Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday's Poetry: "A Psalm of Life"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

This week's poem, "A Psalm of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,  examines the meaning of life and concludes that it is far more than just being - life is movement, life is doing.   Being newly retired, I felt that the poet was speaking directly to me, telling me not to just sit in the shade and enjoy the breeze, but to be up working and continuing to place my mark on the world.  Anything less deprives me and the world of the benefit of my potential.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a chicken coop that needs repair and cleaning.  This fall I will sit in the shade, enjoy the breeze, and sell a few eggs.

A Psalm of Life
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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.

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