Our human family

Incredible images of some of the members of our human family, beautifully compiled and composed with Maya Angelou reciting from her powerful poem. To me, this iPhone ad is a work of art. I encourage us all to view this gem. The beauty it shares in one fast minute can help warm hearts and open minds. Let us remember how vast, and yet somehow small, our world is. Let’s know that each of us are part of a diverse and dynamic human family. Namaste.

Human Family, by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Worthy of remembering

People collect all manner of antique items. Dishes, paintings, furniture. I collect old poetry books. It matters not if they are tattered, if a page here or there is stained or missing. To discover an old, overlooked book of old-fashioned rhyming poetry in some obscure second hand bookstore or hidden thrift shop is a thrill for me! As I gently blow away the dust and peruse the old pages, my heart fills with joy. I have this sensation of rediscovering something important. There’s a part of my heart that whispers to the book and its poet. . . “I found you. I love you. You are not forgotten.”

gs-antique-poetryMy little collection of vintage poetry is, as you can see, a rather motley looking crew of old volumes. These well worn books are not only for display but also for reading and enjoying (albeit carefully). It’s part of my pleasure to keep them from being forgotten. Here is a glimpse into one of my oldest poetry books.

wilcox-1921-bookElla Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) was born in Johnstown, Wisconsin and her poetry was being published by the time she graduated from high school. Very popular, her poems were often written in plain, rhyming verse. My book of hers is “Poems of Pleasure” originally published in 1888. This small, soft, leather-bound book of 127 pages has a gilded design and lettering on the cover, but inside it is undated (perhaps the page is missing) however it was a gift to someone in 1921 according to the faint inscription. Regardless of its flaws and wear, and all the hands and hearts it has passed through, this beloved book now resides in my collection of very old, and deeply cherished, poetry books.


To poets and lovers of poetry everywhere, may you always be remembered.
[2017 © Professions for Peace]

Let Us Be Like A Wise Old Owl

A wise old owl sat in an oak

The more he saw the less he spoke

The less he spoke the more he heard

Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?


This old nursery rhyme was recorded as early as 1875 and is likely much older than that. It was quoted by John D. Rockefeller in 1915 and is often mis-attributed to Edward Hersey Richards. [source]

Image sources: Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, pair of Owls grooming

Sing On

joyful Maya AngelouI first heard this song from 1994 around that time on a Public Broadcasting Station (commercial-free radio!), allowing for this long song. Eight enjoyable minutes of movement-motivating music! This fantastic compilation by the talented Branford Marsalis and friends, which includes Maya Angelou reading some of her incredible poem, is delightful and makes me dance.

I hope this song brightens your heart and your day as it always does for me. May we remember our love for Maya with gratitude for her magnificent example, and how she blessed us with her years here. She will live on, forever in our hearts, and we are so thankful for all she shared. Namaste. Gina

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

(This is her complete poem; certain excerpts are in the song)

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Joy and Woe

Man was made for Joy and Woe,

And when this we rightly know,

Through the world we safely go;

Joy and Woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the soul divine.

~William Blake


Be An Instrument of Peace

“Daily prayer work creates a context for the transformation of who we are and what we do. Every morning we ask to be made new. Every evening we take stock of how well we did this day, where we rose up in glory and where we stumbled and fell. It’s very powerful to go over the events of our day mentally, as honestly as we can. God is not our judge but our Healer.” ~Marianne Williamson, Illuminata

“Rather than calling down Creation to fulfill our needs and desires, we must uplift our needs and desires so that Creation itself may be fulfilled.”

~Ann Mortifee, In Love With The Mystery


Stepping Stones

Talents are common; everyone has them. But rare is the courage to follow our talents where they lead.

destiny is a choice
stepping-stones crop“Some of us are so occupied with our goals – leaping ahead of ourselves to the end result – that we ignore the path and the process in-between. On the other hand, some of us get so disoriented or doubtful about how to get from here to there that we have trouble even setting our goals, or we get stuck on one step, suffering from tunnel vision.

“It helps to remember that if we want to climb a mountain, we need to form a goal, set out a direction, prepare well, and proceed in small, sure steps. We can break down any achievement, no matter how large or imposing, into discrete, manageable steps. If we want to ford a stream, we find the individual stepping-stones. If we try to leap over too many steps, sooner or later we’re going to slip.

“Many of us live only for the big highs, but forget that each small step up the mountain is higher than the last.” ~ Dan Millman


I do not ask to walk smooth paths

Nor bear an easy load

I pray for strength and fortitude

To climb the rock-strewn road.

Give me such courage I can scale

The hardest peaks alone

And transform every stumbling block

Into a stepping stone.

~Gail Brooke Burkett