Poems by Ministers and Members
of First Church in Boston

17th Century Poets:
Edward Taylor
o                Anne Bradstreet *            Bay Colony Ministers †          
[Bay Psalm Book]
18th Century Poet:
Cotton Mather

19th Century Poets:
Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham †         John Pierpont †         Ralph Waldo Emerson †     

20th Century Poet:
ee cummings
21st Century Poets:
John Burt*                                       Heather Campbell*            Joan & Leo Collins *
Mary Collins *                                 Adnan Onart*                    George Richardson *

Symbols:  Minister, 7 Societies                                  Lay Person, 7 Societies *                                  Minister, FCB Orbit o

Edward Taylor
was born in 1642, the son of a non-Conformist yeoman farmer.

After studies at Cambridge University, and his employment as a teacher, this nascent poet/minister left England, & in 1668 emigrated to the Bay Colony to enroll in Harvard College with advanced standing. He was received by John Hull, mintmaster and member of FCB. Already in ‘new’ Cambridge, Taylor began his poetry & was chosen to deliver a “verse declamation” upon graduation in 1671.

snowy sceneIncrease Mather of Boston’s Second Church urged Taylor to accept an invitation to minister in New England’s remote western frontier, in the wilderness town of Westfield, Taylor’s diary records an overland journey in a snowy November, accompanied by Thomas Dewey, the Westfield Church’s representive: “The snow being above mid-leg deep, the way unbeaten, the track filled up yet again, yet over rocks & mountains [we travelled] about 100 miles.”
Rev. Edward Taylor served in this wilderness setting as minister, physician, farmer, Native American strategist, & poet until his death in 1729 at the age of 68. It is estimated that during this time Taylor filled near 7,000 pages in either
diary or poetic forms.
He kept these writings unknown, however, even forbidding his family to publish them. Discovered in the Yale University Library of which many were published over 200 years later, in 1939, as “The Poetical Works of Edward Taylor,” Thomas H Johnson, editor.

In his English days as reader, student & teacher, Taylor would have become acquainted with the 17th century ‘metaphysical style’ - characterized by ‘inventiveness of metaphor’ - in which the poems are written.
Students of poetry point to unexpected truths, intellectual qualities; & many ‘great thoughts,’ ibid, “the idea that the perfection of beauty in a beloved one acts as a remembrance of perfect beauty in the eternal realm.”
As well, a strong casuistic, subtle & deceptive tone may also be heard, one that is self centered & sophistical, yet defining the poet’s relationship with God.
Other 17th century poets displaying this style were John Donne, Richard Crashaw and Anne Bradstreet.

               woman at spinning wheel

                                                 Make me, O Lord, thy Spining Wheele compleate.      [compleate - without defect]
Thy Holy Worde my Distaff make for meet
Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neate
And make my Soule thy holy Spoole to bee.
My Conversation make to be thy Reele
And reele the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheele.

Make me thy Loome then, knit therein this Twine:
                                           And make thy Holy Spirit, Lord, winde quills:          [fill spools with thread]
                             Then weave the Web thyselfe. The yarn is fine.         [Web - cloth]
                                                   Thine Ordinances make my Fulling Mills.                [cloth beaten & cleaned]      
Then dy the same in Heavenly Colours Choice,
                                  All pinks with Varnisht Flowers of Paradise.            [pinks - shining]

Then cloath therewith mine Understanding, Will,
Affections, Judgment, Conscience, Memory
My Words, and Actions, that their shine may fill
My wayes with glory and thee glorify.
Then mine apparel! shall display before yee
That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.

                                                                                                                                    spinning wheel, mother + child

Edward Taylor’s tombstone is in Westfield, MA
The town was incorporated in 1669.
It is just beyond present day Springfield, MA.

Harvard Square Library
PAL: Perspectives in American Literature
University of North Carolina
The Poems of Edward Taylor, ed. Donald E. Stanford on Google Books

Anne Bradstreet                 Anne Bradstreet

Meditation May 13, 1657

As spring the winter doth succeed
snowflakesAnd leaves the naked trees do dress,
The earth all black is clothed in green.
At sunshine each their joy express.

My sun's returned with healing wings,
My soul and body doth rejoice,
My heart exults and praises sings
To Him that heard my wailing voice.

My winter's past, my storms are gone,
And former clouds seem now all fled,
But if they must eclipse again,
I'll run where I was succored.

monarch butterfly

I have a shelter from the storm,
A shadow from the fainting heat,
I have access unto His throne,
Who is a God so wondrous great.

O hath Thou made my pilgrimage
Thus pleasant, fair, and good,
Blessed me in youth and elder age,
My Baca made a springing flood.

O studious am what I shall do
To show my duty with delight;
All I can give is but Thine own
And at the most a simple mite.

Anne Bradstreet


The Bay Psalm Book, 1640

A Psalme of David

The Lord to mee a shepherd is,       
want therefore shall not I,   
2 Hee in the folds of tender-grasse,
doth cause me downe to lie:
To waters calme me gently leads      

3    Restore my soule dothe hee:    
he doth in paths of righteousnes:      
   for his names sake leade mee.


4 Jea though in valley of deaths shade
I walk, none ill I’le feare:     
because thou art with mee, thy rod,   
and staffe my comfort are. 

5 For mee a table thou hast spread,
in presence of my foes:
thou dost annoynt my head with oyle,
my cup it over-flowes.

6 Goodness & mercy surely shall   
  all my dayes follow me:
and in the Lords house I shall dwell
    so long as dayes shall be.

Common Meter
Windsor or York Tune

                           Preface by
John Cotton

PSALME C          
A Psalme of prayse.          

Make yee a joyfull sounding noyse
          unto Jehovah, all the eartth:

2 Serve yee Jehovah with gladnes:
          before his presence come with mirth.

3 Know, that Jehovah he is God,
          who hath us formed it is hee,
and not our selves: his owne people
          and sheepe of his pasture are wee.
4 Enter into his gates with prayse,
          into his Courts with thankfullnes:
make yee confession unto him,
          and his name reverently blesse.
5 Because Jehovah he is good,
          for evermore is his mercy:
& unto generations all
          continue doth his verity.

          Long Meter
          Old Hundredth Psalm Tune

                           Preface by John Cotton

      The Psalterium Americanum, 1717

                    PSALM XXIII
                           A Psalm of David.

1) My Shepherd is th’ETERNAL God,
I shall not be in [any] want:
2) In pastures of a tender grass
He [ever] makes me to lie down:
To waters of Tranquillities
He gently carries me, [along.]
3) My feeble and my wandring soul
He [kindly] does fetch back again;
In the plain paths of righteousness
He does lead [and guide] me along,
because of the regard He has
[ever] unto His Glorious Name.
4) Yea, when I shall walk in the Vale
of the dark [dismal] shade of Death,
I’ll of no evil be afraid,
because thou [ever] art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff, these are what
yield [constant] comfort unto me.
5) A Table thou dost furnish out
richly [for me] before my face.
‘Tis in view of mine Enemies;
[And then] my head thou dost anoint
with fatning and perfuming Oil:
my cup it [ever] overflows.
6) Most certainly the thing that is
Good, with [most kind] Benignity,
This all the days that I do live
shall [still and] ever follow me;
Yea, I shall dwell, and Sabbatize,
even to [unknown] length of days,
Log’d in the House which does belong
to [Him Who’s] the ETERNAL God.

                   Long Meter
                   Old Hundredth Tune
                                       Cotton Mather

                PSALM C
               [PSALM 100]

1) Now unto the ETERNAL God
make you the joyful shouts
which are heard in a Jubilee,
and ye who dwell on Earth.
2) Yield service with a shining joy
to the ETERNAL God;
with joyful acclamations come
ye in before His face.
3) Know, That th’ETERNAL God, He’s God;
He made us, and we’re His;
we are His People, and we are
the Sheep which He does feed.
4) With due confesessions enter ye
His gates, His courts with Praise;
make due confessions unto Him;
speak ye well of His Name.
5) For the ETERNAL God is good;
His mercy is for e’er;
And unto Generations doth
His faithfulness endure.

          Common Meter
          Windsor or York Tunes

                                       Cotton Mather

"If any be afflicted, let him pray, and if any be merry, let him sing psalmes." James V.
"If therefore the verses are not alwayes so smooth and elegant as some may desire or expect; let them consider that Gods Altar needs not our pollishings."                  John Cotton

"The book of Psalms, in a translation exactly conformed unto the original; but all in blank verse, fitted unto the tunes commonly used in our churches. Which pure offering is accompanied with illustrations, digging for hidden treasures in it; and rules to employ it upon the glorious and various intentions of it. Whereto are added, some other portions of the Sacred Scripture to enrich the Cantional." [Song]                Cotton Mather.

                                              Cottton Mather's 'concordance' on the XXIII PSALM
Behold, the Confidence of the Church under the conduct of the Messiah:
He says, in John, Chapter X, verse 11:
                I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The Prophets have taught us how to apply the Psalm.
See Isa[iah] Chapter XL, verse 11:
                He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his                 heart; he gently leads those that have young.
In Jeremiah XXIII, we find:
                Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture, declares the                 LORD.
Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people:
                Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care                 on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done. I myself will gather the                 remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back
                to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place  shepherds over                 them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,

And in Ezekial, Chapter XXXIV, verses 11-17:
                For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
                As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.
                I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
                I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them
                into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the
                settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will
                be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a
                rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
                I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search
                for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the
                 sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

And in I Peter, Chapter II, verse 4 and verse 24:
                You were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your                 souls.
                And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade                 away.
Finally, in Hebrews, Chapter XIII, verse 20:
                May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead                 our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will,                 and may we work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever                 and ever. Amen.                                                                                         [Translations from the NIV Study Bible]

And, Christians, Why should not you find in your Secular Employments,
the Occasions of Divine, Devout, Heavenly Reflections!
David, a Shepherd, is led by Shepherdy, to think on the Heavenly Shepherd.
Drufius will have David now to think of Samuel’s Anointing of him.
Good and Benignity are Names of the Messiah.
Christian, Thou knowest why He should be called so.
In the Lminous Cloud, which like a Pillar did follow the Church in the Wilderness,
there was a marvellous Presence of the Messiah. May not this be here pointed at!
The Shelter which this Pillar gave, was that of an House.
With some eye to that Moses might say, PSALM XC. 1.
Thou hast been our dwelling place.
O LORD, thou hast been unto us from generation, to generation, a place of fixed mansion.

Frothingham               Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham (1793–1870)

The Juvenis Adorans

This antique statue, a youth praying, dug up from the Tiber in the pontificate of Clement XI., was presented by that Pope to Prince Eugene of Savoy. From him it passed into the possession of Prince Lichtenstein. Frederic II. of Prussia bought it for ten thousand thalers, and placed it in his palace at Potsdam. It is now one of the finest ornaments of the sculpture-gallery at Berlin.

TIBER’S yellow flood
Darkest tales can tell,
Where the mightiest stood,
How the haughtiest fell.

Tiber’s sedgy banks
Rustle with the past.
Ah, that Rome’s bright ranks
Should fade to this at last!

Tiber’s muddy bed!
Beneath thy burial lid—
If true what men have said—
Treasures of spoil lie hid.

And we were truly told.
From those foul deeps they raise
A form of vigorous mould;
And behold! he prays.

Not crouchingly he stands,
Not kneeling as in dread,
Not clasped his eager hands,
Not bowed his noble head.

His gaze is on the sky,
As if his trust were there;
His arms stretched wide and high,
As if his thanks were prayer.

His youth breathes strong of hope,
And life’s full, generous fires,
As towards that heavenly cope
He worships and aspires.

So at the Easter-tide
The churches rose and stood;
Throwing all stoop aside,
And every mournful mood.

O genius of new days!
Hail from thine ancient tomb;
Now let thy spirit’s blaze
Chase the old world of gloom.

Bright one! thine influence pour
On man so prone and sad;
And teach him how to adore,
And to be free and glad.

A Summer Evening

It is a lovely eve. Meek Twilight now
Begins her gentle, but too short-lived, reign.
The evening star glows in her radiant brow ;
The painted clouds, slow rising from the west,
Her robes of state ; her golden sandals press
The verge of heaven. It is a lovely eve.
How different from the morn, so lately seen!
Then all was life, and joy, and melody.
The sportive birds sang to the rising dawn,
And to the quickened sense the perfumed air
Seemed doubly fragrant, while the dewy grass
Glittered like Fancy's fairy-work ; - the sun
Looked on it longer, and the tints so brave
Like the gay dreams of youth dissolved in air.
Now all is calm and still. No more the groves
Echo the songsters' cheerful, various music.
Naught breaks the silence but the frog's rude croak
Discordant, jarring from the distant pool.
Yet say, is not such contemplative hour,
When all around breathes peace, more dear to thee
Than all the transient splendors of the morn?

But see! the sun, long sunk beneath the west,
Spreads his last glories o'er the evening cloud.
How many eyes, that mark his setting ray,
Shall never see his rising! Even so,
Father! for so it seemeth good to Thee.
The longest day that man must dwell on earth,
How short, how doubtful! Yet in this brief space
We toil, and strive, and sigh, and are content.
The twilight now has closed ; but all the scene
Of wonders is not ended. Crowning all,
The mystic Night, with all her train of worlds,
Appears sublime in beauty. Fancy now
Escapes from earth, and soars beyond the stars.
Dear sister, so let our short day be spent,
That, when our sun is set, its parting beams
May shine on years yet distant; and when Time
Has whelmed us in the wreck of all that's gone,
Our rising may be joyous!


Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham's Unitarianism, 1835

John Pierpoint                 John Pierpoint (1785-1866)

Pierpont was a Unitarian minister and one of the early American poets. His best known text is Jingle Bells. He took on the cause of Abolitionism, and resigned from his position at Hollis Street Church, around 1845 because he was ahead of his congregation on this and other public issues. At the outbreak of the Civil War, at seventy-six years of age, he volunteered as an army chaplain. Owing to poor health, he was transfered to the Treasury Department where he served until his death.

rainbow over pondO THOU, to whom in ancient time,
The lyre of Hebrew bards was strung,
Whom kings adored in song sublime,
And prophets praised with glowing tongue;

Not now on Zion's height alone
Thy favored worshipper may dwell,
Nor where, at sultry noon, thy Son
Sat weary by the patriarch's well.

From every place below the skies,
The grateful song, the fervent prayer,
The incense of the heart, may rise
To heaven, and find acceptance there.

O Thou, to whom, in ancient time,
The lyre of prophet bards was strung,
To Thee at last, in every clime,
Shall temples rise, and praise be sung.

GEORGE WASHINGTON                      

To Thee, beneath whose eye                                                               There like an angel form,
Each circling century                                                                           Sent down to still the storm,
Obedient rolls,                                                                                     Stood Washington:
Our nation, in its prime,                                                                       Clouds broke and rolled away:
Looked with a faith sublime,                                                                Foes fled in pale dismay;
And trusted, in “the time                                                                      Wreathed were his brows with bay,
That tried men’s souls,”                                                                       When war was done.

When, from this1 gate of heaven,                                                          God of our sires and sons,
People and priest were driven                                                               Let other Washingtons
By fire and sword,                                                                                Our country bless,
And, where thy saints had prayed,                                                        And, like the brave and wise
The harenessed war-horse neighed,                                                      Of by-gone centuries,
And horsemen’s trumpets brayed                                                         Show that true greatness lies
In harsh accord.                                                                                    In righteousness.

Nor was our father’s trust,
Thou mighty One, and just,                                                                  Sung to America
Then put to shame:                                                                   1Old South Church 2Dorchester Heights
“Up to the hills” for light,                                                        Written for the Celebration of the Centennial
Looked they in peril’s night,                                                    Anniversary of the Birthday of Washington
And, from yon guardian height,2                                                      Boston, February 22, 1832
Deliverance came.


Ralph Waldo Emerson                   Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Rhodora

On being asked, Whence is the flower?

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.

Music by Larry Thomas Bell

Two Rivers

Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
Repeats the music of the rain;
But sweeter rivers pulsing flit
Through thee, as thou through the Concord Plain.

Thou in thy narrow banks art pent:
The stream I love unbounded goes
Through flood and sea and firmament;
Through light, through life, it forward flows.

I see the inundation sweet,
I hear the spending of the steam
Through years, through men, through Nature fleet,
Through love and thought, through power and dream.

Musketaquit, a goblin strong,
Of shard and flint makes jewels gay;
They lose their grief who hear his song,
And where he winds is the day of day.

So forth and brighter fares my stream,--
Who drink it shall not thirst again;
No darkness taints its equal gleam,
And ages drop in it like rain.

Music by Larry Thomas Bell


Give All to Love

Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good-fame,
Plans, credit, and the Muse,-
Nothing refuse.
'Tis a brave master;
Let it have scope:
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope:
High and more high
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent;
But it is a god,
Knows its own path,
And the outlets of the sky.
It was not for the mean;
It requireth courage stout,
Souls above doubt,
Valor unbending;
It will reward,-
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.
Leave all for love;
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavor,-
Keep thee today,
To-morrow, forever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.
Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,
First vague shadow of surmise
Flits across her bosom young
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free;
Nor thou detain her vesture's hem,
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.

Music by Larry Thomas Bell

Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Music by Larry Thomas Bell

Bridge at Concord

ee cummings                 e e cummings

O sweet spontaneous                           
earth how often have                            

fingers of              
prurient philosophers pinched                

,has the naughty thumb                           
of science prodded                               

beauty             .how          
often have religions taken                      
thee upon their scraggy knees                
squeezing and                                       

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable                             
couch of death thy                                 

thou answerest

them only with                                       


ee cummings: Poet and Painter
Rev Edward Cummings Profile

Twenty-first Century Poets

John Burt                 
John Burt, Leader Hymn Writers' Workshop

Meeting from 1992 - 2002, members and friends of the Church joined with poet John Burt and composer/editor Leo Collins to give poetic and musical expression to Unitarian Universalist themes, from the Flower Communion to sung poetry based upon the seven covenanted Principles of Unitarian Universalism.

The Hymn Writers

Beverly Allen, Barbara & Stephen Anthony, Peter Banos, Lee Bluemel,
Westin Boer, Shuma Chakravarty, Joan Collins, Mary Collins, Paul Condon,
Brad Cullin, Yvonne Egdahl, Ann Fox, Christine Gainer, David Horst, Doris
Hunter, James H Jackson, Walter Jonas, Elizabeth & Stephen Kendrick,
Karen Larson, Lorna Lynch, Rosemary Mackown, Jane McKinnell, Branden
Miller, Elizabeth Rackemann, Anna & David Reno, George S Richardson,
Robert Schmalz, Vanessa Southern, Cynthia & Gilbert Steil, Jr, and Bill Walters

A Flower in the Wayside Blows
               Gifts of Grace

Written for Flower Communion

A flower in the wayside blows
For none at all, for all.
A random traveler takes a rose;
Its accidental call
Awakes a gladness in the heart.
It gathers unaware,
This boundless grace on nature’s part,
Unfolding everywhere.

Today we bring these gifts of grace
To share with one, with all.
Their beauty shines on every face;
And silently they call
The hidden love from every soul.
It blossoms pure and clear,
It makes our life and spirit whole,
Unfolding everywhere.

Like summer blooms sown far and wide,
So free is love to all;
For high and low on every side,
Who takes to heart this call
Takes up the gift to give again.
This love that we must share,
This grace of God that lives within,
Unfolding everywhere.

Hymn Tune for "'A Flower in the Wayside Blows"

A Never Ending Skein of Stars

Based on Unitarian Universalist Principle VII -
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence
of which we are a part.

When late at night we soar across the bleak forbidding sky,
A never ending skein of stars reels past the baffled eye.
And far below the brilliant nets of city lights sweep by,
They pulse alike with strangest life to make a soundless cry.

When from our dreams we start awake & feel that pulsing tide
Release and tense in every vein where blood and breathing ride;
And to the furthest filament come rushing rich and wide.
How densely life that swims and swirls has folded us inside.

When I am lost in doubt and dark, and not a soul is by,
I overhear you call aloud in longing, “What am I?”
Then each to each we turn and twine a spreading tapestry.
We wreathe and weave this scattered world into a unity.

What sweeps the stars in diamond strands familiar to our eyes
And shapes from scattered sprays of light a face we recognize?
What binds this sinew and this blood? What speaks a soul to rise?
The love that’s woven in the heart unfurls to deeps and skies.

Hymn Tune for "'A Never Ending Skein of Stars"

John Burt


Joan & Leo Collins                  Joan & Leo Collins


'Tis a Gift To Be Joyous
Joyous Gifts

Based on the Shaker Hymn "'Tis a Gift To Be Simple"

‘Tis a gift to be joyous, ‘tis a gift makes us sing,
‘Tis a gift of spirit brightens ev’rything;
It opens up the heart in a way just right
To live in the valley of love and delight.
When simple joyousness is gain’d,
to sing and to dance we shan’t be asham’d,
For joy, joy will be our delight
Till by joyous singing we come ‘round right.

‘Tis a gift to be honest, ‘tis a gift makes you free,
‘Tis a gift that takes you where you want to be.
For when we find ourselves with a truth so right,
‘Twill be in a garden of love and delight.
When simple honesty is gain’d,
To do and to be we shan’t be asham’d,
For truth, truth will be our delight
Till by truthful doing we come ‘round right.

‘Tis a gift to be loving, ‘tis a gift makes you true,
‘Tis a gift to care in all you have to do,
For then we find ourselves with a peace so right
As lives in the valley of love and delight.
When simple charity is gain’d,
To speak and to act we shan’t be asham’d,
For love, love will be our delight
Till by truly loving we come ‘round right.

Hymn Tune for "'Tis a Gift To Be Joyous"


George Richardson                 George Richardson

How Did Our World Come to Be?
                 Taught by Wonder

Based on Unitarian Universalist Principle IV -
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

How did our world come to be?
Was it born and did it grow?
It was born improbably,
Think and learn if you would know.

What will happen when we die?
How long will our planet last?
Futures are a mystery,
But no more so than the past.

If you want to understand
Things that you can never see,
Think of how the apple falls:
What it feels is gravity.

Those who search for what is real,
Not content to just pretend,
Know that what they think and feel
Turns to wonder at the end.

Taught by wonder, learning love,
Love of that which holds us all,
Dearer than a God above,
Hope and faith enough for all.

A Villanelle for Faith

Faith is love of all, and it is true.knowledge of world religions makes this plain.
Faith makes us strong to do what we must do.

Haters may seem many, lovers few,
but love outnumbered does not love in vain.
Faith is the widest love we know, and true.

Surely inspired lives give just a clue
of how faith might be lived, with might and main.
Faith makes us strong to do what we must do.

Love casts out hate. In its all-caring view
hate is murder, and the sin of Cain.
The love of all is Faith known to be true.

We must shun violence, and stop it, too —
with worldwide lasting peace our highest aim.
Faith makes us strong to do what we must do.

The world, and heaven, are not red, white, and blue.
The thought is sillier than it is profane.
Faith is love of all, and it is true
and with its strength we'll do what we must do.

                                                               Dance with Me

Come dance with me my love
dance while we are us
dance while us is we!

Dance by lying on the ground
swimming as you dance
as I bounce you on my knee

dance on my strong shoulders
as I lift you up aloft
swimming in the air

till "we chase through the branches
of the old oak tree, and fall
caressing curtains of the weeping willow tree!

When we're done with trees
I'll take you to the grass
and twirl you on your tiptoes

and twirling we will pass
till the tall grass is ours
and we are the grass!

Deep in the grass
tall as ourselves
we'll sway and we'll merge

till all the dancing grassland
is you, me

till all the dancing meadow
is ours

Dance With Me Cover

Adnan Onart                 Adnan Onart  

Morning Prayer

In a poor Istanbul neighborhood,
At the ground floor of our house,
My great-grandmother says:
It is time for morning prayer.

If you pray, she says, pure as a child,
From this corner of the room,
An angel will appear.

I am five years old closing my eyes.
Allahü Ekber.

Essallamü alleykü ve rahmetullah.
I am fifty opening my eyes.

In Boston, Massachusetts,
In a not so poor neighborhood
At the top floor of our house
Praying my morning prayer.

From that corner of the room,
My great-grandmother appears.

The Design of a City

This untiring city, İstanbul
changing her skin every thousand year,
invents a new semiotics for the glory
of our existence and its misery.

The sephardic synagogues, almost a rumor,
narrate Hassidic tales
in their self-effacing assertiveness.
Byzantine churches, hymns of space
step into a dance motionless.
The Ottoman mosques seriously
entrenched in functionality;
but joyfully frivolous with the minarets
tickle the tramways
of the early Republic days.

They are all speech acts
with unrestrained felicities –
jokes and prayers hidden between pauses
of millennium long phrases.

Old wooden houses
survivors of unforgiving fires,
with black faces, white embroidered smiles
recite Ghazals rhymed
with the smoothest cobblestones.

O İstanbul,
the patron saint
of all aspiring poets,
thank you for holding my hand
in this far away corner of the world,
in a language, in which
I cannot even swear.

The Curse of a City


When the newly recruited
young janissary
woke up in the early morning
in his tent
on one of my seven hills
near Tophane
and touched his sword,
issued the day before,
he imagined how easy it was
with a weapon like this
for the enemy
to slice his abdomen
in the battleground.
I took this image,
put it on my lips
as the most poisonous canker.

When the Circassian girl
looked one last time
across the dusty slave bazaar
to the sunset on my Golden Horn,
she imagined the hairy hands
of her new master
touching her
not yet fully formed breasts.
I took this image,
put it on my lips
as the most potent toxin.

When Sultan Osman, the 2nd
in a cold cell
in the dungeons
of my Yedikule Towers
escaped into the dark
to delay a minute or two
his royal strangulation,
he imagined the slender lieutenant
holding the rope,
getting decapitated
by the harem’s eunuchs.
I took this image,
put it on my lips
as the most deadly venom.


In a narrow street,
a scar on my breast:
I had given you birth
in an unexpectedly snowy
early spring night.

I was the one who put
the tongue of your mother
in your mouth
to swear more vociferously
than the bullies of all bullies,
to be as sweet as Turkish delights
in the letters
of your loves.

With my fragile minarets,
with my municipal brothels,
with my Ottoman legends,
and algebraically perfect domes,
I was the one, though
with whom you were in love
— not this doomsday brunette,
not that Mediterrenean sunny blonde.


You left me: I kiss you.

You will write poetry.

You will suffer all kinds of pains.

Adnan's Website
Adnan's Blog

Mary Collins                 Mary Collins

                                                     Let’s Grow A Rainbow

                                                      Based on Unitarian Universalist Principle III -
                  Acceptance of one another, and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.

Let’s grow a rainbow ‘round the earth
in ev’ry season of the year.
We’ll radiate and prize the good
we find in sister/brotherhood.
Let’s grow a rainbow ‘round the earth!

Let’s harvest bright red, yellow swirls
to dance an autumn carnival.
A tempo stok’d by spirit’s bliss
will whirl us into openness.
Let’s grow a rainbow ‘round the earth!

Let’s hum a cool blues mellow verse
in peace of winter’s quiet rest:
Grooving in time, reflecting life,
preparing plans to settle strife.
Let’s grow a rainbow ‘round the earth!

Let’s weave a wreathe, green with the mirth
of primavera love in bloom.
This arc will flow’r, belief will spring,
when hand in hand our joys we sing.
Let’s grow a rainbow ‘round the earth!

Let’s bring a warm gold, glowing faith
as sun and rain bring summer grace,
Give this celestial nimbus birth
from heartfelt sense of each one’s worth.
Let’s grow a rainbow ‘round the earth!

                                                  Hymn Tune for "Let's Grow a Rainbow"


If you join your own hand to your own hand,
press against leopard-spotted skin
half human, half animal,
if you remain still as though you’re awaiting
a parade of gazelles, or the arrival of sweet music
that will infuse your pores,
such music that will discover in your one body
the stretto of blood racing through your veins,
the not quite twitching of your toes,
your nostrils flaring like a beast in chase,
eyes that blink to hold back the psychedelic
bluegreen, yellow of memory,
if you remain without moving your tongue,
will the universe lay its head in your lap,
tell, even when weary of all those years of expansion,
all the years of migration,
tell of its inevitable arrowing into the human heart
by suckling at life's mystery?

Spring's Altar

ah, when I grow up
with each breath of spring
coloring a pastel séance
as blossoms form
in nature's temple

chattering birds
announce his returning
he who said so much
by birth
the golden star shines on
because the other side of death
is life
is love



organThe Organ’s Promontory        

Sharp angles of the organ's silver pipes’ casement
cause a mountainous vertigo from the congregants’ substratum .
Its sound constructs a scaffolding that supplants the placement 
of the gray walls in the church’s inner sanctum.

Entranced, she listens, and becomes a prayerful goat-herd
following a white, bearded goat and the forest flute.
Ringing notes, crisp and mellow, bright and shadowed
entice her up and up a timbre-lined route.

As the shutters, as the attack and release of the keys
shade and vary her pathway, she is drawn higher,
the pulling of the stops shifts flauto dolce to reeds,
the colors of the organ transcend beyond the spire,

and finally as the grand jeu is brought into play,
goat and goat-herd kaleidoscope onto the gray.

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