Pondering on Poems

My daughter stands up and I can’t help but be amazed at how she’s grown. And then I get teary-eyed. As the year nears its end, the more I go nostalgic about everything. I start thinking about how time has flown and about all other clichés of life.

I also feel like I’m in the mood to read some poems about appreciating life. No, I’m not actually someone who’s deep into poetry that I can name the poem and the poet from the first line. But when I read something I like, I tend to be inspired by it.

In this short Life

In this short Life
That only lasts an hour
How much — how little — is
Within our power

This poem by Emily Dickinson is like life itself. Short, but can be meaningful, depending on how you interpret it.

Dickinson emphasizes the fleeting nature of our existence in this world by shortening it to 60 minutes. Looking at life this way helps me push myself to do things now and not later.

It’s also up to me to spell life with a capital “L” and doubt that it may be a typographical error. Perhaps, I might consider apologizing for such a mistake. Or I can embrace it, appreciate its uniqueness, and look at it with such significance that I just have to spell it with a capital letter.

The power we have over our lives. It seems like this is something many of us go crazy over. I was such a control freak not too long ago, and sometimes that part of me still comes out. And I’ve also got an inferior attitude that makes me doubt my abilities time and again. I’ve learned that striking a balance is key. I’m given talents and resources that I should hone and use. But I also have to keep in mind that I’ve got limitations, which I can choose to see as a hindrance or as a path to further creativity.

Yesterday is History

Yesterday is History,
'Tis so far away
Yesterday is Poetry
'Tis Philosophy

Yesterday is mystery
Where it is Today
While we shrewdly speculate
Flutter both away

It’s another Dickinson poem that inspires me to appreciate my life and look forward to what’s next.

Indeed, I can’t do anything about “Yesterday” now, but remembering its being both “Poetry” and “Philosophy” is also important. Appreciating my past’s beauty and drama gives me wisdom for what I should do for the present and the future.

Life’s always been a mystery and will remain as such. That’s one thing I’ve learned, too. So for me, there’s no point in trying to uncover every bit of it. I believe I’d be wasting my time if I do that. I could spend my time and effort on more productive things. I find that I’m happiest, most fulfilled when I just live each day with a grateful heart.

And I think it’s just fitting to end this post with another simple but touching poem that sums up my wish after some pondering on poems this morning. It’s actually the first and last stanzas of George Herbert’s Gratefulnesse, which are merged and made into a popular prayer for Thanksgiving celebrations:

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, – a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.

Another year’s coming in just about a month. What goes on in your mind? Do you suddenly have an attack of sentimental mood like me? Or do you just carry on as usual? Have you got a poem, song, film, or other artwork that inspires you to live your life to its fullest no matter what time of the year?

Photo courtesy of Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

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