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Jennifer Grassman

Recording Artist + Author + Mommy

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Poetry

What A 3,000 Year Old Poem Has To Say About Trump, Clinton, & Modern Politics

As I read through the Pslams with the girls, I am often struck by how relevant they are to our modern political and cultural plight. This of course should not be surprising, since the human hand that penned them was inspired and directed by a divine author who has known us heart and soul since before the dawn of time.

Today I read Psalm 146. In this simple and short poem, the Psalmist – who likely lived roughly 3,000 years ago – shares many of the same concerns as us today. He mentions oppression and persecution, poverty, wrongful imprisonment, sickness and a need for healing, depression, immigration, bigotry, single mothers, and orphans.

Are these not the very issues facing our nation today? Continue reading “What A 3,000 Year Old Poem Has To Say About Trump, Clinton, & Modern Politics”

A Conversation Between A Newborn & Her Mommy

“Mommy, please hold me,” the newborn said. “I have never been alone, and I don’t like it.”

“Oh darling,” Mommy said, “You’re never alone. Sometimes I have to set you down so I can take care of your big sisters, or make lunch, or take a shower, but Mommy is always nearby.”

“But Mommy,” the tiny baby insisted, “I need to hear your heartbeat. I’ve heard it all my whole life, and now I only hear it when you hold me very close.” Continue reading “A Conversation Between A Newborn & Her Mommy”

The Sunshine of Dawn: Reading the Bible Out Loud to a 3 Year Old Child

Whenever I read the Bible to my almost-three year old daughter, I reword things slightly so she can understand and connect with the passage. Today we read Proverbs 4. She interrupted after verse 9 and said that instead of a crown, she’d prefer sparkly shoes. I told her that was a wonderful idea, because if Wisdom gave her shoes, she’d always know the right way to go. Here’s what we read: Continue reading “The Sunshine of Dawn: Reading the Bible Out Loud to a 3 Year Old Child”

We are diamonds.

I remember the moment, 9 years ago, that my dad-in-law looked at my wedding ring diamond under a microscope. He said, “I’d know your diamond anywhere. It has a really unique imperfection.”

I think people are like diamonds. Continue reading “We are diamonds.”

Oh, that I had the wings of a dove …

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”

Dove, and the 'B' word I don't like.. First Explore!

Ferguson Riots: To Build Or To Destroy? (Poem)

I was going through photo albums tonight and found this anonymous poem tucked away on a piece of yellowed paper:

I saw them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in my home town.

With a heave and a ho and a “Yes! Yes!” yell
They swung a beam and a side wall fell. Continue reading “Ferguson Riots: To Build Or To Destroy? (Poem)”

Week 2 National Poetry Month: A Child, Good Friday, Easter Eggs, & Journey To The Center Of The Earth

OK, so technically, we’re in the third week of April. Bear with me here, because I’m running a tad behind (between pregnancy brain and mothering a toddler, this Momma-Bear is tired!), and anyway, you can’t rush art!  Here’s a collection of poems and lyrics for my second National Poetry Month installment, appropriately themed for Holy Week and Easter 🙂  Enjoy!

A CHILD
A child; the portrait of God,
Innocent, peaceful, and wise in simplicity.
A child; the portrait of how God intended mankind to be,
Before the fall, before death, before evil corrupted our hearts.
A child; the ideal of the Lord,
Joyful, content, trusting, imaginative, and wise in simplicity.

GOOD FRIDAY
I love my Great Redeemer
Because He first loved me
I love the One who died
And rose to set me free.

My sin, my sin, my Savior took
And hung upon a tree,
Amazing love! How can it be
That Jesus died for me?

Upon the cross He showed great love
Yet sorrow at His death,
“Oh, why have you forsaken me,
My God?” was His last breath.

The earth then shook, the curtain tore,
The dead rose from the grave,
And to this day we marvel at
The Life who died to save.

His evident divinity
The soldier then expressed,
“This man was the Son of God,
Surely,” he confessed.

And then they put Him in the tomb
Good Friday, mind it well;
The day before the day before
That Heaven conquered Hell.

My sin, my sin, my Savior took
And hung upon a tree,
Amazing love! How can it be
That Jesus died for me?

EASTER EGGS
Sweet bright eyes
Sweet bright smiles
Green grass, tiny feet;
See them run for,
See them search for,
Hidden treats to eat.

Hear the gasps
The gleeful squeals
Pink, violet, gold, and blue
“If you don’t find
Enough eggs, then
I’ll share mine with you.”

Now they’re sitting
Counting eggs from
Baskets made of straw
And every time
They open one
They gasp in joy-filled awe!

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
Lyrics by Jennifer Grassman for Orisonata

Come let us explore the chasms of the deep
Through the fiery dark; a journey to the center of the earth

My heart is fading fast (Down! Delve deeper!)
A search into the past my origins lie

Time presses on and presses back
Into the light, into the blackness
Dawn turns to dusk and fades away
Into the night, into our origins

Through the darkened veil
We see ourselves emerge
Not as angels bright, but monsters mutant, foolish and godless.

The sun is fading fast (Death! Delve deeper!)
Our fate lies in the past our origins lie!

And we fear that God lied to us
When He told us He was real

Time presses on and presses back
Into the light, into the blackness
Dawn turns to dusk and fades away
Into the night, into our origins.

All poems written by Jennifer Grassman, April, 2014.

Week 1 National Poetry Month: A Portrait of Midnight, The Window Fellow, Rainy Days & Writing

Well, I am a week late posting these, but better late than never, right?! Actually, now that I’ve entered the third trimester of pregnancy we had a few preterm labor scares earlier this month, and I honestly just wasn’t feeling poetic or bloggy.  Thankfully, the baby is safe, I am healthy (albeit dreadfully uncomfortable), and we’re crossing our fingers for a full term little girl in early July.

Originally, I was planning to blog five poems a week (including snippets from song lyrics and such) but a few of these poems took a little more TLC than I was anticipating, and I didn’t want to shortchange you.  Thankfully, they are better poems for it, so I hope you enjoy them:

 

A PORTRAIT OF MIDNIGHT

Falling, falling down forever
Pale and chilly came the moonlight
Casting diamonds on the river
Breaking through dark shades of night.

High aloft in yonder oak tree
To a silent audience
Sings the Mockingbird, though lonely,
Sings he with such confidence.

Darkness steals the vibrant colors
From the trees and flowers bright
From the red barn; grey it’s looming
Like a tombstone in the night.

Rising from the sleepy river
From the hollows and the trees
Creeps a fog of pallid silver
Strangely moving ‘gainst the breeze.

Like a mystic spell of stardust
Dew drops gather on cold ground
Dull and stripped of all its color
Yet sparkling bright without a sound.

 

THE WINDOW FELLOW

There he sits
Gazing out of the window
Into a world
Where he can never go
For he is small
And he is naïve
He is a house cat
Named Shadowfax.

He watches the lizards
He watches the birds
He watches the shadows
Creep across the lawn
All day he sits
On his windowsill perch
Content to observe
As he basks in the sun.

 

RAINY DAYS & WRITING

You’ll never find a cup of tea
Or pastry that’s to large for me
I love to think, and think, and write
On rainy days in grey-lorn light.

I love the sound of rain a-patting
On the roof and window splatting,
I love the rolls of thunder crashing
And the blaze of lightning flashing!

I love the fragrance of wet earth
As bathing sparrows splash with mirth
And cats watch from a distance, glumly
Wishing it were dry and sunny.

 

All poems written by Jennifer Grassman, April, 2014

The Highwayman: When Incredible Poetry & Exquisite Music Combine (Alfred Noyes & Loreena McKennitt)

As I mentioned in a recent review of Loreena McKennitt‘s new The Journey So Far ‘best of’ album, I missed seeing The Highwayman included in the track listing. Well, now you can hear why! Below I’ve including The Highwayman as well as Alfred Noyes’ original poem of tragic romance. Happy #MusicMonday!

Download The Highwayman MP3 via Amazon

The Highwayman
Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

PART ONE

I
THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
Riding—riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

II
He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

III
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

IV
And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—

V
“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

VI
He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i’ the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.

PART TWO

I
He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o’ the tawny sunset, before the rise o’ the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
Marching—marching—
King George’s men came matching, up to the old inn-door.

II
They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

III
They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
“Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

IV
She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

V
The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love’s refrain .

VI
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!

VII
Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

VIII
He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

IX
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

* * * * * *

X
And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
Riding—riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

XI
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

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