I wrote the following verses one day after a period of self doubt and despair when I questioned myself about my personal values, the size of my “ecological footprint,” and the work I was doing in community betterment. I printed the verses on a scroll and passed them on to a few friends.
What happened next was interesting. The little work got around. People passed it along among themselves and it somehow ended up in some interesting places, e.g. on the wall of the vice president of a major car manufacturing company.
While this will not change the world overnight, it certainly contains food for thought. And landed in the right life at the right time, just might help lead to a deepened understanding. of the plight of our world…and who knows what from there.
It is here presented for your information and hopefully, enjoyment.
The Great Legacy
I want no castle for my home,
I want not round the world to roam;
I want no suit of golden thread
Or pillow fine upon my bed.
I want no silver, gems or gold;
I crave not youth as I grow old:
The game of courtship I’ve outgrown:
I want no mate save for my own.
I want no piece of foreign land
Or scores of troops at my command:
I want not status, wealth or fame:
Care not if no one knows my name…
No, what I want does not exist
Even upon the longest list
Of things material in reams
That fill our wild, consumptive dreams.
For all I truly want, you see
Is life as it is meant to be
With love and truth and beauty free:
Our world as it is meant to be.
And this, my friends, this just could be
Your and my Great Legacy.
* * *
But love is kept, confined, entombed;
A Golden Bird in a darkened room.
And truth is not a voice within
But the twisted child of corporate whim.
And beauty calls but few can see
Creation’s glorious majesty.
So Love and Truth and Beauty find
Themselves imprisoned by mankind
And drowned out in the endless roar
Of fevered cries of “Give me more!”
And people burning with the fire
Of wanton self-serving desire:
Grasping, ravaged with the thirst
To put themselves, not others first.
Just look around and you will see
Our world is not as it should be:
The stories in our papers tell
That in Our Garden all’s not well.
Just hear those stories in the news
Of how the Arabs hate the Jews:
Of politicians bad and worse
Who live to loot the public purse:
Of bankers rich who in their greed
Take all they can from those in need
And men corrupt who pose as saints
Whose will to hoard knows no restraints
And those well off who do not see
The stinging tears of tragedy
Of those whose hearts are wracked in pain,
The victims of another’s gain.
* * *
Why can’t we stop and think, my friends,
How holy, sweet and reverend
Is this fair world in which we dwell:
Why do we fail to treat it well?
Why is it that we don’t adore
The sunlight on a forest floor?
Or dancing ripples in a brook?
Why is it we don’t stop to look?
Why aren’t we awestruck when we see
The bounty of the apple tree?
Or stars or oceans deep and dark
Or we hear the piping meadowlark?
How can we live amid such grace
In such a precious, Holy Place
And not have all our voices raise
To sing a holy hymn of praise?
And why can’t we with due respect
Treat well those whom we now neglect?
Why can’t each one of our lives be
Its own unique doxology?
For if in life we do good deeds
And minister to others’ needs,
And try their suffering to erase
The world becomes a better place.
For every deed of good intent
Reflects off its recipient
And bids “Fly well” the peaceful dove
And touches all with light and love.
And bathing in the warming glow
Each person so touched then does sow
The same good seed in other ground
Thus making heaven’s bells resound
In every dark and hopeless place
Where others, troubled, crave the grace
That eases suffering, cleanses hearts
And to their world a joy imparts.
* * *
So plant your seeds of hope and light:
Dispel the darkness, kill the blight;
Banish false idolatry:
Set Love and Truth and Beauty free.
And one day, if I live to see
Our Garden as it’s meant to be,
I hope to hear the joyous sound
Resounding in the hills around
As legions strong their voices raise
In gratitude and holy praise
Their hearts unbound, their spirits free
To sing a Great Doxology.
And that is as it’s meant to be.
May this be our Great Legacy.
-RM, Spring 07
The Great Legacy