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Most Inspirational
Posted by: JosephT (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 29, 2006 03:11PM

I am interested in discovering which poem emulers consider to be the most inspirational to them, personally. It needn't be the most lyrical you've read or heard, nor the one with the best technical writing. I'd like to know, simply, which poem grips you emotionally more than any other and leaves you with the greatest sense of hope?


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: JustJack (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 29, 2006 04:12PM

JoeT-


Hands down.


"If"
by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 29, 2006 05:15PM

Invictus
--William Henley

OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Les

=============================================================================================

This topic has been addressed several times here on e-mule under various headings. Motivational poems, inspirational, etc. so you might do a search on this forum for other ideas.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 29, 2006 05:21PM

"Keep A-Pluggin' Away"
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I've a humble little motto
That is homely, though it's
true, ----
Keep a-pluggin' away.
It's a thing when I've an object
That I always try to do, ----
Keep a-pluggin' away.
When you've rising storms to
quell,
When opposing waters swell,
It will never fail to tell, ----
Keep a-pluggin' away.

If the hills are high before
And the paths are hard to climb,
Keep a-pluggin' away.
And remember that successes
Come to him who bides his
time, ----
Keep a-pluggin' away.
From the greatest to the least,
None are from the rule released.
Be thou toiler, poet, priest,
Keep a-pluggin' away.

Delve away beneath the surface,
There is treasure farther down, ----
Keep a-pluggin' away.
Let the rain come down in tor-
rents,
Let the threat'ning heavens frown,
Keep a-pluggin' away.
When the clouds have rolled
away,
There will come a brighter day
All your labor to repay, ----
Keep a-pluggin' away.

There'll be lots of sneers to swal-
low,
There'll be lots of pain to bear, ----
Keep a-pluggin' away.
If you've got your eye on heaven,
Some bright day you'll wake up
there,
Keep a-pluggin' away.
Perseverance still is king;
Time its sure reward will bring;
Work and wait unwearying, ----
Keep a-pluggin' away.

Les


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 29, 2006 05:32PM

The Bridge Builder
---Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you a bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 29, 2006 05:42PM

Look Well to This Day
(Anonymous)


Look well to this day,
For it and it alone is life.
In its brief course
Lie all the essence of your existence:

The Glory of Growth
The Satisfaction of Achievement
The Splendor of Beauty

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is but a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 29, 2006 05:45PM

Desiderata
-- written by Max Ehrmann


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 29, 2006 06:36PM

JABBERWOCKY
Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves<br /> Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:<br /> All mimsy were the borogoves,<br /> And the mome raths outgrabe.<br /> <br /> <br /> "Beware the Jabberwock, my son!<br /> The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!<br /> Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun<br /> The frumious Bandersnatch!"<br /> <br /> He took his vorpal sword in hand:<br /> Long time the manxome foe he sought --<br /> So rested he by the Tumtum tree,<br /> And stood awhile in thought.<br /> <br /> And, as in uffish thought he stood,<br /> The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,<br /> Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,<br /> And burbled as it came!<br /> <br /> One, two! One, two! And through and through<br /> The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!<br /> He left it dead, and with its head<br /> He went galumphing back.<br /> <br /> "And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?<br /> Come to my arms, my beamish boy!<br /> O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'<br /> He chortled in his joy.<br /> <br /> <br /> Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: marian2 (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 30, 2006 05:30AM

Prayer Before Birth


I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing, and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.

Louis Macneice


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: JosephT (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 30, 2006 07:52AM

Jack, Les, Johnny:

I anticipated seeing "If," "Invictus," and many of the others posted above. I can't say I expected "Jabberwocky," though. I am more interested, however, in how the poems inspire - how they become a part of people's lives - rather than in merely collecting a list or inventory of what people consider inspirational.

Marian:

I'd not read "Prayer Before Birth" until you posted it above. It makes a very powerful statement. Has it caused you to change the way you think or the things you do in any way?

Joe


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: JosephT (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 30, 2006 08:30AM

The Passing of Arthur (from Idylls of the King)
By Alfred Lord Tennyson

Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:
'Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world,
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.'

And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
'The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou seest -- if indeed I go
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt) --
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.'

Bedivere's lament, "Ah, my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?" just before the passing of his beloved King, describes a plight that we all must face at some point in our lives. When we encounter sorrow from an especially painful loss, our natural response is great fear for the unknown that is to follow. Arthur tells his liegeman to have faith that God is present and will be forever ("and God fulfulls himself in many ways, lest one good custom should corrupt the world"). And in an especially poignant moment, Arthur tells him to take comfort through prayer ("more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of"). I've carried those words with me since I first read them in high school, and they always seem to inspire me during the the more difficult times in my life.

Joe

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/2006 09:31AM by JosephT.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 30, 2006 02:06PM

On His Blindness
--John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."


Les


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 30, 2006 03:21PM

Volunteers
--Author Unknown

Many will be shocked to find,
When the day of judgment nears,
That there's a special place in Heaven,
Set aside for volunteers.

Furnished with big recliners,
Satin couches and footstools,
Where there are no committee chairmen,
No yard sales or rest area coffee to serve,
No library duty or bulletin assembly,
There will be nothing to print or staple,
Not one thing to fold or mail,
Telephone lists will be outlawed.
But a finger snap will bring
Cool drinks and gourmet dinners
And rare treats fit for a king.

You ask, "Who'll serve these privileged
And work for all they're worth?"
Why, all those who reaped the benefits,
And not once volunteered on Earth.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 31, 2006 04:28AM

Hey, Les, you haven't answered Joe's question. He asked you to say which poem you find THE most inspirational, and now you've nominated seven, without choosing between them. Just kidding. They're all worthy. As are Marian's and Johnny's contributions.

Joe, it depends what you mean by 'inspirational'. Personally, I find any poem that strikes me as beautifully written inspirational, in the sense that I feel the words live inside me, and I in them. I'm not sure that it changes my behaviour, but it helps me feel that life and language are good. There are so many such poems, I can't choose one above all the others.

For years I have been compiling an eccentric anthology of love poems, which some day I'll get around to publishing. Two short poems that inspired me towards that project were the following translation from the Burmese by E.Powys Mathers (1892-1939):

The night before last night
I heard that to make songs to girls
And to make prayers to God
Were of equal value
In the eye of time;
Provided, that is,
That the prayers
Are sufficiently beautiful.

and this one from Ezra Pound (1885-1972):

An Immorality

Sing we for love and idleness,
Naught else is worth the having.
Though I have been in many a land,
There is naught else in living.
And I would rather have my sweet,
Though rose-leaves die of grieving,
Than do high deeds in Hungary
To pass all men's believing.

If I was in a situation of great danger, my thoughts would probably turn to the free verse poetry of the 23rd Psalm, King James version, particularly the 4th verse:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I like your choice of 'The Passing of Arthur'. Tennyson at his best. A comparable one of his, which I have always found stirring, is:

Ulysses

     It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

     This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,---
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

     There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me ---
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads --- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

That last line is, I believe, the inspirational quote on the memorial cross over the Antarctic grave of Sir Robert Scott and his fellow explorers who perished there in 1911 on their way back from the South Pole.

Ian

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2006 07:19AM by IanB.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: JosephT (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 31, 2006 07:58AM

Ian:

< I find any poem that strikes me as beautifully written inspirational>

That's an excellent point, Ian. I hadn't thought about it much but I do find that beautifully crafted language can be inspirational in and of itself, regardless of what it is trying to communicate.

I'm glad you posted Ulysses. I thought of posting it but I wanted to leave room for others to join the discussion. It tells a most inspiring tale and is beautifully written, hallmarks of just about anything composed by Tennyson.

I enjoyed the Burmese poem and Pound's "An Immorality." Both are succinct in saying what they set out to say - another feature that I admire in good writing.

As for the 23rd Psalm, lets hear it for King James! If he left us with nothing else, his "version" of The Holy Bible, from beginning to end, ranks as the foremost exhibit of just how beautiful the English language can be.

Joe


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 31, 2006 12:23PM

Joe, Ian, all of the poems I've posted above have motivated/inspired me at different times. As has this one:



THE NEGRO SPEAKS OF RIVERS
By Langston Hughes

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow
of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went
down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn
all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2006 01:58PM by lg.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: Desi (Moderator)
Date: December 31, 2006 12:24PM

my sister once gave me a poster of Desiderata and one thing really struck me:

"If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."

Of course, it's a simple truth, but I was a perfectionist, always insecure about not being good enough, at times arrogant, and at times physically sick, because I was too afraid to fail. And these lines really helped me to get over it!


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 31, 2006 01:04PM

Let us not forget the tough Clough - perished from malaria, if memory serves:


Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!

-- Arthur Hugh Clough


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 31, 2006 01:29PM

Deteriorata

From the CD: National Lampoon Radio Dinner Album
A Parody of the poem Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and waste,
And remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
Avoid quiet and passive persons unless you are in need of sleep.
Rotate your tires.

Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself,
And heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys.
Know what to kiss and when.
Consider that two wrongs never make a right,
But that three lefts do.

Wherever possible put people on "HOLD".
Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment,
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.
Remember the Pueblo.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.
Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI.
Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
Especially with those persons closest to you;
That lemon on your left for instance.

Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls,
Would scarcely get your feet wet.
Fall not in love therefore; it will stick to your face.

Carefully surrender the things of youth: birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan,
And let not the sands of time get in your lunch.
For a good time, call 606-4311.

Take heart amid the deepening gloom that your dog
Is finally getting enough cheese;
And reflect that whatever fortunes may be your lot,
It could only be worse in Sioux City.

You are a fluke of the Universe.
You have no right to be here, and whether you can hear it or not,
The Universe is laughing behind your back.

Therefore make peace with your God whatever you conceive him to be,
Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin.

With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal,
The world continues to deteriorate.
Give up.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 31, 2006 01:35PM

This is of interest ( to me, anyway...maybe Joe):

[en.wikipedia.org]


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 31, 2006 02:06PM

Good article, Johnny.
================================================================================================


John Donne
XVII. MEDITATION.


PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is Catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit (in which both piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled), which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

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I Am a Rock
---Paul Simon


A winter's day
In a deep and dark december;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Ive built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
Its laughter and its loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don't talk of love,
But Ive heard the words before;
Its sleeping in my memory.
I wont disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

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Both Sides Now
--Joni Mitchell

Bows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons evrywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on evryone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really dont know clouds at all

Moons and junes and ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As evry fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave em laughing when you go
And if you care, dont let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's loves illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say I love you right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well somethings lost, but somethings gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really dont know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2006 02:07PM by lg.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 31, 2006 02:12PM

"Walk A Mile In My Shoes"
--JOE SOUTH

If I could be you and you could be me for just one hour
If we could find a way to get inside each other's mind
If you could see me through your eyes instead of your ego
I believe you'd be surprised to see that you'd been blind.

Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
And before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes.

Now your whole world you see around you is just a reflection
And the law of common says you reap just what you sow
So unless you've lived a life of total perfection
You'd better be careful of every stone that you throw.

And yet we spend the day throwing stones at one another
'Cause I don't think or wear my hair the same way you do
Well I may be common people but I'm your brother
And when you strike out and try to hurt me its a-hurtin' you

There are people on reservations and out in the ghettos
And brother there but for the grace of God go you and I
If I only had the wings of a little angel
Don't you know I'd fly to the top of the mountain, and then I'd cry.

Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
And before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: KD (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 01, 2007 10:35AM

When things get tough, I remember "Mother To Son" by Langston Hughes. "Life for me ain't been no golden stair...But I's still climbin', honey". It tells me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. It was in one of the literature books I taught, and the students seemed to like it, too.


Re: Most Inspirational
Posted by: marian2 (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 02, 2007 04:35AM

Joe - Sorry to have been so long responding. I've known Prayer Before Birth since I was in my middle teens, so it's hard to say if it changed the way I thought then when the way I thought was changing radically anyway. However, in many ways it has acted as a compass for me. Because I was brought up with traditional Grammar School and Christian values of personal responsibility, hard work etc, I tend to veer towards considering myself responsible for most things in my ambit, and think I ought to be able to solve all problems if I only try hard enough - making me smug and arrogant when it appears to work, bewildered and depressed when it doesn't . Prayer Before Birth redresses the balance and makes me realize I'm not that influential! It cuts me down to size and lets me off the hook at the same time. it works for me!




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