Saturday, July 11, 2015

Put An X On My Forehead

This story (interview here) has gotten my attention. I have many thoughts about it that are not yet congealed.  And yet.  I want to write this now...

We live in selfish times.  That's the fact, though it's not often stated that way, and I wish that at the moment I felt like saying it more kindly.  We are less respectful, less considerate, less loyal, less of most everything that makes us more human and less animal than we once were.

While I feel that I have shared this poem many times here, it's been only four.  And the last time I posted it here, though it seems like a second ago, was eight years ago, almost to the day:

..My Coronet
If I in my daily contact
....... Of school days spent with you
Have taught you
.......To live content with small means,
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
.......Refinement rather than fashion,
To be most worthy and respectable,
.......To study hard, talk gently and act
To listen with open mind and heart
.......And grow up to be all that you should:
Cheerful, brave, and true
.......To G-d, home, and country;
Then I shall have completed
.......The setting of another tiny jewel, with
Into the crown of my life work.

This poem was written by my mom's science teacher and given to each student when they graduated eighth grade circa 1950. It is a remnant of a time when regular people wrote poetry in praise of high and accepted standards of contentedness and respectability, gentleness and frankness, bravery and truth, G-d and home and country, and crowns of life's work. It was a time when no-one thought of using their phones during a play because it was not only physically impossible but because it was morally unthinkable.


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