Saturday, April 16, 2011

I am part of the first great cause.

Last post: Thanksgiving. And now: Spring.

Although you might think it's November and not April. Snow is falling heavily outside; looks lake effect. Big, fluffy, walnut-sized globs of snow. At least it's not sticking. Much.

Some weeks ago, geekMan and I picked up a scrapbook at an antique mall. It's an old, paper-covered ledger book filled with newspaper clippings dating to the 1920s, '30s, and early '40s. Mostly OpEd pieces, words of wisdom, points of advice; some interesting essays about the lack of US involvement in European conflict prior to WWII. And a lot of poems, a good portion of which are in German. I've decided that the collector of these scraps is a woman. Clippings of "Meditations of a Married Woman" by Helen Rowland give that much away. It surprises me how modern the ideas are, and I'm not sure if that's reflective of the collector or the times she lived in; or maybe where she lived, here in Wisconsin.

I find kindred interest in many pieces. Most don't have author's bylines. One I liked does: Ella Wheeler Wilcox. She was prolific, and best known for the lines: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone" (Solitude). Turns out she's a Wisconsin poet. Maybe kindred after all.

I Am  by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I know not whence I came,
   I know not whither I go,
But the fact stands clear
That I am here
   In this world of pleasure and woe,
And out of the mist and murk
   Another truth shines plain-
It is in my power
Each day and hour
  To add to its joy or its pain.

I know that the earth exists,
   It is none of my business why.
I cannot find out
What it's all about-
   I would but waste time to try.
My life is a brief, brief thing,
   I am here for a little space,
And while I stay
I would like, if I may,
   To brighten and better the place.

The trouble, I think, with us all
   Is the lack of a high conceit:
If each man thought
He was sent to the spot
   To make it a bit more sweet,
How soon we could gladden the world,
   How easily right all wrong,
If nobody shirked
And each one worked
   To help his fellows along.

Cease wondering why you came;
   Stop looking for faults and flaws;
Rise up today
In your pride and say
   "I am part of the first great cause.
However full the world
   There is room for an earnest man;
It had need of me
Or I would not be-
   I am here to strengthen the plan."

poem a.k.a. Why and Wherefore
copyright 1896

No comments:

Post a Comment