Lexicological Inspiration

I don’t pretend to be well-read when it comes to British literature, and I’ve never read a Charles Dickens novel (I know – bad English major, bad!). In fact, I’m fairly certain the one short story of his assigned for my Brit Lit class a couple of years back was the only one for the class that I didn’t read (sorry, Casey …). Regardless, I thought I’d start off this blog by sharing my all-time favorite poem, written by Dickens in 1863. The poem is as true and timeless as it is old. It also inspired the link and title of this blog. I think if you read each line thoughtfully enough, you’ll find at least a handful that speak to you.

Things That Never Die

The pure, the bright, the beautiful
that stirred our hearts in youth;
the impulses to wordless prayer;
the streams of love and truth;

the longing after something lost;
the spirit’s yearning cry;
the striving after better hopes;
these things can never die.

The timid hand stretched forth to aid
a brother in his need;
a kindly word in grief’s dark hour
that proves a friend indeed;

the plea for mercy softly breathed
when justice threatens high;
the sorrow of a contrite heart;
these things shall never die.

Let nothing pass, for every hand
must find some work to do;
lose not a chance to waken love;
be firm and just and true.

So shall a light that cannot fade
beam on thee from on high,
and angel voices say to thee –
These things shall never die.

I first fell in love with this poem when I sang it in my high school choir some eight or nine years ago, so when I read it I actually sing it in my head (Here’s one great version). I’m sure that affects my sentimentality towards the words, but that’s the way it is. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, too.

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