A Farewell (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Today’s poem is slightly different to the others so far. It is a reminder of our mortality, and for me, a call for us to remain humble, enjoy the time we have and create something of value which lasts.

Tennyson compares his time on Earth to the seemingly eternal lifespan of nature, with a hint of regret that his life is so relatively short. The message is clear, that nature lives on forever, while humans don’t. The rivulet moves on to becomes a river and then it merges in to the sea where it stays for eternity. In reading this poem it becomes clear that even though his lifespan may have been limited, the great poet’s work lives on even after their death.

If we want to leave something behind us of value, we don’t need to follow Tennyson’s lead and become poets. Life is to savoured and enjoyed but while we are here, we  just need to do our bit to try and make the world a better place to live in. Take a moment to ask yourself; how would you like to be remembered by future generations?  What lasting value do you want to create? It could be a business which you hope to build and which will outlive you, or you may want to write a novel, paint or create music. Or your dream could be to meet that special someone and raise a family. Whatever it is, if we were to close our eyes we could all picture exactly what kind of legacy we would like to leave.

 

Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

 

Life is short, so we need to make the most of it and not waste time on things which don’t ultimately matter. Even though we are not sure of what tomorrow will bring, life is to be enjoyed and not wasted or regretted, and while we are here we have an opportunity to create something of value which lasts.

“You can leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think”

 – Marcus Aurelius

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