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Category: Poets’ Pavilion

The Burns of Oregon

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Photo by Brian Hackworth from Pexels

All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 ESV


Benjamin and Nancy Simpson added to their family a son, Samuel, born on November 10, 1845, in Missouri. While still an infant, they moved to Oregon. Benjamin was a builder of roads and a politician of Oregon, shaping the state of Oregon. He also, by moving, made a lasting impact on Samuel, who grew to love the beautiful geography of the state.

Samuel primarily wrote poems but also wrote stories rich with character descriptions based on officers and Native Americans at Fort Yamhill. He published stories and poems in magazines and newspapers.

The poem he is known for, “Beautiful Willamette”, is a tribute to the beauty of the Willamette Valley. You can envision it just by listening to the first stanza.

From the Cascades’ frozen gorges,
Leaping like a child at play,
Winding, widening through the valley,
Bright Willamette glides away;
Onward ever,
Lovely river,
Softly calling to the sea,
Time, that scars us,
Maims and mars us,
Leaves no track or trench of thee.

He left a poetic void in Oregon after his death. Harvey Scott, an editor of The Oregonian, said his death “leaves Oregon with no poet of merit or reputation.”

Posthumously published in 1910, The Gold-Gated West contained a collection of his poems and songs.

The people and geography inspired his prolific writing. All writing has a setting, whether stated overtly or not. Oregon inspired him to write and his writing well never ran dry, it constantly replenished.

The Holy Spirit will replenish our sea of ideas if we call on Him.


On a side note, as I was researching ideas for this last Poets’ Pavilion, I noticed a few items of interest:

  • Samuel Simpson’s family moved from Missouri to Oregon.
  • He was born on the Marine Corps birthday and spent time on a military base.
  • His love of the Oregon landscape brought words to the page.

I am retiring Poets’ Pavilion and will segue into Oregon’s Beacons, same devotional format with a new subject.


The MP3 version

Poets' Pavilion

Celebrating Our Events

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Photo by Donovan Reeves on Unsplash

During the dedication of the new Jerusalem wall, all the Levites throughout the land came to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies and to take part in the joyous occasion with their thanksgiving, cymbals, psaltries, and harps.
Nehemiah 12:27 TLB


Occasional poetry is, as the name suggests, poetry written for an occasion. The emotional range is wide: it can be celebratory or a time of grief. German writer Goethe (18th through the 19th century) wrote that occasional poetry was “the first and most genuine of all kinds of poetry.”

United States poet laureates are assigned the task of writing occasional poetry.

Though Robert Frost wrote The Gift Outright in 1942, he read it at President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. And although most Americans don’t think of The Battle Hymn of the Republic as an occasional poem, it is.

Nehemiah rebuilt the wall. And when it was finished, they celebrated.

Poets' Pavilion

Anchored In Dance

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
Hebrews 6:19 NKJV


In Praise of Dancing
St. Augustine
I praise the dance, for it frees people
from the heaviness of matter
and binds the isolated to community.
I praise the dance, which demands everything:
health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.
Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people,
who are in constant danger of becoming all brain,
will, or feeling.
Dancing demands a whole person, one who is
firmly anchored in the center of his life, who is
not obsessed by lust for people and things
and the demon of isolation in his own ego.
Dancing demands a freed person, one who vibrates
with the balance of all his powers.
I praise the dance.
O man, learn to dance, or else the angels in heaven
will not know what to do with you.

In my younger years, I danced in ballet and tap classes, and during college, I took a modern dance class. The pictures of me in a tutu and ballet slippers lay in a box with other photographs.

I still dance while doing the dishes or only to express my joy.

This expression, this dance — my Lord of the dance has sustained me, has been my anchor during the dark days of today.

Put on your ballet slippers, tap shoes, or whatever footwear you have (modern dance uses your bare feet) and express your joy in the Lord in an upside-down world.

Poets' Pavilion

Old Loss New Beginnings

I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you.
Zephaniah 3:18 NIV


Alfred Lord Tennyson published “In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]” anonymously. This section is one of many that took him from 1833 to 1850 to write. Through his writing, he processed the deep pain of losing a friend.

As I read this poem, it spoke to me the miracle of new beginnings even in a time of deep suffering like we see ourselves in today. I, too, lost one of my best friends this past year.

Poets' Pavilion

Crackin’ the Poetry Books


A wise man will hear and grow in learning. A man of understanding will become able to understand a saying and a picture-story, the words of the wise and what they mean.
Proverbs 1:5-6 NLV


When I was ready to take writing poetry seriously, I went to my default setting of books. By the time I was finished with one, it was liberally highlighted with either pencil or a yellow highlighter.

Poetry for Dummies was my first. It gave me a broad overview of everything poetry. Then I read any recommendation lists or reader reviews to find others to help me along the way.

In order to learn, we must also take those first baby steps with our pens, pencils, or keyboards. The same applies to our Christian lives — at some point beyond reading the Bible, we must step out in faith.

Poets' Pavilion

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