“Words to Live By”

Eighty-three years ago today, the woman who gave birth to me, raised me and taught me the power of faith in God was born into this world. Almost eight months ago, that same woman left this earth and transitioned from life, as we who remain attempt to understand but cannot in our limited, yet gifted existences.

I knew that today would be difficult for me because it would be the first time in my lifetime that I did not spend my mother’s birthday with her. Imagine that! Well, instead of shedding tears and wallowing in grief, I’ve decided to share one of my Mom’s favorite poems as a tribute to the beautiful life she lived and as an inspiration to my readers.

Throughout her life, my mother would often recite poetry from memory. She was blessed with that skill up until about a week before her transitioning. Due to her love for the search of meaning in poetic verse, there were many poems that she had placed to memory from her childhood and young-adult life, However, the poem entitled: “A House by the Side of the Road” by Foss, became a mantra that guided her life’s journey. I share that poem with you today in my mother’s memory and from her voice that lives on in my heart, mind and soul…the people we have loved and loss, never really leave.

“The House by the Side of the Road” By: Sam Walter Foss

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn

In the place of their self-content;

There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,

In a fellowless firmament;

There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths

Where highways never ran-

But let me live by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

Where the race of men go by-

The men who are good and the men who are bad,

As good and as bad as I.

I would not sit in the scorner’s seat

Nor hurl the cynic’s ban-

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road

By the side of the highway of life,

The men who press with the ardor of hope,

The men who are faint with strife,

But I turn not away from their smiles nor tears,

Both parts of an infinite plan-

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,

And mountains of wearisome height;

That the road passes on through the long afternoon

And stretches away to the night.

And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice

And weep with the strangers that moan,

Nor live in my house by the side of the road

Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,

Where the race of men go by-

They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,

Wise, foolish – so am I.

Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat,

Or hurl the cynic’s ban?

Let me live in my house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

poem by Sam Walter Foss

Blogger: Daphne Knox McClain

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