Last Mother's Day--or maybe the year before--, my kids collected a book of poetry for me for a year of Poetry Tea Times. I was just reading a poem for May, and though you might enjoy it.
Red Geraniums by Martha Haskell Clark
Life did not bring me silken gowns,
Nor jewels for my hair,
Nor signs of gabled foreign towns
In distant countries fair,
But I can glimpse, beyond my pane, a green and friendly hill
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.
The brambled cares of everyday,
The tiny humdrum things,
May bind my feet when they would stray,
But still my heart has wings
While Red Geraniums are bloomed against my window glass,
And low above my green-sweet hill the Gypsy wind-clouds pass.
And if my dreamings ne'er come true,
The brightest and the best,
But leave me lone my journey through,
I'll set my heart at rest,
And thank God for home-sweet things, a green and friendly hill,
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.
I frequently quote a line from a poem Michelangelo wrote: "My unassisted heart is barren clay..."
I thought you may enjoy more of the poem, which demonstrates the third step in the Pattern for Learning, which he evidently understood.
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
That of its native self can nothing feel.
Of good and pious works Thou are the seed,
That quickens only where Thou sayest it may,
No man can find it. Father! Thou must lead!
Do Thou then breathe those thoughts into my mind,
By which such virtue may in me be bred,
That in Thy holy footsteps I may tred.
"If you are giving a child a piece of cake, it adds nothing to his enjoyment to tell him that it contains certain ingredients and was made by certain rules or that it will contribute to his nourishment.
"If it is good, he eats it and wants more."
That is what you are striving for in childhood learning--a desire for more.
A mom in our group alerted me to a beautiful book about mothers as teachers written in 1838--Letters to Mothers by Lydia Sigourney. I'm going to go back and spend more time, but this quote struck me:
"...no universal agent of civilization exists, but through mothers. Nature has placed in their hands, our infancy and youth. I have been among the first to declare the necessity of making them, by improved education, capable of fulfilling their natural mission.
"The love of God and man, is the basis of this system. In proportion as it prevails, national enmities will disappear, prejudices become extinguished, civilization spread itself far and wide,--one great people cover the earth, and the reign of God be established. This is to be hastened, by the watchful care of mothers over their offspring, from the cradle upwards."
Written by a poet who never had children of her own...
A builder builded a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill;
Pillars and groins and arches
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said, as they saw its beauty,
"It shall never know decay;
Great is they skill, O builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye."
A mother builded a temple
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan,
For the temple the mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.
Gone is the builder's temple,
Crumpled into the dust;
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.
But the temple the mother builded
Will last while the ages roll,
For the beautiful unseen temple
Was a child's immortal soul.
May I reach
That purest heaven, be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony,
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love,
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused
And in diffusion ever more intense!
So shall I join the choir invisible
Whose music is the gladness of the world.
I was just cleaning off my desk and my old friend Orison stopped by to remind me to tell you something he wanted you to know...
"There are a thousand evidences in us that we were intended for temples of beauty, of sweetness, of loveliness, of beautiful ideas...
"There is nothing which will pay so well as to train the finest and truest, the most beautiful qualities in us in order that we may see beauty everywhere and be able to extract sweetness from everything.
"The cultured ear will find harmony in forest and field, melody in babbling brooks, and untol pleasure in all Nature's song.
"The great majority of us are living in the basement of our beings.
"If we would all cultivate a love of the beautiful and scatter beauty seeds as we go through life, what a paradise this earth would become!"
My friend William Wordsworth was listening and said, "I bet I can say that in much fewer words:
'...with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things...'"
I just love it when they hang out with me. But I told them I really have to go grocery shopping now.