2015:

Be Your Own CFO
Eneas Africanus
West with the Night
The Making of a Marchioness
An Uncommon Soldier : The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Private Lyons Wakeman ...
I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats
One Thousand White Women
The 6-Figure Newsletter
Watchmen
Before He Wakes
The Sinister Pig
Mansfield Park
A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Shape Shifter
Cure for the Common Life
Navajos Wear Nikes

I started reading, but didn’t finish:
24 Hours That Changed the World
Women, Work, and the Art of Savoir Faire
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

My favorites tended to nonfiction: West with the Night – grab-you-by-the-collar writing by pioneer aviatrix Beryl Markham; An Uncommon Soldier – letters home from a farm girl who passed as a man to join the Union Army; Be Your Own CFO – guide to personal finance by J.D. Roth; Before He Wakes – true crime based in my own county; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – balanced interweaving of science, historical biography and personal memoir; and Navajos Wear Nikes – memoir of a Pennsylvania boy who spent his adolescence on the reservation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday – Hopi Public Library

This is the Hopi Public Library. They post a schedule and park at different locations around the reservation on different days. I found them high up on First Mesa during my cross-country trip last fall.



They have wheelchair access at the back. The computers became so popular they converted a van into a computer lab, and it has a different schedule.

The librarian was very nice, but preferred not to have her picture posted. I enjoyed talking to a fellow bibliophile.