The other day one of my high school students emailed me asking for the name of a book I had loaned her in school. The book was Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. The book is an odd one. It is a collection of poems that are left on the headstones of the residents of a small town. They intertwine and tell the story of the town. Kind of cool, but kind of weird. My favorite poem of all time is in that book and as I dug the book out to email her I knew right where to go to read that poem. As I read it, I realized whenever I read this poem it always seems to pertain to that point in my life. And it did again. I think it is the generalities of fear we all have in our lives while also looking for something more. Whether it pertains to you or not, I hope you enjoy it.
I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me –
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire –
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.