Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Psalm of Life

Hey, I found the poem that I mentioned in my tag! And... I see you wincing!... I found a couple excellent poetry books while I was at it and, in them, lots of delicious poems! Poetry might take over quotes now on this blog... ;-) No, I'll try not to overload you. :-D
I don't remember where I heard this poem first-- I think it was on a movie, maybe a Jane Austen? It sounds like something that might be in Sense and Sensibility, but I think that might be the wrong era... Does anybody know what movie this is quoted in? ANYWAY! It is such a beautiful poem-- life may seem hopeless or pointless, we may think, "What's the point of living if we're just going to die anyway?" But God has given us a precious treasure to use for His glory-- let us not waste away our days in selfishness or worry or self-pity. Let us be instruments for Him to use and leave an imprint on the lives of those around us. I hope you enjoy it as I have, and feel free to insert your thoughts in the Comments section if you wish.

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 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
Footsteps on the sands of time;

Footsteps, 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

Part of "act,--act in the present", and "learn to labor and to wait" consists of living each moment as an offering to God. "Only what's done for Christ will last." Our lives will be wasted if we fret it away on the past and the future and on selfish things; but the moments that are used to glorify the Father and guide other souls to Him are never lost.


Amy said...

What a neat poem. The whole entire thing is so good so true! We are all inevitably marching to the grave but hey let's love life and live to the fullest serving our Lord and King who makes it worth living! I saw my poor people yesterday whose baby died-they have so little true joy and hope so that poem inspires me.There is something to live for!

Chelsea Peterson said...

Very lovely poem! I forget how much I enjoy poetry, though mostly in small doses so I don't read it as often as I should I suppose. Ever heard of Edward A. Guest?

Melanie said...

I recognize the name "Edward A. Guest" but I can't think of any of his poem's off the top of my head. Which ones did he write?

Anderson family said...

Wow, that is a great poem! How true!