Simple Gifts by Elder Joseph Brackett

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicitiy is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come’round right.

Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

Keeping Quiet

by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves
with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Excerpts from Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman

…I am larger, better than I thought; 
I did not know I held so much goodness. . . . From this hour, freedom!  From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, 
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
Listening to others, and considering well what they say, 
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, 
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me . . . 

Excerpt from Meditation 17 by John Donne, 1623

No man is an island,
entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were.
as well as if a manor of thy friend’s
or of thine own were.
Any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind;
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.