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Literary Calligraphy by Susan Loy


 

"TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS"
Clement Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave a lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.

(continuing inside card and/or from "A Visit from St, Nicholas")

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedlar just opening his pack.
His eyes - how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill'd all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night".

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ODE TO BEAUTY
Various

Lower left: Emerson, from "The Rhodora." Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why This charm is wasted on 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.

Lower right: Hopkins, from "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo." Resign them, sign them, seal them, send them, motion them with breath, And with sighs soaring, soaring sighs, deliver Them; beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before death Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty's self and beauty's giver.

Center: Hopkins, from "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo." Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty's self and beauty's giver.

Upper left: Dickinson, from #1474. For Beauty is Infinity - And power to be finite ceased Before Identity was leased.

Upper left: Psalms 29:2, ...worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Upper left: Emerson, Beauty is the creator of the universe.

Upper right: Shakespeare, from Sonnet 54. O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!

Upper right: Keats, from "Ode to a Grecian Urn." "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

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OLIVE: PEACE
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is a sadness, joy...

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PANSY: THOUGHTS
Philippians 4:8

whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

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PAPERWHITE NARCISSUS
Isaiah 35: 1-2

"The desert shall rejoice and blossom... It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing."

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PEACE ANGEL
Mark Twain

"Christmas is here" eighteen hundred and sixty-nine years ago the stars were shedding a purer lustre above the barren hills of Bethlehem, and possibly flowers were being charmed to life in the dismal plain where the shepherds watched their flocks, and the hovering angels were singing, peace on earth..."

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) first wrote this poetic description of the Nativity in a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks, dated December 24, 1868, and it was subsequently published in the Cleveland Herald on January 16, 1869.

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PETER PAN
J.M. Barrie

"Wake up," she cried, "Peter Pan has come and he is to teach us to fly..." "You just think lovely wonderful thoughts," Peter explained, "and they lift you up in the air."

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POPPIES
Author unknown

"The little cares that fretted me, I lost them yesterday.
among the fields, above the sea, among the winds at play;
among the lowing of the herds, the rustling of the trees,
among the singing of the birds, the humming of the bees.
The foolish fears of what may pass, I cast them all away,
among the clover-scented grass, among the new-mown hay;
among the husking of the corn, where drowsy poppies nod,
where ill thoughts die and good are born, out in the fields with God."

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PRACTICING PEACE
Cathryn Hankla

It's not an idea. As an idea, it's no more powerful than war. It's not a demonstration. We can carry signs on behalf of other problems. It's not an admonition; reproach cannot produce it. It's not historical; we cannot look back and retrieve it. It's not human nature, not a natural behavior. Primitive, we would not know it any better. It might be uncertain. It might be an endless pursuit. It might be a state of mind. It might be a journey. It might be pure energy. It might be a dream. Peaceful is not something we are, that we decided once, or something we do, that is the only route. Like forgiveness, peace is a practice. Moment to moment, it's how we choose to be: when the grill won't start, when the dog keeps barking, when the check bounces, when the train is late, when we are angry and searching for someone to blame.

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THE PREAMBLE
The Constitution of the United States

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

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PRIESTLY BLESSINGS
Numbers 6: 24-26

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; The Lord make
His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace.

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PURPLE FINCH
Thoreau

"A little girl has just brought me a purple finch or American linnet. These birds are now moving south. It reminds me of the pine and spruce, and the juniper and cedar on whose berries it feeds. It has the crimson hues of the October evenings, and its plumage still shines as if it had caught some of their tints (beams?). We know it chiefly as a traveller. It reminds me of many things I had forgotten. Many a serene evening lies snugly packed under its wing. Journal, October 7, 1842."

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