Today is my father’s birthday and he would have been in his 80s if he had lived longer. It’s never enough to say I miss him everyday. He was the one, who introduced me to the beauty of the English Poetry and Literary Criticism, Shakespeare,Homer and Milton, Gibran, Whitman, Robert Frost, Wordsworth, Shelly, Keats and many more. He lived by the principle of ‘simple living and high thinking’! He did so much not only for us ,family members but for innumerable others to make their lives better; without ever mentioning about it or even expecting anything in return!Which I came to know only after his death when so many people [whom I’d never met] kept on coming to meet my mom & me for days; remembering him affectionately, telling us how my father had helped them!
He was a poet at heart which I realised when I read his diary and some of his letters written to my mother during their early days of marriage.
This particular poem was one of his favourite, “Dust thou art, to dust returnest,” Was not spoken of the soul ” he used to quote a lot! This one is for him! 🙂 ❤
A Psalm of Life
What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist
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
Finds 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 (1807 – 1882)