Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Work" -- a poem by Henry van Dyke

Let me but do my work from day to day,
In field or forest, at the desk or loom;
In roaring marketplace or tranquil room,
Let me but find it in my heart to say
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray:
"This is my work; my blessing, not my doom.
Of all who live, I am the one by whom
This work can best be done in the right way."

Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
Then shall I cheerful greet the laboring hours,
And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
At eventide, to play and love and rest;
Because I know for me my work is best.

Why are the woods so noisy around here?

Hello everyone! The title of my blog is based on a favourite quote from Henry van Dyke:

"Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best."

Excellence in any craft is something we, perhaps, should strive for. I'd like to suggest, however, that a damaging perfectionism is sometimes substituted for the desire for excellence, in some of our lives and at least part of the time--to the point that we often refuse to even try things that are outside our comfort zone, lest we not do them well.

More on all this later!