ElkFarm Stories

A Daily Dose of Writing

Category: Wisdom

Do You Know These Words? 1

This is my first attempt at a low key multiple choice vocabulary quiz. The questions are below with the choices, and click on Continue Reading for the answers. Let me note that these words were not fully in my vocabulary and if asked to define them without seeing them in context, I couldn’t do it. Context helps but isn’t always 100%.
The terms are uncanny, unabashed, dilatory, hoi polloi, and nonplussed.

1. unabashed—a) brave, b) self-critical, c) party animal, d) willing to take a chance, e) not easily embarrassed
2. dilatory—a) a time waster, b) a smart person, c) expresses self well, d) on time always, e) shy person
3. uncanny—a) normal, ordinary, b) brave in a crowd, c) more than ordinary, d) sense of humor, e) self- absorbed
4. hoi polloi— a) the commoners, b) celebration, c) exaggerating, d) fancy as in gifts, e) wealthy and powerful
5. nonplussed—a) confused and bewildered, b) poor at math, c) not easily impressed, d) lazy, e) boring


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A Matter of Priorities

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.

Ben Stein


A Life Worth Living

“Sad will be the day for anyone when they become content with the thoughts they are thinking and the deeds they are doing – where there is not forever beating at the doors of their soul some great desire to do something larger; which they know they were meant and made to do.”  Phillips Brooks

Pastor Tim at our Nekoosa United Church of Christ Easter service. He found this quotation and used it couple times in his sermons. Though I shy away from any posts that are political, religious, or R-rated, I thought this idea was worth your consideration.

Fool on the Hill

Day after day
Alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin
Is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
And he never gives an answer
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round
Well on the way
Head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices
Talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
Or the sounds he appears to make
And he never seems to notice
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round
And nobody seems to like him
They can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round
He never listens to them
He knows that they’re the fools
They don’t like him
The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Written by the Beatles around 1967, originally as you would guess–devoted to very intelligent people who think and ponder, sometimes sitting on the hill, deep in thought. I’m guessing a lot of you have that “fool” within you, marching to your own piccolo player.

O Teach Us to Think

O Karma, Dharma, pudding and pie,
gimme a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will, & wit,
purity, probity, pluck, & grit.
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind,
gimme great abs & a steel-trap mind,
and forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice—
these little blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise:
make the bad people good—
and the good people nice;
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think.

by Philip Appleman

Mother Read to Me

(the poet refers to boys, but girls work here just as well)

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me plays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings–
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be–
I had a Mother who read to me.

by Strickland Gillilan

The Mouse

In amongst these piles of sacks
There lives a tiny mouse
And hidden far from human’s view
He has an unseen house.

To him it is a palace
No bricks nor mortar there
But just the softest remnants
He chewed and placed with care.

He has a little family
Cuddled deep amongst the down
And when they get enough to eat
He’s the happiest mouse in town.

His wants are very simple
His needs are being met
By the God all powerful
Who never does forget.

May I, in all my splendor
Living in a human’s house
Remember that God cares for me
Just as He does that mouse.

Lucy M. Peterson of Amery
July 18, 1977

Written while sitting in a pickup at the feed mill in Amery, waiting for her husband to buy feed.

A Poem of Subtle Joy

The Orange

By Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange-
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave-
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time left over

I love you, I’m glad I exist.


Laura Ingalls Wilder Thoughts

With the coming of another new year we are all… a year older. Just what does it mean to us–this growing older? Are we coming to a cheerful, beautiful old age, or are we being beaten and cowed by the years as they pass? Bruised we must be now and then, but beaten, never, unless we lack courage.

-Laura Ingalls Wilder 1923

Sleep by Silvestri

The evening hangs beneath the moon,
A silver thread on darkened dune.
With closing eyes and resting head
I know that sleep is coming soon.
Upon my pillow, safe in bed,
A thousand pictures fill my head.
I cannot sleep, my mind’s a-flight;
And yet my limbs seem made of lead.
If there are noises in the night,
A frightening shadow, flickering light,
Then I surrender unto sleep,
Where clouds of dream give second sight,
What dreams may come, both dark and deep,
Of flying wings and soaring leap
As I surrender unto sleep,
As I surrender unto sleep.

Charles Anthony Silvestri

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