Stress and catastrophe can affect our health. Stress of the mind or spirit certainly rob vitality. I read once poetry helps “Dust off the troubles of the world.” As of late I’ve searched for various muses to motivate myself, my readers and patients. With the recent terrorist attacks in Boston I find I gravitate towards inspirational pieces. I recently began reading A Treasury of the Familiar which is a compilation of great works of literature, poems, and the similar. I find every page inspires and provokes thought.
The night after the Boston marathon bombing I came across one that stood out. Written by Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881) during the civil war era, but read in the light of our current terrorist crisis, we can still appreciate his plea in the short poem GOD, give us men! I guess we’ve always lived in troubled times. I found some comfort in the knowledge we have always had similar yearnings, that perhaps our current state of affairs has always been so.
I hope his work strikes home with you:
- GOD, give us men! A time like this demands
- Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
- Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
- Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
- Men who possess opinions and a will;
- Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
- Men who can stand before a demagogue
- And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
- Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
- In public duty, and in private thinking;
- For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
- Their large professions and their little deeds,
- Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
- Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
- Josiah Gilbert Holland