Saturday, November 17, 2012

Classic Poetry ~ "Forgiveness" by John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier, 1809 - 1894

John Greenleaf Whittier, known as The Quaker Poet, The Slave Poet and The Fireside Poet, wrote from the time he was a child until he died at 85. A Quaker devoted to social causes and reform, Whittier worked for years as an editor and writer at a series of abolitionist newspapers and magazines. Additionally, he was a politician and abolitionist, opposing slavery before it became the divisive subject that resulted in civil war. Most famous for lengthy works, such as the oft-referred-to poem, Snowbound, Whittier occasionally wrote shorter pieces like Forgiveness, below.


Forgiveness


My heart was heavy, for its trust had been
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men,
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among
The green mounds of the village burial-place;
Where, pondering how all human love and hate
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,
And cold hands folded over a still heart,
Pass the green threshold of our common grave,
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,
Awed for myself, and pitying my race,
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!

After reading this anew, I cannot help but hope that each of us experiences the same epiphany.  ~Kim



9 comments:

  1. This poem transcends religion and embraces all humanity.

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  2. Wow. How beautiful. It does transcend religion because deeper than religion, deeper than theology, deeper than all abstracts lives each of us!
    Superb -- thanx for the Intro, Kim!

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  3. Great poem! Like Sabio^ says, so deep!

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  4. A wonderful perspective he came to embrace. It's true, when we come down to the last breath, all men are equalized--best to forgive. Thanks, Kim.

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  5. Kim, I LOVE this and, especially, your comment after:)Yes, we could all use a good epiphany or two.

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  6. It's a sonnet?! I have collected Whittier on my poetry shelves--the real wooden ones. Sometimes his classical elements irk me (regular rhyme and meter), but never his content. I often have trouble forgiving, and this poem reminds me what is at stake.

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  7. What an excellent poem to share at this season of the year. I believe forgiveness is more for the one doing the forgiving than anyone else!

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  8. Oh wow. This is beautiful and very very wise!!!! Thank you! Take care
    x

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  9. I love the ending! So beautiful, to end on that note!
    Thanks Kim :D

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