A Psalm of Life (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Another day, and I have another poem which I would like to share with you. Also known as What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist, this poem brims with optimism. This is the perfect tonic for daily life, which can at times feel heavy and as though it is weighing us down.
The poem below, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is a reminder that life is full of possibilities and opportunities for those who work hard and are patient. Essentially, the poet tells us that we can make progress from day to day, and achieve our goals, if we make the full use of our time. That said, our time has to be used wisely, by working hard, but we should also never lose faith in the power and potential of life.
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.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this poem as much as I did after I was introduced to it for the first time. Most of all though, I hope that you heed the poet’s message, that we should all aim to make the most out of this life.
Instead of just watching life pass us by we should take action, as life is full of possibilities. So, if you have a talent within you aching to be released, stop wasting time and just express yourself. Draw, paint, sing, read, write….whatever it is that makes your heart sing, start doing it today. Likewise your dreams, ambitions, goals and plans. We all have something which we want to do or achieve, and now is the time to start working towards making them a reality. Slowly, one step at a time and one day at a time.
Have faith, work hard and make the most of life’s inherent potential.

2 thoughts on “A Psalm of Life (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

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