“A Bouquet of Summer Poems”

For this informal poetry service, we will sit in a semicircle and read to each other from a packet of poems about summer.  You can choose a poem from the handout to read aloud.  There will be several poems suitable for children.  If you usually attend on Zoom, come prepared with a favorite.  If would like to read an original poem, please send the text to Christina Gibbons by July 2 for inclusion in the packet.

We anticipate that this service will be both in-person and on Zoom. Click right here Sunday shortly before 10:00 a.m. to join via Zoom. Click here to read our protocols

“A Bouquet of Summer Poems”

Worship Leader: Christina Gibbons
Greeter: Lois Reynolds

Order of Service 
Sunday, July 9, 2023

Board Welcome & Announcements                                                Carla Fogg

Prelude    The Summer Knows  Michel Legrande
    Peter Gibbons, viola; Eva Greene, piano

Chalice Lighting adapted from Helen Cohen                                Kit Whallon
We stand at the edge of summer.  The sun has at last warmed us enough that we begin to trust in its presence.  The last burst of spring blossoms, lavender and white and deep pink banks of rhododendron, are giving way to summer lilies and roses.  O source of the turning seasons, of earth, of life, of promise gradually becoming fulfillment, may we find a lightening of our burdens as we light our chalice today.

Lighting Our Children’s Chalice
We light this chalice to celebrate Unitarian Universalism. We are the church of the open minds. We are the church of the helping hands.  We are the church of the loving hearts.

Introduction                                                                          Christina Gibbons                                      

Opening Hymn #41 You That Have Spent the Silent Night

Time For All Ages: Three poems from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson    read by  Christina Gibbons

My Shadow
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from his heels up to his head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-
Not at all like proper children which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think it shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

Where go the Boats?
Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.
It flows along forever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating-
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore

At the Seaside
When I was down beside the sea,
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more.

A poem from When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne: Samd Betweem the Toes   read by  John Spicer

Sand-Between-The-Toes by A.A. Milne
I went down to the shouting sea,
Taking Christopher down with me,
For nurse had given us sixpence each-
And down we went to the beach.

We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,
And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.
Whenever a good nor’wester blows,
Christopher is certain of

The sea was galloping grey and white;
Christopher clutched his sixpence tight;
We clambered over the humping sand-
And Christopher held my hand.

We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,
And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.
Whenever a good nor’wester blows,
Christopher is certain of

There was a roaring in the sky;
The sea-gulls cried as they blew by;
We tried to talk, but had to shout-
Nobody else was out.

When we got home, we had sand in the hair,
In the eyes and the ears and everywhere;
Whenever a good nor’wester blows,
Christopher is found with

Song:  Sure on this Shining Night
  poem by James Agee, music by Samuel Barber,
                     sung by Catie G. Berg
Sure on this shining night
Of star made shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.
The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand’ring far alone
Of shadows on the stars.

On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman      read by Maisie Crowther
On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.

A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.

Summer by Robin Costa Lewis     read by Elizabeth Lewis
Last summer, two discrete
young snakes left their skin
on my small porch,
two mornings in a row.

Being postmodern now,
I pretended as if I did not see
them, nor understand what I knew
to be circling inside me.

Instead, every hour I told my son
to stop with his incessant back-chat.
I peeled a banana. And cursed God—His arrogance,

His gall—to still expect our devotion
after creating love. And mosquitoes.
I showed my son the papery dead skins so he could know, too,

what it feels like when something shows up at your door—twice—
telling you what you already know.

No Name by Emily Berry            read by Elizabeth Lewis
What can I tell you? It was a summer that seemed to be making history — their personal history — almost before it began, and they stood back slightly, still in it, but observing it, saying “the summer this,” “the summer that,” all the while it was going on.

They became obsessed with a fountain, for example, one they walked past each day, how abundantly it would reach upwards and yet be pouring back down itself the whole time — all winter this fountain
had been dry, not saying a word.
What more can I tell you?

Oh, everything — like how they would walk home in the evenings when the light was soft, anything bad sliding off them, and they would feel owned, completely owned, in a good way, by the air, which would touch them constantly,

sometimes urgently, sometimes lightly, just to let them know it was there,
and they would think maybe this is what being alive is, when they saw how complicated a tree was and how it wanted them looking at it and saying this,

how the color of a particular flower at this particular moment was redder even than the life force, whatever that is, if you could open it up and get right down inside it, if you could put your mouth to it and become as red as that rose even, it was still redder than that, and they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves

so they wouldn’t do anything except listen to the songs in their heads which were sad ones like nearly all good songs and watch this feeling rolling in, sunshine or rain, we don’t know yet,

it’s a good one, it’s the best one, though it has no name.

Taste This by Ed Burke
Take the evening sun,

place it in a teaspoon.

Add the bird chatter

and the faintest breeze.

Sip it. Sip again.

Taste this.

Two Poems by Heide Bredfeldt
You never said” how beautiful the wind’s breath in fall”
Or laughed away the bird’s formations high in the sky
Nor ever kissed a star
When time and space celebrated life
For you went on a run
To know the world as the world knows you
While seasons ride a wave
Buds bursts
Before the heat of Sommer
And Autumn’s fallen splendor
Cloak the barren trees
Soon white and icy grip the world will slumber
Change doesn’t seek as loved ones
Those they love
Hair be gray
And eyes dried
And love is done
For you went on a run.

The next one is a good- bye / 8 /28/22
Days spill into next days, weeks, years
Fern dance in the wind by my open windows
Oak branches hover over our home
Our new house is painted yellow
You wanted it that way
Your ashes are waiting on the bookshelf
To go back to the Farm
The garden is missing you there
To lie in peace, buried among roots
Waiting for me to join you.

Hymn # 322  Thanks Be For These

Two Poems  by Tom Baehr
Capture the Flag, Boys Against the Girls,  July, 1954 
“Okay, okay, I got a plan,” said Nick.
The other boys leaned close to hear him out.
“Now, Howie: Circle ‘round and to your right
And hide behind the maple tree. Okay?

Don’t move until you hear me bark.”
“Like Spike?”
“No–more like Henry. You know: ruff, ruff, ruff.
And Ben: Go out into the field and yell
And scream and try to draw…”

“Aw, Nick,” he cried. “Why do I always hafta
be the sacrifi-mf-mf-mf-mf-mf?”
“Shh!” hissed Nick.
“You’ll give away our hiding place!
And anyway, we’ll rescue you along with Jake and Fred.

And don’t forget that Pam and her team agreed that if we win,
We get to see their…”

“Nicholas! Oh, Benjamin and Pamela!
Time for bed! Come on in!”

“Aw, shit!”
“Oh, damn!”
“Guess we better stop.”

“Game’s over, girls! Gotta go!
We’ll hafta start over tomorrow.
And don’t forget the deal we made, okay?”

Parallel piles of cut grass curve back for the road,
behind the old white farm house and to the other side.
Must be good drying weather, to let it sit like that,
waiting for the ancient tractor pulling a more ancient baler
to follow the green helix, p-tooing great chaws of green rectangles
into the decrepit wagon, the caboose of this trackless train.

Two days later, it’s all gone, the field reduced to a scruffy lawn.
The big field down and across the road had also been cut,
leaving not rows, but a thick emerald partless thatch of a giant toupé.
It’s gone now too, doffed to reveal acres of stubble,
praying for the rain unwanted while piles were drying
so that the grass will grow to great lengths, ready to be cut again.

Happiness Makes Up in Height for What it Lacks in Length by Robert Frost   read by Martha Nelson
Oh stormy, stormy world,
The days you were not swirled
Around with mist and cloud,
Or wrapped as in a shroud,
And the sun’s brilliant ball
Was not in part or all
Obscured from mortal view,
Were days so very few
I can but wonder whence
I get the lasting sense
Of so much warmth and light.
If my mistrust is right
It may be altogether
From one day’s perfect weather
When starting clear at dawn
The day went clearly on
To finish clear at eve.
I verily believe
My fair impression may
Be all from that one day
No shadow crossed but ours
As through the blazing flowers
We went from house to wood
For change of solitude.

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver  read by Karen Tyler
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean —
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down —
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Offering shared with The Minister’s Discretionary Fund

Offertory:   Azulão   Jayme Ovalle  
    Eva Greene, piano

Reflecting on the Candles of Joys and Concerns

Closing Hymn  #326  Let All The Beauty We Have Known

Extinguishing the Chalice                         Kit Whallon
We extinguish our chalice, but carry with us the joy of community cradled  in the arms of summer.

Closing Circle: Carry the flame of peace and love
                               Until we meet again. (sung two times)
Benediction                                              Christina Gibbons
May  the echoes of the poetry and music we have heard today surround and bless us until we are together again.