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Reflection Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Hidden Thoughts by Ruby Archer
  2. Where Do Thoughts Come From? by Annette Wynne
  3. A Wish Is Quite a Tiny Thing by Annette Wynne
  4. A thought went up my mind to-day by Emily Dickinson
  5. The Lost Thought by Emily Dickinson
  6. I felt a funeral in my brain by Emily Dickinson
  7. I found the phrase to every thought by Emily Dickinson
  8. The Brain by Emily Dickinson
  9. The brain within its groove by Emily Dickinson
  10. The thought beneath so slight a film by Emily Dickinson
  11. My Mind by William Byrd
  12. "When as a Lad" by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay
  13. The Treasure by Rupert Brooke
  14. The Busy Heart by Rupert Brooke
  15. On Evening by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  16. Bond and Free by Robert Frost
  17. Children of the Brain, excerpt by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  18. A Lily of the Valley by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  19. On Evening by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  20. At a Window Sill by Christopher Morley
  21. Hidden Treasures by Kate Louise Wheeler
  22. Seed Thoughts by Kate Louise Wheeler
  23. Roots and Earth by Ruby Archer
  24. If a Bird May Think by Annette Wynne
  25. A Thought by Robert Louis Stevenson
  26. Lilacs by Helen Emma Maring

  1. Hidden Thoughts

    Some thoughts there are that grow like ocean flowers,
    Without the sun,
    Deep down in sweetly dark and silent bowers,
    Betrayed to none

    - Ruby Archer
    Hidden Thoughts
    by Ruby Archer

    Some thoughts there are that grow like ocean flowers,
    Without the sun,
    Deep down in sweetly dark and silent bowers,
    Betrayed to none
    Seek not to draw them forth to sympathy,
    O kindly friend.
    If once those petals were the light to see,
    Their bloom would end.

  2. Where Do Thoughts Come From?

    by Annette Wynne

    The minute I'm awake in bed
    A hundred thoughts pop in my head,
    Before I've had the time to dress
    A hundred more—
    They wait all night for me, I guess.

    But where they go
    I do not know,
    Or where they're from;
    I know just this—they always come;
    And even grown-up people say
    To find this out there is no way.

    Some thoughts are very light and small,
    And some are brave and strong and tall,
    And some are bright and pretty, too;
    And some are loving, good, and true.

    The strangest thing it is, I find,
    I'm like the thoughts inside my mind,
    So thoughts, keep coming all day, do—
    Especially the good and true!

  3. A Wish Is Quite a Tiny Thing

    by Annette Wynne

    A wish is quite a tiny thing
    Just like a bird upon the wing,
    It flies away all fancy free
    And lights upon a house or tree;
    It flies across the farthest air,
    And builds a safe nest anywhere.

  4. A thought went up my mind to-day

    by Emily Dickinson

    A thought went up my mind to-day
    That I have had before,
    But did not finish, — some way back,
    I could not fix the year,

    Nor where it went, nor why it came
    The second time to me,
    Nor definitely what it was,
    Have I the art to say.

    But somewhere in my soul, I know
    I've met the thing before;
    It just reminded me — 't was all —
    And came my way no more.

  5. The Lost Thought

    by Emily Dickinson

    I felt a cleaving in my mind
    As if my brain had split;
    I tried to match it, seam by seam,
    But could not make them fit.

    The thought behind I strove to join
    Unto the thought before,
    But sequence ravelled out of reach
    Like balls upon a floor.

  6. I felt a funeral in my brain

    by Emily Dickinson

    I felt a funeral in my brain,
    And mourners, to and fro,
    Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
    That sense was breaking through.

    And when they all were seated,
    A service like a drum
    Kept beating, beating, till I thought
    My mind was going numb.

    And then I heard them lift a box,
    And creak across my soul
    With those same boots of lead, again.
    Then space began to toll

    As all the heavens were a bell,
    And Being but an ear,
    And I and silence some strange race,
    Wrecked, solitary, here.

  7. I found the phrase to every thought

    by Emily Dickinson

    I found the phrase to every thought
    I ever had, but one;
    And that defies me, — as a hand
    Did try to chalk the sun

    To races nurtured in the dark; —
    How would your own begin?
    Can blaze be done in cochineal,
    Or noon in mazarin?

  8. The Brain

    by Emily Dickinson

    The brain is wider than the sky,
    For, put them side by side,
    The one the other will include
    With ease, and you beside.

    The brain is deeper than the sea,
    For, hold them, blue to blue,
    The one the other will absorb,
    As sponges, buckets do.

    The brain is just the weight of God,
    For, lift them, pound for pound,
    And they will differ, if they do,
    As syllable from sound.

    The human brain is like a mill-stone, turning ever round and round. If it have nothing else to grind, it must itself be ground.

    – Unknown

  9. The brain within its groove

    by Emily Dickinson

    The brain within its groove
    Runs evenly and true;
    But let a splinter swerve,
    'T were easier for you
    To put the water back
    When floods have slit the hills,
    And scooped a turnpike for themselves,
    And blotted out the mills!

  10. The thought beneath so slight a film

    by Emily Dickinson

    The thought beneath so slight a film
    Is more distinctly seen, —
    As laces just reveal the surge,
    Or mists the Apennine.

  11. My Mind

    by William Byrd

    My mind to me a kingdom is;
    Such perfect joy therein I find,
    As far exceeds all earthly bliss
    That God or nature hath assigned;
    Though much I want that most would have,
    Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

    No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
    No force to win the victory,
    No wily wit to salve a sore,
    No shape to feed a loving eye;
    To none of these I yield as thrall;
    For why? my mind doth serve for all.

    I see how plenty surfeits oft,
    And hasty climbers soon do fall;
    I see that those which are aloft
    Mishap doth threaten most of all:
    They get with toil, they keep with fear:
    Such cares my mind could never bear.

    Content I live, this is my stay;
    I seek no more than may suffice;
    I press to bear no haughty sway;
    Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
    Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
    Content with that my mind doth bring.

    Some have too much, yet still do crave;
    I little have, and seek no more.
    They are but poor, though much they have,
    And I am rich with little store;
    They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
    They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.

    I laugh not at another’s loss,
    I grudge not at another’s gain;
    No worldly waves my mind can toss;
    My state at one doth still remain:
    I fear no foe, I fawn no friend;
    I loathe not life, nor dread my end.

    Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
    Their wisdom by their rage of will;
    Their treasure is their only trust,
    A cloakèd craft their store of skill;
    But all the pleasure that I find
    Is to maintain a quiet mind.

    My wealth is health and perfect ease,
    My conscience clear my chief defence;
    I neither seek by bribes to please,
    Nor by deceit to breed offence:
    Thus do I live; thus will I die;
    Would all did so as well as I!

  12. "When as a Lad"

    by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

    When, as a lad, at break of day
    I watched the fishers sail away,
    My thoughts, like flocking birds, would follow
    Across the curving sky's blue hollow,
    And on and on—
    Into the very heart of dawn!

    For long I searched the world! Ah me!
    I searched the sky, I searched the sea,
    With much of useless grief and rueing,
    Those winged thoughts of mine pursuing—
    So dear were they,
    So lovely and so far away!

    I seek them still and always will
    Until my laggard heart is still,
    And I am free to follow, follow,
    Across the curving sky's blue hollow,
    Those thoughts too fleet
    For any save the soul's swift feet!

  13. The Treasure

    by Rupert Brooke

    When colour goes home into the eyes,
    And lights that shine are shut again
    With dancing girls and sweet birds' cries
    Behind the gateways of the brain;
    And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close
    The rainbow and the rose:—

    Still may Time hold some golden space
    Where I'll unpack that scented store
    Of song and flower and sky and face,
    And count, and touch, and turn them o'er,
    Musing upon them; as a mother, who
    Has watched her children all the rich day through
    Sits, quiet-handed, in the fading light,
    When children sleep, ere night.

  14. The Busy Heart

    by Rupert Brooke

    Now that we've done our best and worst, and parted,
    I would fill my mind with thoughts that will not rend.
    (O heart, I do not dare go empty-hearted)
    I'll think of Love in books, Love without end;
    Women with child, content; and old men sleeping;
    And wet strong ploughlands, scarred for certain grain;
    And babes that weep, and so forget their weeping;
    And the young heavens, forgetful after rain;
    And evening hush, broken by homing wings;
    And Song's nobility, and Wisdom holy,
    That live, we dead. I would think of a thousand things,
    Lovely and durable, and taste them slowly,
    One after one, like tasting a sweet food.
    I have need to busy my heart with quietude.

  15. Bond and Free

    by Robert Frost

    Love has earth to which she clings
    With hills and circling arms about—
    Wall within wall to shut fear out.
    But Thought has need of no such things,
    For Thought has a pair of dauntless wings.

    On snow and sand and turf, I see
    Where Love has left a printed trace
    With straining in the world’s embrace.
    And such is Love and glad to be.
    But Thought has shaken his ankles free.

    Thought cleaves the interstellar gloom
    And sits in Sirius’ disc all night,
    Till day makes him retrace his flight,
    With smell of burning on every plume,
    Back past the sun to an earthly room.

    His gains in heaven are what they are.
    Yet some say Love by being thrall
    And simply staying possesses all
    In several beauty that Thought fares far
    To find fused in another star.

  16. Children of the Brain, excerpt

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Our thoughts—the children of the brain—
    Are born for us some good to gain,
    And if we rear them just and right,
    They’ll seek the day instead of night.
    Long in the harvest field they’ll work—
    Brave laborers that do not shirk,
    And they will reap just what we sow...

  17. A Lily of the Valley

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Just a breath of fragrance
    On the breeze—alas!
    A lily of the valley
    Dying in the grass.

    Just a recollection
    Followed with a sigh;
    Just a teardrop dripping
    Down the cheek, and why?

  18. On Evening

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    A stillness now pervades the busy world,
    As night approaches with her mantle gray,
    The cricket now begins her evening lay,
    And all to peace, and quiet sleep, are lull'd.

    This is the hour, if bliss is felt below,
    For sweet reflection now to make complete,—
    Her quiet solitude her calm retreat,—
    More of herself, and less of earth to know.

    The hour to contemplate the soul's true worth,
    When noise and busy care are lull'd away;
    The moon comes forth behind her sable gray,
    And all the stars begin to sparkle forth.

    Now sweet composure calms the mind to rest,
    And all is still, save where the distant bell
    Dies on the ear, the watch-men cry "all's well,"
    Then quiet peace responsive fills the breast.

    Here, in an hour of contemplation sweet,
    The soul can sing with unmolested ease,
    Of future joys, where all may find release
    From this vain world, transform'd to joys complete.

    This world's a scene of varied light and shade,
    Where grief and tears successive cross our way;
    But there's a rest where darkness turns to day—
    Where sorrow never shall the soul invade.

    For reason moves with cautious, careful feet

    – John Charles McNeill
    Attraction

  19. At a Window Sill

    by Christopher Morley

    To write a sonnet needs a quiet mind....
    I paused and pondered, tried again. To write....
    Raising the sash, I breathed the winter night:
    Papers and small hot room were left behind.
    Against the gusty purple, ribbed and spined
    With golden slots and vertebræ of light
    Men's cages loomed. Down sliding from a height
    An elevator winked as it declined.

    Coward! There is no quiet in the brain—
    If pity burns it not, then beauty will:
    Tinder it is for every blowing spark.
    Uncertain whether this is bliss or pain
    The unresting mind will gaze across the sill
    From high apartment windows, in the dark.

  20. Hidden Treasures

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    Beneath the waves of ocean blue,
    The precious pearls are lost from view;
    Within the darkness of the mine,
    The gold and uncut diamonds shine;
    From human sight beneath the sky,
    The little seeds in waiting lie.

    Within the mind, like pearls of white,
    Some hidden thoughts await the light;
    Which, brightly polished, shall outshine
    The varied treasures of the mine;
    And like the seeds that wake to flowers,
    Shall bless and brighten all life's hours.

  21. Seed Thoughts

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    The celebrated Author pens
    His thorough thoughts from depths of mind,
    And they are not in proper place
    Until the depths of our's they find.

    The wisest reader may perceive,
    In writings that shall ever live,
    A reflex of his own wise thoughts
    That to the world he did not give;

    But to the mind of him who learns,
    They are as seeds of knowledge brought
    That soon take root and rarefy
    Into a whole great field of thought.

  22. Roots and Earth

    by Ruby Archer

    Poor, pitiful race of unthinkers!
    We shrink from the roots of things,
    Fearing defilement of lingers,
    Meeting the earth where it clings.

    We go through life always plucking
    Visible blossoms of words,—
    Careless of what lies beneath them
    As the honey-bees or the birds.

    We want the flowers for garlands.
    If truth of the dust be espied,
    And the roots of thought follow our plucking,—
    Disdainful, we fling all aside.

    A plant cannot bloom without rootlets,
    And roots cannot live without earth;
    No more can our words be enduring,
    If thoughts have not truth for their birth.

  23. If a Bird May Think

    by Annette Wynne

    If a bird may think, its thoughts are not so small,
    For it may think of skies or hills or anything at all.

    So a child may think, thoughts big and free and wide—
    It's good for birds and children, thoughts need not fit inside.

  24. A Thought

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    It is very nice to think
    The world is full of meat and drink,
    With little children saying grace
    In every Christian kind of place.

  25. Lilacs

    by Helen E. Maring

    A wealth of lilacs have I here,
    Their mystic whispers stir my ear.
    Their lovely fragrance fills my heart,
    As memories their blooms impart.

    When I was but a little child,
    A lilac bush, untrimmed and wild,
    Delighted me with joy untold,
    Where shone the sun of purest gold,
    I pulled the clustered lilac spray

    And breathed their fragrance of the day.
    One morning time a lilac hue
    Slipped softly o'er the sea of blue.
    It seemed that souls of lilacs gone
    Had stolen back to rule the dawn.

    Fair lilacs of my thousand dreams,
    My heart amid you thrills and teems
    With thoughts and hopes of life to be
    That seeks to win the soul of me.

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