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“Anyone who wants to know Ruth Graham and her relationship with her husband, children and friends is missing a great deal if they ignore her poetry.”
— Stephen Griffith, friend and publishing consultant

  Written in her youth as a prayer to God:
(Collected Poems, Page 19)

Spare not the pain
     though the way I take
be lonely and dark,
     though the whole soul ache,
for the flesh must die
     though the heart may break.
Spare not the pain, oh,
     spare not the pain.


Referencing the love she had for the man who was fortunate enough to capture her heart and keep it throughout their long life together:
(Collected Poems, Page 28)

I looked into your face and knew
that you were true;
those clear, deep eyes awoke in me
a trust in you.

I’d dreamt of shoulders broad and straight,
one built to lead;
I met you once and knew that you
were all I need.

You did not have to say a word
to make me feel
that will, completely in control,
was made of steel.

I’d dreamt of dashing love and bold,
life wild with zest;
but when with you my heart was stilled
to perfect rest.

And how? I could not understand,
it seemed so odd:
till on my heart it quietly dawned
     – love is of God!

About her children, especially her prodigal sons – all mothers can read it and identify:
(Collected Poems, Page 208)

in this frenzied puttering
around the house,
see more!
The dusting,
are but the poor
efforts of a heavy heart
to help time pass.
Praying on my knees
I get uptight;
for hearts and lives
are not the only things
that need to be
put right.

And, while I clean,
if tears should fall,
they’re settling the dust,
– that’s all.
Lord, I will straighten
all I can
and You –
take over what we mothers
cannot do.

On a mother’s burdens:
(Pg. 240, Collected Poems)

Listen, Lord,
a mother’s praying
low and quiet:
listen, please.
Listen what her tears
are saying,
see her heart
upon its knees;
lift the load
from her bowed shoulders
till she sees
and understands,
You, Who hold
the worlds together,
hold her problems
in Your hands.

Had she been another mother:
3rd Poem (Page 146-147, Collected Poems)

Had I been Joseph’s mother
I’d have prayed
protection from his brothers:
“God keep him safe;
he is so young,
so different from
the others.”
Mercifully she never knew
there would be slavery
and prison, too.

Had I been Moses’ mother
I’d have wept
to keep my little son;
praying she might forget
the babe drawn from the water
of the Nile,
had I not kept
him for her
nursing him the while?
Was he not mine
and she
but Pharaoh’s daughter?

Had I been Daniel’s mother
I should have pled
“Give victory!
This Babylonian horde –
godless and cruel –
don’t let them take him captive
– better dead,
Almighty Lord!”

Had I been Mary –
Oh, had I been she,
I would have cried
as never a mother cried,
“…Anything, O God,
anything …
but crucified!”

With such prayers
my finite wisdom
would assail
Infinite Wisdom;
God, how fortunate
Infinite Wisdom
should prevail!

On the mountains of North Carolina:
(Collected Poems, Page 125)

If I could have each day
one hour of sun,
like now –
let Winter come!
mild and brief,
wild, without relief;
let the storms rage,
let the winds blow,
the freezing rains
lashing my windowpanes;
let it snow!
and cold.
I would not mind at all:
it would be fun…
if I could have
each day
my hour of sun.

Crystallizing her faith in words (Gigi Graham Foreman will read this at the Memorial Service):
(Collected Poems, Page 162)

And when I die
I hope my soul ascends
slowly, so that I
may watch the earth receding
out of sight,
its vastness growing smaller
as I rise,
savoring its recession
with delight.
Anticipating joy
is itself a joy
And joy unspeakable
and full of glory
needs more
than “in a twinkling of an eye,”
more than “in a moment.”

Lord, who am I to disagree?
It’s only we
have much to leave behind,
so much … Before.
These moments
of transition
will, for me, be
to adore.

On faith, doubt and pain:
2nd Poem (Pg. 272-273, Collected Poems)

Into the heart of the Infinite can a mere mortal
hope to gain access,
what with no part of me geared to His greatness,
to His vastness my infinite less?
Yet the longing for Him was so wide and so deep,
by day it crowded life’s thronging,
by night it invaded my sleep.

Then came the pain:
again …
          and again …
                    and again …

As if a wing tip were brushing the tears
from my face
for the breath of a second I knew the unknowable,
glimpsed invisible grace.

And I lay where for long in despair I had lain;
entered, unshod, the holy There where God
dwells with His pain –
alone with the pain of the price He had paid
in giving His Son for a world gone astray
– the world He had made.

My heart lay in silence,
worshipped in silence;
and questioned no more.



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