…And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time”
These words came immediately to mind when I saw this picture that I uploaded earlier. I knew it was a Hawkwind lyric, but I couldn’t remember where they had got it from. The answer is of course from the very famous poem by Longfellow (see below).
It’s one of the most inspirational poems and makes some excellent points about living. Strive every day to improve yourself, give it your best effort because the grave awaits you. Work hard, try to achieve and be an example for others. Self-improvement is it’s own reward. In this modern world of selfish greed, laziness and expectation of success being handed on a plate, it’s never been more relevant. I think we can all learn something these fine words.
A PSALM OF LIFE
TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1838
Here is an excellent live version of the song “Assault and Battery” by Hawkwind - the first 2 lines are from the poem: