Friday, August 1, 2014

Art is Long

Talk not of wasted affection; affection never was wasted.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Three videos for A Psalm of Life by Longfellow: the first is a centenarian reciting it from memory (she does a really lovely job); the second is from the Favorite Poem Project; in the third, A Psalm of Life is set to Celtic music.






A Psalm of Life
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

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.

***********

Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up.

15 comments:

Carol said...

Tabatha,
Wow!Thanks so much for this beautiful performance trilogy this morning. I watched all three performances. This is a poem I feel like I read in high school, when I was invincible and way too young to appreciate it. So glad you brought me back to it. Thank you.

LInda Baie said...

Wow, Tabatha, you built to a marvelous climax! The poem is lovely, & I remember it from high school, too. Each one shared has its own poignancy, enjoyed all, but especially from the minister with his past in Barbados-lovely story. Thank you for the good beginning to the day!

Diane Mayr said...

I have no prior knowledge of this poem, Tabatha. Thanks for the introduction and the three so very different interpretations.

Irene Latham said...

Learn to Labor and to wait. If that isn't the writing life, I don't know what is! Thank you, Tabatha! xo

Buffy Silverman said...

My internets are slow today and did not want to load the videos--but I enjoyed reading this poem (which I only vaguely remember from my misspent youth.) Here's a line I love and will try to remember:

But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Monica said...

Loved all three. Thanks, Tabatha.

Joyce Ray said...

Tabatha, you have a knack for enriching our lives with these marvelous things that we might otherwise miss! I loved all three of these videos (what a crescendo for the end!)and only recognize snippets of the poem. I am glad to read it in its entirety.

Bridget Magee said...

Beautiful, Tabatha! Thank you for sharing these today. = )

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Isn't it wonderful how renditions of the same poem can be so different, yet all so meaningful. Love what the Annie Moses Band did with it!

Carol Varsalona said...

Tabatha, thank you for sharing Longfellow's poem and the three renditions of it. I loved the line: But to act that each tomorrow find us farther than today. There is power in that statement if we believe.

Becky Shillington said...

This is such a beautiful poem, Tabatha! I hadn't read it in many years. I especially love the line,
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul."
Thanks so much for sharing this!

Margaret Simon said...

What a rich post of artistic interpretation! I would love to show all three to my students. They are only elementary, but why not impress on them at a young age that you have a legacy to leave. Thanks!

Margaret Simon said...

Did I comment already? I got so involved in the videos and then started searching out more by Annie Moses Band. I've nearly wasted an hour!

Robyn Hood Black said...

"Whenever I read Longfellow's 'Psalm of Life,' I'm challenged to live it" - from the minister. Wow. Thanks for sharing all of this, Tabatha! Act, and have a great week!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

I was so enamoured with Celtic music when I was younger - fell in love with Loreena McKenitt - have you listened to her music yet? The video clips are gorgeous.
These lines from the poem haunted me:
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.