The Servant Song

Contributed by Ilse Kramer

I have a favorite travel song.
We sing it at Central every time new members join our Church.
“Won’t you let me be your servant …”
Here is the second verse:

We are pilgrims on a journey,
We are trav’lers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

Ilse Kramer is the Poet Laureate of Central Congregational Church.

Gedanken vor dem Einschlafen – Andrea Effert

Gedanken vor dem Einschlafen 

By Andrea Effert

Zeit rennt –

ich renne hinter her…

Unterwegs sein ist anders –

gerne wuerde ich an-kommen…


Thoughts when almost Asleep

Time runs –

I’m running after it…

Different to be on the way –

So glad to arrive…

Andrea Effert is a German artist. She lives and works in Schimmert, a small village in the South of the Netherlands where she creates sculptures and other objets d’art. This is her first poem. Ilse Kramer has known her for many years.

Travel’s End – May Grant


By May Grant

Travel’s never straight
down the road and through the gate.

But when I glimpsed your smile,
your silver gift eclipsed the miles.

Loosen your tie,
slip off your glove.

Wherever we land
is home, my love.

May Cornelia Grant has been writing all her life, non-professionally. Her articles have appeared in numerous small magazines and newspapers.

Russian Travel Routes – May Grant

Russian Travel Routes

By May Grant

At first, travel lines ran true.
They paired up straight, across my spiral college notebook.
“You can find 20 versions of the verb to go,” began my Russian teacher.
Finally I could translate a page of Tolstoy, then Chekhov, even Dostoyevsky.
But this gift, to the boy who shared my bed, lay unappreciated.

Soon, travel turned diagonal.
It lifted me from the lowest corner of the map into Manhattan.
“You can memorize these lines from Pushkin’s poem,” my Russian tutor encouraged.
Her apartment smelled of baking blintzes and sour Armenian yoghurt.… [Read More]

Anticipating Creation – Kathy Hart

Anticipating Creation

By Kathy Hart

The world is blanketed by snow, pristine and cold.
Unwilling, I shovel it, mixing the mud beneath with its brilliant whiteness.
Then drudgery turns to joy, as I find sprouting bulbs that produce
tiny star-like flowers in March, harbingers of Spring’s new creations.
My mind wanders with hope of things to come.

Later, I rehearse for a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Creation, the Genesis story
embellished and amazingly grand in scope.
So taken is the composer with the story, that we sing of the sun proud and joyful to
run its course, the flowers’ jeweled charm, birds’ fluttering plumage,  and leviathans on the
foaming wave.… [Read More]

Lugano – Ilse Kramer


By Ilse Kramer

Two bags – I always travel light
The train man blows his whistle
All aboard
I feebly wave good-bye

And through the window
(Don’t lean out)
I see the bottom of the sky
And here and there a herd of heavy cows

Look in the distance
Mountain ranges
And darkish lakes
And after that

More mountains
And more lakes
Where will it end
When will the beauty be too much for me

I eat a peach
And drops of juice
Keep falling in my lap
Sweet tears

I am so tired but I wonder
Will we keep moving
When I am

Where is my ticket
What if
They throw me
Off the train

This after all
Is not a journey home
I know the name
Of where I’m going
But don’t know will it meet
My heart’s desire

Ilse Kramer is the Poet Laureate of Central Congregational Church.

Hiking with the Children – Gretchen Yealy

Hiking with the Children

By Gretchen Yealy

How much farther?
Asked the smallest one.

The last mile is always the longest,
Sighed the tired mother.

Are we there yet?
Asked the middle child.

How shall we define “there,”
Mused the philosophical mother.

What will we do when we get there?
Asked the oldest child.

Only then shall we realize that the journey itself was our delight,
Thought the wise mother.

When she is not clambering up and down mountain passes, Gretchen Yealy works as a catalog librarian at Brown University.