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A Psalm of Life

So, Wendy tells me that April is National Poetry Month. Since I have little to blog about, aside from Lost, I will steal/copy/borrow/recycle an idea from Wendy's blog and share with you my favorite poem.

I found it in a High School English book from 1901 (seriously!) and just fell in love with it. It speaks to many of my favorite themes. I've tried to memorize it, but I always seem to forget a stanza. The last three were quoted by the minister at my Grandma Jean's memorial service.

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 tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long and Time is fleeting,
And out 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'rehead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints in 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.

1 comment:

Wendy McConnell said...

I love this poem! Good choice :)