I have in my library a book that was signed by Henry Van Dyke, one of the poets I admired and liked a lot. His poems were often about nature, friendship, and the value of character. I have notes I wrote beside my favorite poems written in the handwriting of a ten-year old child. I have kept most of the books of poetry over the years. One of my favorite poems in childhood was written by him. It was called, “God Of The Open Air,” and had seven parts to it. I will share one of those parts that is the most familiar to other people. As a child, I memorized the entire poem and recited it in my head before going to sleep at night.
GOD OF THE OPEN AIR.
Thou who hast made thy dwelling fair
With flowers below, above with starry lights,
And set thine altars everywhere, __
On mountain heights,
In woodlands dim with many a dream,
In valleys bright with springs,
And on the curving capes of every stream:
Thou who hast taken to thyself the wings
Of morning, to abide
Upon the secret places of the sea,
And on far islands, where the tide
Visits the beauty of untrodden shores,
Waiting for the worshippers to come to thee
In thy great out-of- doors!
To thee I turn, to thee I make my prayer,
God of the open air.
Henry van Dyke.