Monday, June 27, 2011

The Poet Abe Lincoln

I caught a little part of a PBS special about President Lincoln tonight. I haven't really studied his life, just what I learned in school, but in those few minutes, I learned something about Mr. Lincoln that I didn't know.

He wrote poetry.

The show told about how in 1844, he revisited his childhood home, where he had lost his mother to death, years before. Afterward, he penned a poem about it. I'm including the lines they repeated in the show, if you'd like to read all of it, plus others, go to Abe Lincoln poetry.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I'm living in the tombs.

The show continued by saying that Lincoln didn't consider himself much of a poet - I would have to disagree. I believe Abe still mourned deeply for his mother, even after all of those years and that pain comes through in his poetry.

Mr. Lincoln found, that for the rest of his life, words would be important to him. Like so many others, maybe writing helped him through his bouts of depression. He's known for many things, so maybe his writing gets overlooked, but how many of us could not repeat at least a few of his famous words? (Fourscore and seven years ago . . .) What a legacy.

I'm inspired to do better when I read of people who struggled and overcame. In spite of how I may feel about his political life and decisions, as a fellow writer, I have great respect.

Thank you, Mr. President, you are one of us. (and if you are one of us - you know exactly what I'm talking about).

Goals accomplished: 500 words plus written, 15 minutes in the sunshine, read 15 minutes from Things As They Really Are by Neal Maxwell, reported. Check.


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