Serenity Is My Adornment



What IS serenity?

serenity |səˈrenitē|noun ( pl. -ties)

The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

Serenity is my adornment,

The gift of years.

I envy not that blank

Of youthful innocence,


I am become a woman


And there’s no debt

Against it.

The calm water shows

No wear and tear

From its past storms,

Nor I, from storms

I've known.

_____© Nellieanna H. Hay

Listen to the rain

"Curiosity endows the people who have it with a generosity in argument and a serenity in their own mode of life with springs from their cheerful willingness to let life take the form it will." _____Alistair Cooke

Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of way. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.

____Jawaharlal Nehru

The passageway

Into my heart

Is not a thoroughfare.

The combination

Opening it

Insures a one-way trip,


Not by will,

But by nature's own design.

______© Nellieanna H. Hay

"What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter; - a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue." ___Henri Matisse

Naked joy -

Delighting in its


Of itself.

______© Nellieanna H. Hay

"Supreme serenity still remains the Ideal of great Art. The shapes and transitory forms of life are but stages toward this Ideal. . . " ___Franz Liszt



This hub has been revised and updated. __ Nellieanna


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Comments 36 comments

Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA

I am honored to be the first to praise this little gem.

Your waters, Nellieanna, are deep and of a lovely hue.

This was precious.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Do not waste your hard earned serenity on reclamation of innocence,a beatifuly mature verse Nelieanna;)

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Never a truer word was uttered. Thanks Nellieanna for that hymn to serenity.

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JinnyMarte 6 years ago

Love the feeling that it brings with such precise detail of pure inspiration...thank you

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas

We live and learn... and our reward... contentment. Bravo!!! Thanks Nellieanna!!!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Christopher Price -- and I am honored to have you be the first, and with such beautiful words, too~ Thank you.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Mentalist acer - thank you! It proclaimed not wasting it on backward glances. Maturity in this sense is not age-related. I'm pleased you like it!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Christopheranton - my thanks to you! I appreciate your lovely comment!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Jinny - Thank you, dear friend. It might be of interest to know that I wrote that quite a few years ago! Such a wonderfully deep feeling of peace is possible at any time of life when one has slain some personal dragons without loss of human dignity and with gain of deeper knowledge of self and broader forgiveness of others. I can still feel it; your description is right: pure and inspired.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, Jai - and as I just mentioned to JInny, this was written many years ago, when I had reached an "earlier" stage of maturity, earned by great honing. Life is a good teacher if one pays attention - and takes copious notes. :-) One of the many personal rewards of writing, I think. It was poetry which sustained me during a time when I was most in need of lessons and no one else to lay them out for me. But my poetry emerged as a self-written curriculum and one I could keep referring to as needed again. Thank you for the wise words.

Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Life is made up of so few special moments which is why we learn to treasure them.

You seem to have found a way to capture them while we mortals have to rely upon our memories !

maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona

Nellieanna...I can see the E.D. inspiration in these few well written and exquisitely poignant lines...The only thing missing are the dashes and exclamations points of which she was so fond...

You are indeed a serene creature, my dear. Like the beautiful white swans on Lake Merritt, you cruise through life with serenity and a quiet courage...Larry

acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 6 years ago from Guildford

You have said so much in so few words. I adore the beautiful picture too, simply wonderful.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello, Nellieanna, you have such wonderful personality and it shows through in your poems. I am so pleased and honoured that I met you. Thank you for giving so much.

neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 6 years ago from new delhi

the waters are calm because you have made sure there is depth in run deep Nellie dear friend.Love you and would be honored to meet you some day and just gaze at the serenity and let it sink into my consciuousness.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

My precious friend, Merlin - - you're too flattering. Mortal I am, and glad of it. I suppose we are all on our first phase of immortality in one way or the other, but THIS is where it is now and that is why it matters how it's lived. There's no special secret to it, other than to value it and to be receptive to its grace more than to its grunge. I have learned that much!

Hugs, dear friend. Thank you again for your support!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Maven, Larry - ah but when and if you read more of my stuff you will see it is rife with dashes and exclamation points! I was using them before I actually discovered she did too, in fact. hehe. It was when I shared some of my poetry with some dear friends who recognized the similarity not only of our poetry styles but - at the time - even of our life-styles and called my attention to it that I saw the connection. I don't use the bad "number" verb/subject contraction she occasionally uses, though: "she don't" or "he don't" , although my mother, a highly educated woman, occasionally used to use those. I've wondered if there were some sort of medieval English usage which condoned it. LOL

Her poetry didn't inspire my lines or words by studying them but at times, I've felt she may have done so on another plane. Her life was not fully complete, I think; and I've felt a vivid obligation to try to complete it in the areas in which it was lacking. In fact, it was possibly what played a major part in my summoning courage to break out of my cocoon without losing the calmness found within it before it snuffed me out.

She said her business was "circumference" and she was definitely onto it. She is my muse in more than a poetic sense.

What a lovely simile! Swans are such impressive creatures. One of my webpages is titled S'wanderful. LOL - Just a light-hearted look at those wonderful creatures:

One of the loveliest sentences in the language was from one of ED's letters: "Morning without you is a dwindled dawn." Always gives me literal goose-bumps.

Thank you so much for the read and the perceptive comments and especially for the opportunity to get to know YOU.

sofs profile image

sofs 6 years ago

Serenity and calm are what people would give anything to have, great to find it here. Beautiful, though the words are few, they speaks volumes.

I hope more people can say this of themselves. God bless!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Acaetnaa - thank you, lovely person! It does say a lot, I admit. The artist whose painting I featured has so many lovely works, by the way. Pat O'Hara.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello, hello - I'm just as honored to have met you! Your writing is full of grace and understanding! Thank you for visiting and commenting here and now!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

neelesh - In such a short time, you have become such a dear friend. If there is depth in me, it's been carved out by living. It does that to people, and so long as we don't fill in the declivities with rubbish, we have a head start on containing more than we deserve of the good stuff, I think. It's not by our own merit, I feel sure, but by a graciousness all around us if we are but receptive to it. I feel sure you are!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Sofs, yes - people desire serenity and calm for themselves. What is failed to be recognized too often is that it IS within themselves, but it can't be nourished by feeding it on its opposites. One must look at those realistically, but not ingest them. In spite of the existence of panic, distress and dis-ease, the calm center of being can thrive if allowed to.

But I can imagine that you know that!!

Thank you for the perceptive and lovely commens!

couturepopcafe profile image

couturepopcafe 6 years ago

One of the most wonderful exposes on women aging, made sweeter by its brevity - a certain commentation on life. Well felt, Nellie.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Couture! Yes, there is much to be said for serenity at any age. Actually I was in my 40s at the time it was penned. Now, nearing double that number, I'm here to vouch for both serenity and joyous living - a sense of agelessness & fullness of life - at any and all ages! Thank you!

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

This verse sums up many a fine woman who have braved many a storm in life.

I am become a woman


And there’s no debt

Against it.

All debts paid coming out clean and refreshed like a flower in full bloom. Yes indeed, you are a gem. Thank you for this brilliant piece of poetry. Bravo and hugs

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SilverGenes 6 years ago

So many of your words become treasures for all of us. Thank you, dear Nellieanna, for sharing so much of yourself and making this world a more beautiful place in spite of its flaws. Sometimes, I find myself just standing in your words as if they were a cool breeze on a mountaintop and am myself made better by them.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ken, your words come especially welcome right now, as we feel for our mutual friends. Thank you!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Alexandra - Yes, the world has flaws, but its beauty outshines them if we but focus our gazes. If you're the better upon contemplating my words, it is only because they may have caused you to focus your gaze on your own beauty.

Thank you.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Beautiful! So true. Indeed you. One day I want to be just like you, Nellieanna. You are a rolmodel for me and I am sure for all other women in this world too. You are, what I call, a lady. Love you, my dearest lady. It is a privilege to know you.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, Martie - YOU are your own best role model! If being comfortable within ones' own skin is a beacon for you, then I can provide that because - like you - I've earned that comfort there. It's a privilege to know you, too! Thank you!!

ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

Such power in so few words. I quite literally got goosebumps. I am honored that you bother to read my hubs.



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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I was just texting with my granddaughter and told her to expect some links. - To your marvelous advice to parents of teenagers, of course. Your wisdom is outstanding! I greatly appreciate YOUR reading and appreciating my hubs! Thank you, Chris!!

Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 3 years ago from India

Man's quest for serenity through words is fantastic and glorious. Your words so beautifully take us to that realm of calmness and peace. Sometimes I think we give our different states of being so many pretty names such as peaceful, calm, serene, happy, tranquil, pure and so on. How can we differentiate between one state or the other, that is -when are we calm or peaceful or serene etc. ? We hear and read so many pious and lofty words. Can we actually experience the actual states vis-a-vis those particular words ? Whenever I read your poems, my mind wanders in so many directions at the same time. I love your poems that arouses so many wonderful feelings /thoughts in my mind. Thank you, Nellie and all peace and happiness.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah, yes, Harish. I’ll further say that man’s quest to express any of his/her experiences, emotions and states-of-being through words is fantastic and glorious, but it’s also ever-fraught with all the limitations that words by their nature, do impose.

Yes, yes, - naming a thing begins to limit it with define-ition, which stunts its fullness and its further growth or expansion, by putting it firmly in ‘its place’ by the name given it. Others may seize it and begin to re-fashion it to fit their other criteria, but the living, pulsating intended 'thing' or meaning is simply by-passed.

Words and names begin the mental process of ‘handling’ and defining the infinite by ‘fencing it in’. Human beings seem to feel the need for control over the uncontrollable by forcing it into those semantic confines, - perhaps to assuage fear of the unknown; and our invented and inherited languages promote that quest.

So, no, we can’t differentiate or fine-tune our states-of-being through mere words, but in most instances, words are all we have at our disposal with which to attempt to specifically communicate what we feel or mean, as opposed through art or music. But of course, the words don’t and can’t carry the actual things within their mere symbols, so the outcome is somewhat pre-set to be lessened. Words depend also on the recognition by hearers or readers, - a chancy deal, at best.

Words are symbols, never ARE they the thing symbolized. I think that Zen tries to show, uncover and communicate ‘the thing’ itself above the mere symbol better than many philosophies do. Classic haiku seems to be a focus on paring off extraneous word-symbols so as to be as close as possible to communicating the ‘things’ being symbolized, leaving the words as bare and clear as possible for the discerning reader to receive real meaning purely and allow it to expand.

Fortunately, at the same time we try to ‘put things into words’ (an apt phrase for what we try to do - contain them!), there may be non-verbal vibes’ (vibrations) which do communicate real meanings and visualizations from being to being without the use of much words. Many times those vibes are more able to carry and communicate actual feelings and meanings of the sender better than even the loftiest, most grammatically accurate of words! But another aspect of communication is that there are at least two ‘ends’ to it: - the sender and the receiver(s); so that it literally depends on the state and desire of each ‘end’ to really share the ‘thing’ through words.

For the most part, we must be content with expressing our feelings and thoughts as well as we can with mere words and trust in the receptivity and sensibility of those who read or hear them, to be willing and able to see whatever we hoped to communicate. But as often as not, what is received at the other end, by the time it has been subjectively or perhaps prejudicially interpreted, is a far-cry from what was intended. But that other meaning may serve that other person better. So one must be content with what can be done, and not blame words for their inherent flaws and limitations. We must try to hone our use of the tool of language, bearing in mind that it’s not capable to do accomplish all the fine-tuning needed, - and still we must trust in what it does accomplish.

The background of this poem was that I somewhat deliberately wrote of serenity as an adornment, showing it in implied contrast with other kinds of women’s adornments, such as fine clothes or jewelry or even fragrance, and especially extending contrast to that between experience of age and innocence of youth. It was summer, 1972 and I was only 40, but that contrast seemed quite palpable to me at the time. So I wrote what was mainly a declaration of my choice and desire to BE myself as I am, someone without need of force or artifice, at least that intention being as much as was my welcoming spiritual adornments of calmness and peace, which were my inner strengths in the face of much more aggressive and vocal kinds, especially right at that time.

I knew that peace and happiness are personal choices. Thank you for boosting them! And same to you!

Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 3 years ago from India

Nellie, when I read your beautiful poems, I was in awe and wonder ! I wanted to know the deep philosophy behind them. I knew that a more profound and insightful response would be generously extended to by you. Exactly this happened. Your response is the most beautiful and analytical. You have rightly conveyed the limitations of words, it is like a craftsman curves out some furniture with his tools with all efficiency and skill at his disposal. When a particular furniture comes into being, everybody can see it himself ,either to appreciate or disapprove it. The craftsman continues with his job to further improve on his skill in order to curve out a masterpiece. Even if he is successful to produce an excellent piece, there is every possibility of bringing out more excellent pieces in future. This is the beauty of craftsmanship of an artist that the climax remains far ever. You have elaborated on the queries raised by me so deeply that even your prose looks like a great poetry and we can dive deep into them to bring out auspicious pearls. The way you have explained the things speaks of your marvelous excellence and height of refinement of intellect. I am really grateful to you to see such a fantastic insight and wisdom through your loving words. Thank you very much for blessing me with your abundant kindness of your beautiful heart. Wish you all happiness and all peace. :-)

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS Author

You are too generous, Harish. Thank you for such gratifying praise and depth of perception. I’ve always treasured being perceived over agreement with me. There are so many great thoughts to be heard IF people will take the trouble to understand them without prejudice or too-quick conclusions, aren’t there? It is sad if one is disagreed with and aware that the other person obviously had no real concept of what it was that was said!

I love your comparison of use of words as a craftsman uses his tools and expertise to create tangible things of usefulness and beauty. And, oh yes - it’s never perfected by either the wordsmith or the craftsman. How boring that would be, anyway. Perfection would be so - static!

My beloved late husband was a professional engineer but also something of an inventor, as well as an avocational wood and metal worker. He had worked on an exquisitely conceived measuring device invention for years, making many wonderful prototypes, trying not only to perfect it, but to assure its uniqueness and its difficulty to be cloned by others. He’d written detailed technical volumes for a patent application for it. Meanwhile, I kept urging him to just go ahead, bring it to a satisfactory level of readiness and go ahead and market it, letting copies be attempted, if they were to be; but he’d have already skimmed off the initial glory and rewards and would be freed to move on to something else. He just couldn’t bring himself to do that, and sadly, as his health and mental agility diminished, he was unable to complete it at all. Perfection is a tempting goal, but not a practical one for mere mortals, I’m afraid. I aim for a personal standard of excellence, but have learned to let perfection dangle when it’s ‘enough’, in working both with my other creative projects and the writing.

Back to the writing, - I’ve also always been both in love with words and all they can convey and also keenly aware of their limitations coupled with limitations which are intrinsic to communication because of the basic differences in the subjectivities and attitudes of participants. Even at high levels of desire for conveying thought, and good thinking, ability and education, there are still vast gaps in the expressing well on one side and the understanding well on the other side. It inevitably produces mis-matches.

At lower levels, where most folks operate everyday lives, it’s a wonder anyone ever gets anything across correctly to anyone else! But perhaps in those circumstances they’re basically less tuned-in, anyway, and so, are less aware of chasms separating their communications, unless those arouse anger or fear, - which happens! Then they may quickly deteriorate into confrontations which really have almost no actual basis in what was intended or said, but are products of unwillingness, negligence, inability or inattention to receive and digest what is really being exchanged between them verbally. At those points when strong emotions take over, so does body language, and nothing more is really heard beyond negative exclamations and, perhaps, physical blows!

Poetry itself is subjective and makes little effort to clarify itself. If it starts to try to make itself more clear, it becomes more prose than poetry. haha. So it is almost completely dependent on the generous reception and suspension of too much criticism from its readers or hearers.

But life is never boring! There is so much of interest to do, weigh and consider, isn’t there? Just engaging in all that is a kind of an art of its own. And every moment provides the opportunities to pursue it all.

Thank you again and much happiness and peace to you, as well!

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