Friday, March 15, 2013


To my many bloggy friends near and far who are seeking strength right now (no matter the reason or the season), I dug up some right fine wisdom from the right and honorable (and always inspiring) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Though both of these poems may be familiar to many, I don't recall ever reading them before. When viewed through the veil of grief or cancer, they are especially poignant. Both were written in the 1830s.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

THE NIGHT is come, but not too soon; 
And sinking silently,
All silently, the little moon
Drops down behind the sky.

There is no light in earth or heaven
But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.

Is it the tender star of love?
The star of love and dreams?
Oh no! from that blue tent above
A hero's armor gleams.

And earnest thoughts within me rise,
When I behold afar,
Suspended in the evening skies,
The shield of that red star.

O star of strength! I see thee stand
And smile upon my pain;
Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,
And I am strong again.

Within my breast there is no light
But the cold light of stars;
I give the first watch of the night
To the red planet Mars.

The star of the unconquered will,
He rises in my breast,
Serene, and resolute, and still,
And calm, and self-possessed.

And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,
That readest this brief psalm,
As one by one thy hopes depart,
Be resolute and calm.

Oh, fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know erelong,
Know how sublime a thing it is

To suffer and be strong.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
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

Find 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.


  1. The Psalm of Life is really quite something. Thank you for sharing it today. ~Catherine

    1. I agree, Catherine. And it is amazing that a whopping 180 years later, they are still so relevant!

  2. What poignant poems to select for your blog, Renn! They spoke to me in powerful ways. xo

    1. Jan, I searched for several hours until I found two poems that spoke to me. Both were by Longfellow. What an amazing fellow. Glad to hear they spoke to you too. He writes from such a wise place.

  3. oh, renn - what marvelous inspiration these two poems evoke. so powerful, so beautifully eloquent and so relevant to all of us who strive to find light through the darkness and to LIVE each moment as well as we are able. i love longfellow, but realize i have never read a biography of his life. i will enjoy looking forward to getting to know more about what drove his beautiful mind to give us such wisdom and hope. thank you so much for sharing these lovely and profound poems.

    love, XOXO

    karen, TC

    1. Karen I don't know much about him either, but as I mention above, nearly 200 years later, he's spot on. Gotta love a timeless classic!

  4. I needed poetry at this moment. Something to unwind me, something to re-center me.... I HATE that I've been MIA among my bloggy buddies.....

    Too much going on... Much. Too. Much. And really, none of it is good. Well.... lots of it is good but the really important stuff. Not so much....

    Let me just say that I positively love Love LOVE your list of resources. I love what they are doing at Medivizor (met the CEO who was in NY earlier in the week)... Love METAvivor..... Love Stephanie..... Love Angelo..... Love Jean...... Love Ann....Hell... I love the whole damn list..... Well done!!! On that note, I shall hit the pillow...

    Hugs and MUCH love,


    1. AM, so good to "see" you! I think about you and your mom all the time and wish the both of you tranquil moments amid the business. You meet such cool people being in NY. I am always impressed by your chutzpah! Please keep doing what you're doing! We need your voice. xoxo


Your comments are encouraging — and encouraged!