Tarnished Knights

The Farming Daughter Blog: Tarnished Knights Poem ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/10/25/tarnished-knights/)

 

A recent conversation was the catalyst of inspiration for another poem.

What happens when our role models let us down? What happens when we grow up and discover that “super heroes” don’t exist, and things aren’t as good as they first seemed?

I think everyone has at least one point in their lives when they are personally slapped with this reality. As I contemplated, I decided we have two options: We can either allow ourselves to become disillusioned and cynical, or we can realize that every human, including ourselves, is inherently flawed and in need of a Savior. How blessed are we to have His grace made freely available to us!

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” -Romans 3:23&24

Tarnished Knights

Oh for the days when I was young and heroes were still real,
And gallant knights still dashed away in shining suits of steel,
When I viewed the world through child eyes and all seemed fair and right,
While my heart was full of confidence and belief burned ever bright.

How did I lose this rosy lens through once the world I saw?
When I only noticed noble deeds, without their twist or flaw.
Why has my champion fallen from his pedestal on high,
And left me disillusioned and my admiration dry?

T’would be simpler, I should think, if from youth we never grew.
Faith would be an easy thing if we never knew,
How swiftly mighty warriors to temptation weakly yield,
And those we marked as soldiers brave flee like cowards from the field.

The harshest teacher, Experience, has stripped my naiveté,
And changed my sunny morning into an afternoon of gray.
Those that once I trusted, whose ways I thought the best,
Now the simple act of honoring has itself become a test.

But hear a Voice that calls to me, “Trust not in princes that can’t save!”
“In mortal men who soon depart and return back to the grave.”
“Believe instead in the Holy One Whose goodness faileth never,”
“And Whose faithfulness will reign on high, Whose mercies last forever.”

Now, perhaps, I start to see, how this pain He works for good,
For I also am a sinner and often fail more than I should.
And this truth that holds for tarnished knights holds just the same for me,
Placed beside my wretchedness, the more amazing His grace will be.

-Michaela Richmond, “The Farming Daughter”

Monday, October 24, 2016

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The Bible Poem

On Thursday the 11th, as we sat talking to Mother…some one asked for Miriam. She went down, and presently I heard her thanking somebody for a letter…I ran back, and sitting at Mother’s feet, told her Miriam was coming with a letter from Lydia. “Mother! Mother!” a horrible voice cried, and before I could think who it was, Miriam rushed in, holding an open letter in her hand, and perfectly wild. “George is dead!”, she shrieked, and fell heavily to the ground.

-“A Confederate Girl’s Diary” by Sarah Morgan Dawson

The Farming Daughter: The Bible Poem (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/10/26/the-bible-poem/)
Photo by Emily Ann Putzke

While now we think of handwritten letters mainly as a quaint form of correspondence, during the Civil War letters were much more important. Letters were cables of communication connecting apprehensive families at home with their men far away at war. They were lifelines of relief, reassuring anxious mothers that their boys had survived the deadly battle. And all too often letters were the messengers of death, telling the sad tale of the fallen. Imagine waiting, possibly for weeks, between letters, never knowing what those sheets of paper would contain when they arrived.

I wrote this poem to include in a Civil War letter I was writing to a friend. I was inspired by the common practice of sending the remaining possessions of the dead back to the their families. Usually a letter would be written to a family by the deceased man’s commanding officer or comrade. The letter would explain the news of his death, and often times contain some trinket from the departed. A silver watch, a last letter, a lock of golden hair, a brass coat button, all offering one last tangible link with the loved one who had died, and was probably buried hundreds of miles away.

I also wanted this poem to depict the sentiments of death and dying held by most people in the 19th century, while also reflecting my own personal faith. Somewhat unconsciously I explored and juxtaposed the widely differing effect words have. How strange that the same twenty-six characters can be arranged to plunge a heart into the depths of despair, or raise their souls in glorious hope! I hope you enjoy reading The Bible.

 

The Bible

 

With bloodless white lips and ashen pale cheek

She took the small bundle, unable to speak

As cold premonition’s sharp claws gripped her throat

She steadied herself and read the short note

 

The letter was writ in a thick, unknown hand

And she sank to a chair, unable to stand

For Joseph, her dearest, ‘midst the thick storm of lead

Had not conquered triumphant, but was struck down instead

 

She glanced at her hand and the dainty gold ring

How bitter the blow and full cruel the sting!

That cut down their hopes so recent in bloom

Now laid like her sweetheart in the black of the tomb

 

Intensely, but softly she wept in her grief

And the rivulet of tears found no relief

Her thin shoulders shook and she let out a moan

As she thought of her Joe dying unaided, alone

 

At last, sorrow spent, she shuddered a sigh

And chancing a look down something appeared in her eye

In her haste she had forgot that in the bundle was more

And when sorrow struck, it had dropped to the floor

 

Curious, she picked up the ponderous thing

And gently unloosed its wrap of paper and string

And lo! In her lap fell a small leather book

That she herself bought and with him Joe took

 

Tenderly she stroked the cover, smooth from much use

And fingered the thin pages that were starting to loose

A few of the leaves were smudged black with powder

And she thought of him reading as the cannon boomed louder

 

Tucked ‘tween the pages she found something there

A photograph of her image and a lock of her hair

These three treasured possessions that he carried always

On march, into battle, and in the last fray

 

Holding a passage was a silk ribbon of red

That she had pulled from her tresses, her heart full of dread

The marked verses were spotted with the salty tear’s stain

Mute evidence of the hope ‘midst the deep sorrow gained

 

And inscribed near the front in two simple lines

She read what she had written in happier times

“I commend thee to God, Joseph my love,

We shall soon meet again, or else meet above.”

 

These simple words, the work of her pen

Like bread on the water had come back again

For God knew the hour, the minute, the day

When her Joe would be taken and carried away

 

Then the promise of the Lord gave strength to her heart

And she knew those in Christ would not long be apart

For on that bright morning when the last trumpet will sound

The dead will arise, and the lost will be found.

 

-Michaela Richmond

October 20, 2015

Jurassic World

The Farming Daughter: Jurassic World movie review (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/06/30/jurassic-world/)

As administrator of Jurassic World, Claire Dearing has a lot on her plate. Maintaining a 90% approval rating for a park of twenty thousand people isn’t easy, especially when T. Rexs just aren’t wowing the crowds like they used to. And, of course, we don’t want an incident like “the last time”. Not to worry though, the park’s newest attraction, a lab created dino hybrid, is sure to scare the kids…and their parents.

When Zach and Gray come to visit, Claire is a little too preoccupied to have quality auntie/nephew bonding time. Besides, it’s not like she hasn’t seen them in seven years. Oh wait, she hasn’t. Ah well, with VIP passes and Claire’s English assistant to act as nanny, the boys should be fine, even if Zach tends to be rather overbearing to his enthusiastic little brother.

Everything does seem to be going well, until Indominus Rex decides she isn’t content to simply sit back and attract the tourists. The dino begins displaying attributes and intelligence far beyond what her creators ever imagined, and is soon running rampant through the park, with the expected ensuing destruction and chaos. It’s then up to Claire, Zach, Gray, and raptor-handler and former Navy man Owen, to stop I. Rex before it’s too late.

My granny took Addie, Mason, and I to see Jurassic World and we really did enjoy the classic Jurassic experience of chills and thrills. The movie also makes some good points about family and priorities. Self assured Claire is completely consumed with her job, leaving little time or respect for others (on Claire and Owen’s first, and only, date, Claire wrote an itinerary for them to follow). As dinosaurs begin to rampage, however, she learns the importance of depending on and accepting help from others. Likewise, Zach is churlish and impatient with his exuberant younger sibling. It’s only until his and Gray’s lives are at stake that he realizes how much he loves his little brother and begins to defend and comfort Gray.

I also appreciated the parts that pondered the ethics of creating such a fearsome creature as Indominus Rex. When Claire is hesitant to use real bullets on the berserk dinosaur, saying she doesn’t want to turn the park into a war zone, Owen points out, “You already have.”

 Of course the movie has its share of issues, not least of which is the amount of violence subjected to the audience. A film whose basic plot is a dinosaur running amok in an amusement park is bound to contain destruction and mayhem, but Jurassic World seems to delight in showing us every possible way a human can be killed by a dino. People are crushed, tossed, smashed, clawed, and eaten at a frightening rate, many of them unprotected park goers. And while I’m sure the young man sitting next to us appreciated the excuse to wrap his girlfriend with a reassuring arm, it left me thinking.

Does the movie really need that much brutality and bloodshed? I know it’s an action/adventure dinosaur film, but the makers seemed to delight in showing us gratuitous violence. “It’s just a movie,” some people might say, and they’re right. But the things we feed our minds will shape who we are. Maybe watching an overly violent film isn’t going to hurt us, but what happens when violence in films becomes accepted and even expected? Aren’t we in danger of being left desensitized and calloused?

Claire explained how people were no longer satisfied with normal dinosaurs. Consumers want them “bigger, louder, with more teeth”, she says. Maybe we’ve become the same with our movies. But when will we say enough is enough? And will it be before we get consumed?

-The Farming Daughter

Now He Belongs to the Ages

Sesquicentennial of the death of Abraham Lincoln Poem

 

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. As a tribute I have written this poem:

 

Now He Belongs to the Ages

 

Our country rejoices in peace come at last,

Now avarice and strife are confined to the past.

The sword it is shivered and there in its stead,

The olive branch waves o’er the field of the dead.

 

The four years long struggle is finally done,

The dark night is finished and bright dawns the sun,

The cannons have ceased their deafening roar,

While the shriek of the fife resounds never more.

 

Our banner victorious, we broke tyranny’s chain,

And joined North and South together again.

Exult all ye people, from East to the West,

We have withstood the fires and passed through the test!

 

But what is this shadow that’s lending its pall,

And turned sweetest vict’ry to bitterest gall?

The loathsome assassin has fired a blow,

That found its dread mark and laid our Chief low.

 

The Jubilee is quenched on this blackest of days,

And hope fallen cold where our brave Captain lays.

The time of our triumph intended for gladness,

Is drained of its joy and instead changed to sadness.

 

How little we valued while he was yet ours,

And failed to acknowledge the strength of his powers.

When he was among us, his greatness too near,

Now that he’s left us the truth becomes clear.

 

He was man of the people and yet stood alone,

Whom many have seen, but little have known.

Open and frank, yet guarded, contained,

Laughingly cheerful mixed with sadness and pain.

 

He was kind and forgiving, but solid and steady,

Deliberate and patient, yet active and ready,

Humble of character and humble of birth,

That belied his significance and obscured his worth.

 

Oh anomaly of men! Our comprehension failed,

Until his spirit had already passed through the veil.

Now he is counted among the rulers and sages,

He is no longer ours, now he belongs to the ages.

 

-Michaela Richmond

April 15, 2015

My Mother Will Never

Mom & Evie photo by Emily Ann
photo by Emily Ann

My mother will never fully know the importance of her words,

How each and every kindly phrase like armor ’round me girds.

No criticism can hurt me, no rumor stab my back,

With my mother’s uplifting praises no confidence I’ll lack.

 

My mother will never understand her gift of patient love,

How her sacrificial actions point to our God above.

She thinks no one sees her as she does her menial part,

But she doesn’t know she’s teaching me about a servant’s heart.

 

My mother will never be able to grasp the necessity of her prayers,

That all her heartfelt cries to God protect me from life’s snares,

That every single word and cry she utters for my sake

Will help keep me on the narrow path and from the fiery lake.

 

My mother will never clearly see the power of her teaching.

Because of her imparted knowledge for the stars I’ll keep on reaching.

Her wisdom is like rubies that I’ll treasure as a gift,

On the Rock of Truth she’s taught me my life won’t slip or shift.

 

My mother will never realize the aid of her correction,

When her firm but gentle reprimands showed me the right direction.

It may have felt like a battle to teach me right from wrong,

But now I follow Jesus’ truth instead of evil’s throng.

 

My mother will never appreciate the value of her life,

Or the comfort of her warm embrace amidst our fears and strife.

She always underestimates the great power that she wields,

That her smiles are like sweetest balm and her courage like a shield.

 

My mother will never receive the praise that is her rightful due.

For some reason we tend to overlook what is ever in our view.

But I’d like to say on behalf of myself, my sisters, and my brothers,

We would would never be who we are today if it wasn’t for our mother!

 

– Michaela A. Richmond

May 11, 2013

 

To the best mom in the world, Happy Mother’s Day! I ❤ u!

Bury Me in My Boots

Bury me in my boots, yeah that’s the way it’s gonna be,

Cuz’ nothing on earth can take this farm girl life from me.

The days when life is boring are far between and few,

Nowhere else in the world is the sky so big and blue.

We are the land’s caretaker, with planting and harvesting sense,

That’s why the grass is always greener on our side of the fence.

The air is always sweeter with the wind blowing in my hair,

If there’s a more perfect place you’ll have to take me there.

Out here the trucks are bigger, the tractors always red,

No abode was ever dearer than the good old homestead.

We work out in the field putting dried hay into bales,

But employee of the month is the creature with the tail.

Whether climbing in the mow or playing in the mud,

No one ever understands how farming gets in your blood.

The eggs are always warm; the milk is always fresh,

A little piece of heaven if I had to guess.

Sure the days are long and the work and toil is rough,

But we’re farm born and raised and built of sterner stuff.

We can brave the ice and cold and take the heat and sun,

We do our labor of love until the job is done.

We aren’t afraid of slivers or measly paper cuts,

We can carry calves on our shoulders and pull tractors out of ruts.

But even when it’s hard and the push comes to the shove,

This is the life I choose, it is the one I love.

So bury me in my boots under a canopy of sky,

Because I will be a farm girl until the day I die.

-Michaela

September 5, 2012

(photo courtesy of Emily)
(photo courtesy of Emily)

By the way, not only was this post inspired by my love of farming, but also because my favorite pair of rubber boots that were actually cute blew a hole and started to leak. If anyone knows of cute rubber boots that are built for actual farm work (as apposed to just being a fashion statement) please let me know!