Sunday, March 01, 2009

Who thinks most has the skinniest blood: Sunday's Poem Number 7

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths
by Philip James Bailey

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest:
Lives in one hour more than in years do some
Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.
Life's but a means unto an end; that end,
Beginning, mean, and end to all things—God.
The dead have all the glory of the world.


I'd like to say that I fully appreciated this poem for its message -- that we should live life by focusing on the meaning of the things we do, not by how long it lasts. I'd also like to say that I was able to enjoy the way the poet occasionally plays with grammar, like when he changes up the expected order of words and thoughts in the line "Lives in one hour more than in years do some."

But the truth is that most of the poem was lost on me as soon as I read the words "fat blood," and began wondering if maybe I have fat blood, too.

1 comment:

lisapepin said...

The "fat blood" line lost me, too. I was too busy thinking about the recent episode of The Daily Show in which Jon Stewart held up a jar of "Baconnaise" to focus on the depressing religious sentiment that followed. So maybe it was a good thing.