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Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Would Not Sit in the Scorner's Bench

I thought I would put the few verses of one of my favorite poems on my blog this morning. I thought of it last night and wondered how many know of it in this day and age. It used to be that all newspapers in this country would publish at least one poem every day for inspiration and an uplift to the spirit. But somewhere poetry changed--with the New Yorker I think. I hate their idea of poetry. With them, it became dark and brooding and self focused, and arrogant, more like a laundry list of disconnected elite phrases, until it no longer had much relevance to the human journey.


The House by the Side of the Road
by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house
by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house
by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears-
Both parts of an infinite plan;-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened
meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my
house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish- so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem. I enjoyed it & it really spoke to me.

I shared it with someone dear to me who just had to sell her "dream house" due to financial issues. She just moved into a much smaller home & is feeling ambivalent about it.

I realize "house" is used as a metaphor, but I also hear the poet saying to my friend, "What's important to find in your house is love. Maybe losing your big,fancy house was not such a loss afterall." This poem reminds us all of how loving humanity and life and embracing it with open arms is the key to a life well spent. Thanks again for sharing.