One thing that gives me immense pride about myself is my ability to appreciate poetry and even scribble a few. I have seen people who struggle real hard and often have a distaste for poetry, verse and such. It is not their fault. The art of appreciating a poetry can only be taught by a really good teacher. I was blessed in that way to have my father as my teacher. One of the first poems that he taught me was called “Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I didn’t truly understand what it meant till I was in High school. It was a long way from the pig tailed fifth standard kid who gaped at her father reciting the poem by heart. It was a heavy journey too and this poem at that point in high school revved me up. It has been kind of like a mantra ever since. I am not interpreting the poem here. It would impose my version of it on you. Feel free to look at it as you want. it may appeal to you, it may not. But every time I feel blue, this reminds me of home, my father’s warm hug and the life he helps me live.
December 8, 2006
Psalm of Life!!
Tell me not in mournful numbers,
“Life is but an empty dream!”
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us further than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act — act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait