Thursday, June 28, 2007

Poetry Thursday: Inexpressible Comfort...

Though the pages are yellowed and the cover time-worn, my copy of The Best Loved Poems of the American People is a favorite possession. My grandmother wrote her name in this book many, many years ago. In a few places within the pages, she has jotted a scripture reference near a poem that resonated with her. My mother owned a copy as well, and all the poems within are familiar to me, like childhood friends. There are story poems, such as Paul Revere's Ride and Casey at the Bat, or Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven. And a favorite, which I may share here one day, called A Cry from the Canadian Hills.

I took the book to the garden to read this evening, and when I got up to look at the lipstick pink lilies at the other edge of the garden, Arwen made herself comfortable in my chair! Before I got up, I found the following poem which is short, straight-forward, and as meaningful today as it was when written in the 1800s.


Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,

Nor measure words - but pouring them
All right out - just as they are -
Chaff and grain together -
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them -
Keep what is worth keeping -
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

photos by Aisling, June 28, 2007


Rapunzel said...

That was a favorite poem of mine as a young girl, and still is today. Thank you for sharing!

Aisling said...

Rapunzel, You're quite welcome! I don't remember that one standing out to me as a child, but it sure does today! :)

Nan - said...

Beautiful. I've read that first line as a quote frequently, but have never seen the whole poem. Oh, and I am quite sure my aunt had that book too. I feel a sadness that people can't recite "by heart" any poems anymore.

Where did the name Arwen come from??

Aisling said...

Nan, It's interesting that your Aunt had that book too!

Arwen is a character in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We had read them aloud, more than once, during our school years. So, Senryu named this kitty Arwen in honor of a favorite (though somewhat minor) character. Arwen, an elven lady, was given a larger role in the movies played by Liv Tyler.

Anonymous said...

I did a search tonight on that poem "Friendship." Like you, I learned it from Best Loved Poems of the American People. It's the only book I've bought two or three times in my life (except for the Bible). I once did a thing on "Three Books That Changed My Life" and it was one of the books.

Aisling said...


I spent many hours with that book growing up. There are some wonderful poems there. I would be interested in knowing about the other books which changed your life.

Do you have a blog?

Thank you for commenting.

Henry Baron said...

That poem is by George Eliot.

Aisling said...


Where have you seen that attributed to George Eliot? I copied it from a book of poetry and took the attribution directly from the book. That post pulls the most view of any on my blog, though it is quite old. Would be very interested in knowing if George Eliot really did write it, and then curious as to why The Best Loved Poems of the American People says otherwise! Curiouser and curioser! :)