Serene Sunday: Poems and Quotes on Serenity

This time of year for me is an eclectic mix of quiet time and busy fervor, and sometimes I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I love Christmas, but I very much resent the commercialism. So naturally I retreat to the comfort of poetry, which is my salvation. 🙂 That includes some worthy quotes that you could think of as “Twitter poetry”.  Sure, why not?

So here’s a little selection that will soothe frazzled nerves and calm the soul:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Swami Satchidananda

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing, yet means everything.” (136-137)
Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras
William Wordsworth

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
William Wordsworth

Kathleen Raine
(b. 1908 d. 2003)

NOCTURNE

Night comes, an angel stands
Measuring out the time of stars,
Still are the winds, and still the hours.
It would be peace to lie
Still in the still hours at the angel’s feet,
Upon a star hung in a starry sky,
But hearts another measure beat.
Each body, wingless as it lies,
Sends out its butterfly of night
With delicate wings, and jewelled eyes.
And some upon day’s shores are cast,
And some in darkness lost
In waves beyond the world, where float
Somewhere the islands of the blest.

“Nocturne” from Stone and Flower (1943)

***************************************************

THE TREE OF HEAVEN

The peace of flowers. Heaven like a tree grows
In silence; has no voice
Till they come and perch in the branches, images of words
From two worlds, birds and angels,
Inhabitants of mute leaves, lovers of the plant’s rapt blindness.

Heaven, simple like a seed, from its minute beginning
Rooted in flesh and blood, instinct with death and pain
Grows complex, manifold; grows great with living,
With green and blossom and bough, sky-covering
With world, where nothing was, until heaven’s spring.
Pattern of tree and man, unfold within me—
Branch where the veins run, quicken at the heart,
Be felt in every nerve, and fruitful at the breast,
Vine, pattern of Christ, interior quiet,
Quicken this barrenness, flower in my desert!

from Living in Time (1946)

Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Blessings of Peace & Joy this Christmas Season!
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