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The Living Temple
By Oliver Wendell Holmes


Not in the world of light alone,
Where God has built his blazing throne,
Nor yet alone in earth below,
With belted seas that come and go,
And endless isles of sunlit green,
Is all thy Maker's glory seen:
Look in upon thy wondrous frame,--
Eternal wisdom still the same!

The smooth, soft air with pulse-like waves
Flows murmuring through its hidden caves,
Whose streams of brightening purple rush,
Fired with a new and livelier blush,
While all their burden of decay
The ebbing current steals away,
And red with Nature's flame they start
From the warm fountains of the heart.

No rest that throbbing slave may ask,
Forever quivering o'er his task,
While far and wide a crimson jet
Leaps forth to fill the woven net
Which in unnumbered crossing tides
The flood of burning life divides,
Then, kindling each decaying part,
Creeps back to find the throbbing heart.

But warmed with that unchanging flame
Behold the outward moving frame,
Its living marbles jointed strong
With glistening band and silvery thong,
And linked to reason's guiding reins
By myriad rings in trembling chains,
Each graven with the threaded zone
Which claims it as the master's own.

See how yon beam of seeming white
Is braided out of seven-hued light,
Yet in those lucid globes no ray
By any chance shall break astray.
Hark how the rolling surge of sound,
Arches and spirals circling round,
Wakes the hushed spirit through thine ear
With music it is heaven to hear.

Then mark the cloven sphere that holds
All thought in its mysterious folds;
That feels sensation's faintest thrill,
And flashes forth the sovereign will;
Think on the stormy world that dwells
Locked in its dim and clustering cells!
The lightning gleams of power it sheds
Along its hollow glassy threads!

O Father! grant thy love divine
To make these mystic temples thine!
When wasting age and wearying strife
Have sapped the leaning walls of life,
When darkness gathers over all,
And the last tottering pillars fall,
Take the poor dust thy mercy warms,
And mould it into heavenly forms!

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More Oliver Wendell Holmes for more Old Ironsides photos (first set here for anyone who missed them). I suppose I really should know more about what Holmes did as a Supreme Court justice as well as a poet.

Still rethinking this journal some. No more Friday Five, I don't think, the questions just haven't inspired me all that much, though I might do it on a week when it excites me. No more personal politics either for the time being. I suppose I'd been operating on the assumption that my friends, the people who comment regularly, are the people who primarily care about what's in this journal and no one else would waste time or energy worrying about it, but have been realizing that is an illusion of safety. Yesterday I got a phone call from a woman in my neighborhood whom I've never met, who had found an address from the Star Trek fan club I used to run and discovered that I live practically around the corner from her. I don't know why this struck me as any stranger than getting e-mail from someone who discovered me the same way, which has happened many times. But I think I need to redraw my online boundaries.

Off to school orientation #2 for the week. School orientation #1 seems to have gone well, knock wood; my son has a class with each of his friends from his elementary school at his new middle school, and he was the only one of the three of them who got off at the right bus stop (my mother ended up having to bring the other two to their destination, since I had made her drive, being unsure of my ankle). Today's is the meeting with the teacher my older son had in second grade, an absolutely wonderful teacher, so it should be a happy reunion. Later they are having friends over and then we are having dinner with my parents so hopefully I can get done the work I could not get done yesterday!

Happy Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] maquismom!


The USS Constitution from the dock on the far side.


From just past security inside the navy yard.


Carronades on the spar deck.


Some of the paint detail on the front of the ship -- I love the little lion heads.


The rigging from beneath the bowsprit.


Don't Tread On Me.


View of the masts from the visitor's center at Charlestown Navy Yard.

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