Author:

Face To Face

Day after day, O lord of my life,
shall I stand before thee face to face.
With folded hands, O lord of all worlds,
shall I stand before thee face to face.

Under thy great sky in solitude and silence,
with humble heart shall I stand before thee face to face.

In this laborious world of thine, tumultuous with toil
and with struggle, among hurrying crowds
shall I stand before thee face to face.

And when my work shall be done in this world,
O King of kings, alone and speechless
shall I stand before thee face to face.

Colored Toys

When I bring to you colored toys, my child,
I understand why there is such a play of colors on clouds, on water,
and why flowers are painted in tints
—when I give colored toys to you, my child.

When I sing to make you dance
I truly now why there is music in leaves,
and why waves send their chorus of voices to the heart of the listening earth
—when I sing to make you dance.

When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands
I know why there is honey in the cup of the flowers
and why fruits are secretly filled with sweet juice
—when I bring sweet things to your greedy hands.

When I kiss your face to make you smile, my darling,
I surely understand what pleasure streams from the sky in morning light,
and what delight that is that is which the summer breeze brings to my body
—when I kiss you to make you smile.

Flower

Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! I fear lest it
droop and drop into the dust.

I may not find a place in thy garland, but honour it with a touch of
pain from thy hand and pluck it. I fear lest the day end before I am
aware, and the time of offering go by.

Though its colour be not deep and its smell be faint, use this flower
in thy service and pluck it while there is time.

Give Me Strength

This is my prayer to thee, my lord—strike,
strike at the root of penury in my heart.

Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.

Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.

Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might.

Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.

And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

Defamation

Whey are those tears in your eyes, my child?
How horrid of them to be always scolding you for nothing!
You have stained your fingers and face with ink while writing-
is that why they call you dirty?
O, fie! Would they dare to call the full moon dirty because
it has smudged its face with ink?
For every little trifle they blame you, my child. They are
ready to find fault for nothing.
You tore your clothes while playing-is that why they call you
untidy?
O, fie! What would they call an autumn morning that smiles
through its ragged clouds?
Take no heed of what they say to you, my child.
They make a long list of your misdeeds.
Everybody knows how you love sweet things-is that why they
call you greedy?
O, fie! What then would they call us who love you?

Farewell

I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers!
I bow to you all and take my departure.

Here I give back the keys of my door
—and I give up all claims to my house.
I only ask for last kind words from you.

We were neighbors for long,
but I received more than I could give.
Now the day has dawned
and the lamp that lit my dark corner is out.
A summons has come and I am ready for my journey.

A Moments Indulgence

I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side. The works
that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.

Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite,
and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.

Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and
the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.

Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing
dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.

Baby’s Way

If baby only wanted to, he could fly up to heaven this moment.
It is not for nothing that he does not leave us.
He loves to rest his head on mother’s bosom, and cannot ever
bear to lose sight of her.
Baby know all manner of wise words, though few on earth can
understand their meaning.
It is not for nothing that he never wants to speak.
The one thing he wants is to learn mother’s words from
mother’s lips. That is why he looks so innocent.
Baby had a heap of gold and pearls, yet he came like a beggar
on to this earth.
It is not for nothing he came in such a disguise.
This dear little naked mendicant pretends to be utterly
helpless, so that he may beg for mother’s wealth of love.
Baby was so free from every tie in the land of the tiny
crescent moon.
It was not for nothing he gave up his freedom.
He knows that there is room for endless joy in mother’s little
corner of a heart, and it is sweeter far than liberty to be caught
and pressed in her dear arms.
Baby never knew how to cry. He dwelt in the land of perfect
bliss.
It is not for nothing he has chosen to shed tears.
Though with the smile of his dear face he draws mother’s
yearning heart to him, yet his little cries over tiny troubles
weave the double bond of pity and love.

Closed Path

I thought that my voyage had come to its end
at the last limit of my power,—that the path before me was closed,
that provisions were exhausted
and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.

But I find that thy will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
new country is revealed with its wonders.

Authorship

You say that father write a lot of books, but what he write I don’t
understand.
He was reading to you all the evening, but could you really
make out what he meant?
What nice stores, mother, you can tell us! Why can’t father
write like that, I wonder?
Did he never hear from his own mother stories of giants and
fairies and princesses?
Has he forgotten them all?
Often when he gets late for his bath you have to and call him
an hundred times.
You wait and keep his dishes warm for him, but he goes on
writing and forgets.
Father always plays at making books.
If ever I go to play in father’s room, you come and call me,
"What a naughty child!"
If I make the slightest noise you say, "Don’t you see that
father’s at his work?"
What’s the fun of always writing and writing?
When I take up father’s pen or pencil and write upon his book
just as he does,-a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,-why do you get cross with me
then, mother?
You never say a word when father writes.
When my father wastes such heaps of paper, mother, you don’t
seem to mind at all.
But if I take only one sheet to take a boat with, you say,
"Child, how troublesome you are!"
What do you think of father’s spoiling sheets and sheets of
paper with black marks all over both sides?

Endless Time

Time is endless in thy hands, my lord.
There is none to count thy minutes.

Days and nights pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers.
Thou knowest how to wait.

Thy centuries follow each other perfecting a small wild flower.

We have no time to lose,
and having no time we must scramble for a chance.
We are too poor to be late.

And thus it is that time goes by
while I give it to every querulous man who claims it,
and thine altar is empty of all offerings to the last.

At the end of the day I hasten in fear lest thy gate be shut;
but I find that yet there is time.