While researching for Sunday’s message, I came across this poem by Bayard Taylor. The poem didn’t make it into the sermon, it just didn’t fit, but it hasn’t left my thinking. My imagination has been triggered by both its form and message. I am impressed with the wording and intrigued by their use.
But what does it say? What meaning was Taylor trying to convey? I could hazard a guess, but I am more interested in your perspective. So read the poem, digest its meaning, and then write your interpretation in the comment section. I look forward to our conversation together!
by Bayard Taylor
The fisherman wades in the surges;
The sailor sails over the sea;
The soldier steps bravely to battle;
The woodman lays axe to the tree.
They are each of the breed of the heroes,
The manhood attempered in strife:
Strong hands, that go lightly to labor,
True hearts, that take comfort in life.
In each is the seed to replenish
The world with the vigor it needs, —
The centre of honest affections,
The impulse to generous deeds.
But the shark drinks the blood of the fisher;
The sailor is dropped in the sea;
The soldier lies cold by his cannon;
The woodman is crushed by his tree.
Each prodigal life that is wasted
In manly achievement unseen,
But lengthens the days of the coward,
And strengthens the crafty and mean.
The blood of the noblest is lavished
That the selfish a profit may find;
But God sees the lives that are squandered,
And we to His wisdom are blind.