John Steinbeck’s Letter to His Son

The Plaid Zebra recently published John Steinbeck’s letter to his son.

Here is my favourite passage:

“There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.”

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Cranky Old Man

Artist: Fauxreel

Artist: Fauxreel

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
The old man’s simple, but eloquent, poem has since appeared in magazines for Mental Health. And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man…..
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all be there too one day!
PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM.
The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched.
They must be felt by the heart.

Related Post: If…

Great Quotes by Great Artists

1. Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. -Pablo Picasso

2. Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar. -Pablo Picasso

3. Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. -Salvador Dali

4. There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke. -Vincent Van Gogh

5. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. -Leonardo da Vinci

6. Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. -Claude Monet

7. What spirit is so empty and blind that it cannot recognize that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and the skin more beautiful than the garment in which it is clothed. -Michelangelo

8. I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling. -Frida Kahlo

9. The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do. -Henry Moore

10. I think in term of the day’s resolutions, not the year’s. -Henry Moore

Related Post: Great Quotes By My Favourite Authors

Does Our Planet Need a Stroke of Insight?

In this wonderful inspiring and touching TED talk neuroscientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor gains new insight into how the brain works when she suffers a stroke. She explains that the right side of the brain allows us to connect with our environment and each other and experience the present moment. The left side of the brain analyses the past and makes prediction about the future but most importantly it gives us a sense of self awareness.

Each side of the brain can be said to have a different personality. The right side focuses on our similarities and is considered compassionate, expansive, open, and supportive of others. While our left brain focuses on our differences and specializes in critical judgment of those unlike ourselves it tends to be our source of bigotry, prejudice, and fear or hate of the unfamiliar.

She ends the talk with an important message. We have a choice to view the world skewed through our left-brain values as individuals focused on profit, personal gain, power, prestige, authority, advantage, and the material goods money can buy. Alternatively we can step into the consciousness of our right hemisphere thereby focusing on connecting with our environment and those around us. This shift towards our right-brain values will ultimately bring more peace to the world.

Related Post: TED Talks

If….

Poetry can be profoundly important in our lives and certain lines can reach to one’s very depths. What poems or lines of poetry have special meaning to you?

Here is one of my favourites.

If…by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

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