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Posts Tagged ‘sublime’

“A 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 farther 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 labor and to wait.

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born this date (2/27/1807) in Port­land, Maine.

He was one of the greatest poets of America.  See also his “Oh, How Blest Are Ye Whose Toils Are Ended” And his well known Christmas Carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”  He died 3/24/1882.

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I’ve known the joy that only a boy                    

Could feel – the swing of a vine. [1]

That’s entwined in a tree, for lads like me

To discover and enjoy. (Age?  Nine.)

 

I’ve felt the soft nose of a horse at repose,

And jumped o’er the hindquarters bare. [2]

And ridden baby cows or even some sows, [3]

When the farmer or owner wasn’t there.

 

I’ve enjoyed the snow fall; drifts fences tall,

And the resulting thrill – no bus! [4]

Sat with my feet on the oven door for heat,

That coal stove with ashes and fuss. [5]

 

I’ve ridden through a bridge o’er the blue [6]

That was covered and painted red.

Or walked or ran the bare-planked span;

That inside looked like a shed.

 

Ah, and, I’ve felt the pain of a leaving train,

When my lover was inside. [7]

And watched the last light till out of sight,

Then turned on my heel and cried.

 

I’ve stood still and wet on the date set,

Waiting for that girl in white.

Perspiring that season, for more than one reason,

On the year’s last, hot, June night. [8]

 

I’ve relished the smell of fall as it fell,

Time after burning-leaf time,

And drank cider sweet; it was hard to beat

Soft, amber, pure, sublime.

 

I’ve been privileged to hold the tiny mold

From which God makes a man.

And knew that his name and mine were the same;

Twenty-one years the span. [9]

 

I’ve known what it means to have little but beans

And then miss a bean with a dip.

To have cookies is nice – but because of the price

A cookie without a chocolate chip. [10]

 

I’ve walked the drifting miles; mid frowns & now smiles

Of students on Saturday hikes. [11]

Or joined them near nine, asphalt roads to entwine

On our trusty, but soon tiring bikes. [12]

 

I’ve been privileged to be three years near the sea.

O!  The smell of salt in the air!

See it calm or forlorn or white-cappy in storm,

Return with it still in my hair.

 

I’ve walked up with pain the inclined plain

Of a mountain’s bristly backbone.

Provisions in pack on my back,

Miles and hours from a phone. [13]

 

I’ve met and do know some of Christ’s best below

Saints, yes, saints above sod.

Who’ve worked in love, His power to prove,

Before they go home to God.

 

That’s not all I’ve had as a boy or a dad

There are, I’m sure, many more

In thirty one years, many joys, a few tears,

Since birth to seventy-four.       -eab,  2/10/74

 

[1] Off the edge of one of Uncle Wallace and Aunt Em’s fields on the farm off Stage Coach road (parallel with US 22.)

[2] At Mark Ricketts house, my school mate 1952-1957

[3] At Mark Rickett’s to which I’d walk (3-4 miles) to play.

[4] Drifts were from fencepost top to fencepost top in 1950.

[5] Stove also had reservoir for heating water on side.

[6] Was the first kid on and last one off so passed through covered bridge four times a day for most of five years (over 3500 passes).

[7] Union Terminal about 1960, Cincinnati, watching my sweet Martha head home for the summer. Took her there in a taxi.

[8] The church was not air conditioned on June 30, 1961.

[9] Andrew (also called “Charlie Brown”) It was not my idea to name him after me but since Martha wanted that, made him E. Andrew.

[10] Not complaining but times were slim back then.

[11] Hobe high school biology students and I would hike Jupiter Island from the end of the road to the island’s end (approximately 10 miles) specimens they found were theirs – fun belonged to all of us!

[12] Biology kids on bike hikes in Jonathan Dickinson Park. 

[13] Hiked the entire AT (Appalachian Trail) through the Smokies but this particular memory is when Carson, Dan, Andrew, and I ascending Thunderhead on a Christmas vacation trip. 


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