From the R&RG Archive: “I Love All Beauteous Things”

Friends, this week has been a busy one. In addition to work and the other work of child-chasing, there’s been traveling and a tiny bit of writing and even reading. I’m *this close* to finishing two books I’m very much enjoying (one novel, one collection of poems), so this week I’m taking you back to the archive, by which I mean a post from 2013, when not too many readers were to be found hereabouts.

I’ve picked this post because of its connection to a favorite book of mine. My sister’s baby shower was this past weekend, and one of the gifts we gave her is a copy of Miss Rumphius, which you must go read for yourself if you haven’t already. And just learned that Barbara Cooney’s original artwork for Miss Rumphius is in the museum at Bowdoin College, which is serendipitous because I know a certain incoming freshman who is just dying to give a museum tour—probably early on a Saturday morning, right?—to his extremely nerdy and old cousin (hey there, FB!) . . .


 

Robert Bridges’s fine poem is a brief, honestly joyous celebration of the beautiful, and our urge to create something beautiful ourselves. In the second stanza, he writes: “I too will something make / and joy in the making” even if his creation proves ephemeral.

One of the pleasures of this little poem, for me, is that it reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. In the book, Miss Rumphius (as a child) is told by her grandfather that she must (among other things) over the course of her life do something to make the world more beautiful.

Isn’t that lovely?

I’ve loved this book since I was a little girl, and when I’m feeling reflective, I remember the beautiful illustrations and ask myself if I’ve done anything lately to make the world more beautiful, and, more importantly, what I can still do.

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(I’ll let you find out for yourself what Miss Rumphius sets out to do.)

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5 thoughts on “From the R&RG Archive: “I Love All Beauteous Things”

    • Miss Rumphius is wonderful! I love that book. Also, for a younger child, consider Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey and the Frances series of books by Russell Hoban and Lillian Hoban — old-fashioned and utterly charming. For an older child, the Anne of Green Gables series is wonderful. Also try The Secret Garden and The Little Princess.

      • I’m familiar with Blueberries, but she is not quite that young. I already sent her Anne of Green Gables and I have a copy of The Secret Garden waiting for when she is older. I just feel like my choices are a bit old-fashioned.

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