26 Aug The Necessity of Poetry & Travel | Inspirational Podcasts
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Today’s podcast was edited and adapted from Life’s Enthusiasms by David Starr Jordan, published in 1906.
Poetry is truth expressed in the fewest possible words, in words which are inevitable, in words which could not be changed without weakening the meaning or throwing discord into the melody. To choose the right word and to discard all others, this is the chief factor in good writing.
To learn good poetry by heart is to acquire help toward doing this instinctively, automatically as other habits are acquired. In the affairs of life, then, no form of good manners, no habit of usage, is more valuable than the habit of good English.
My message today is an appeal to enthusiasm in the things of life, a call to do things because you love them, to love things because you do them, to keep the eyes open, the heart warm and the pulses swift, as you move across the field of life.
“To take the old world by the hand and frolic with it;” this was Robert Louis Stevenson’s recipe for joyousness. Old as the world is, let it be always new to us, as we are new to it. Let it be every morning made afresh by those who (quote) “instantly and constantly reneweth the work of creation.” Let “the bit of green sod under your feet be the sweetest to you in this world, in any world.”
Half the joy of life is in little things taken on the run. Let us run if we must — even the sands do that — but let us keep our hearts young and our eyes open that nothing worth our while shall escape us. And everything is worth our while, if we only grasp it and its significance.
As we grow older it becomes harder to do this. A grown person sees nothing they were not ready to see in their youth. But so long as enthusiasm lasts, so long is youth still with us.
To make all this more direct, we may look to the various sources from which enthusiasm may be derived. What does a school give us in this direction? Intellectual drills, broadening of mental horizons, professional training: all this we expect from school, college, and university. And in every phase of this, there is room for a thousand enthusiasms.
Moreover, a school should give us comradeship, an outlook on the hopes and aspirations of our contemporaries. It opens to us the resources of young life, the luminous visions of the boys and girls that are to be men and women. We come to know the wonderful opportunities to dream and plan, with some great thing always to come, who knows? One person’s dream may be our inspiration as it passes, just as its realization may be the inspiration of future generations.
In school, life is in the making. And with the rest we are making our own lives with the richest materials ever at hand. Life is contagious, and in that fact lies the meaning of Comradeship….