Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Max Ehrmann, "A Prayer"

"A Prayer"

"Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength
that comforted me in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the
margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.
May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; 
and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, 
and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful for life,
and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet;
and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still."

- Max Ehrmann, "A Prayer"
•••

"We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." - "Dead Poet’s Society"

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