Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gather ye Rosebuds

This is a card I made using a transparency of my father and his sister in their youth. The text comes from a poem called, 'To the Virgins to Make Much of Time', - true...

The poem is by Robert Herrick and you can see below that this poem features as the first entry in my oldest 'kept' journal of collections and musings, circa 1969.

The poem encourages youth to enjoy life before it is too late.

The first verse goes:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
old time is still a flying
and that same flower that smiles today
tomorrow will be dying.

The poem is particularly poignant in retrospect as the siblings featured in my card, were to lose their older brother not long after this photograph was taken, in his first few weeks of action in the Pacific war.

Robert Herrick, the English poet, lived and wrote between 1591 and 1674. The great Latin poet Horace wrote his ode, from where we get the famous words; carpe diem, eons before Herrick wrote his poem, and about the same time as Horace either Virgil or Ausonius wrote a poem that includes the line that says:

non-collige vigo rosas
gather - girl -the roses

Ecclesiates says in the bible: 'Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy and a merry heart."
Isaiah also said 'Eat and drink for tomorrow we die.'

It is over 65 years since the photo of my father and aunt was taken.
It is over 40 years since I began the journal featuring 'Gather ye Rosebuds while ye may.."
And today, at this stage in the early autumn of my life the carpe diem summons of existential caution has gained even more weight and power.

So my blogging friends:

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero. Seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow.



  1. This is a beautiful post - 'Carpe diem' indeed! this is what the concept of mindfulness is saying to us - be in the moment, be in the day, seize that time, the only reality we have is each moment as it unfolds - easy to say, harder to live! - but important to be reminded of it.

  2. Here. Here. Delwyn and Alden.

    For years I sent home a paper classroom newsletter on Fridays. (My blog has taken its place.) Under the masthead were those two two-word Latin phrases: Carpe Diem. Vita Brevis. Maybe I should put it back, on the Mr. Kindergarten blog's masthead.

    Each morning before dawn I go through a contemplation on this subject as well as a series of other contemplations.

    Like a woodsman sharpening his axe or a guitar player tuning his strings, it's a good way to begin a day.

    I use a mug quoting Goethe: "Nothing is more important than this day." But I've come to feel that days, hours, minutes are all of them too long an interval of time. For me, it's more useful to "seize" the breath (as if breath could be seized!) but in the sense of being present for a moment, then another moment, and another. For me a day is full of mindful moments and unmindful ones, too. Funny thing: the better I get at sustaining concentration, the more aware I become of just how flighty my mind actually is.

  3. Thank you! Thank you, Delwyn. I restored my masthead to the way it was on paper. Senastional post.

  4. Alden and Dan
    Thank you both for these lovely comments and for taking the time to comment and adding your thoughts. And Dan 'live the moment' is a perfect catch cry. Interesting that we 3 are all of 'a certain age' and therefore maybe feeling time's winged chariot hurrying more-so than in the past... or then again maybe we are really becoming more attuned to living in the moment and savouring it...

  5. Dan : You are an inspiration - I admire your diligence with your practices of meditation and your discussion groups...I will off and away to do some yoga and meditation myself now... see the positive impact you have !

  6. I am happy to know you've been encouraged by anything I've written. It's mutual. And yes, getting wrinkles and gray hair helps remind one that each breath brings us closer to the last. Keeping that in mind helps to brighten my mood and increase the urgency to live love.

  7. Welcome to my blog Mona and I'm glad that you are like-minded...

  8. Very nice blog! I'm a first-time visitor who linked to you from a comment you left on Yorkshire Pudding's blog. I can tell already that I am going to enjoy very much reading what you have written.

    I am a little beyond "autumn," I think. I'll be 68 in March and have been retired for nine years.

    I just have to point out one small error, which in no way detracts from this wonderful post: William Herrick should be Robert Herrick.

  9. Welcome To you Mr Rhymeswithplague

    Thank you for visiting my corner of the world and I a especially thankful to you for pointing out my error. You can see in my journal of 1969 (if your eyes can make it out, I only just can) that I have called him William all along...poor Robert - I rechristened him, but as you say it doesn't change the tenor of the post. All the same I have learned something today - thank you and do come again...
    P.S. Isn't it wonderful to have this vehicle of communication to share our thoughts with strangers and build a community at this time in the autumn of our lives...

  10. 11, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    I am now up to date with your daily postings Del, wherein I have plunged into your world, and been transported by your musings, into yet another level of intimacy and friendship. I have loved the way you express yourself in your poems stories and pictures, which has given me an insight into what has shaped and inspired you,and this in turn has inspired me. Thanks for the memories. Julie.


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