Monday, June 25, 2007

PTSW: Carpe Diem!

Our minister was off on a mission trip this week so we had our lay speaker as preacher this Sunday. His sermon title was "Is the Load Too Heavy to Carry?" and he took as his text Matthew 6, verses 25 to 34 which ends:
"... Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
That reminded me of "carpe diem", Horace's famous admonition to harvest the present day rather than worrying about the future. And that set me to thinking of one of the most important epiphanies of my own life that I wrote about Sunday afternoon.

And so Horace's poem from only a few years before the birth of Christ, will be a good one to start this week.

ODES - I.11
Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoƫ, nec Babylonios
tentaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati!
seu plures hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum, sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.

by Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus)

There are many translations (Click here to find five more) , this one is by David Lisle Crane:
We cannot know the day and hour appointed
By peering at the tables of the seers;
No anxious calculation of our chances
Will strengthen hope, or set at rest our fears.

Better then be cool and steady-hearted,
Discern no future triumph or despair,
Nor seek to know when winter storms have started
Will any other winter find you here.

For days and hours fly by while we are hoping
That many days and hours are still to come; -
Prune eager hope instead to shorter measure;
No future can compare with this day's sun.
translated by David Lisle Crane
And all that reminds me of a one-day-at-a-time song my mother wrote about her mother's advice:
"...Today is the first day
Of the rest of your life.
Don't borrow trouble
With yesterday’s strife.
Take time. . . smell the flowers
That's worth living for
Then pick up each new day
And fill it with joy!..."
You can read the rest on her weblog, Ruthlace.


The series of posts, A Poem to Start the Week, is my little anthology of poetry, many of which I have used with my students in elementary schools during 27 years of teaching.

Previous Poems to Start the Week:
Poems About PoetryMan's Best Friend
Spelling is Tough Stough!
Blue MarbleTacks, Splinters, Apples and Stars
Oh, Captain, My Captain!MetaphorIntroducion to Poetry
Loveliest of TreesFlax-Golden TalesThe Dinosaurs Are Not All Dead
Owl PelletsMummy Slept LateJust My Size
The Kindest Things I KnowMiles to GoLove that Brother
Oh, Frabjous Day!

Other Posts about Children's Literature:

The Lion's Paw top kid's OOP book!
Aslan is Dead!
A Teacher's Life

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.
And then there's Alien Invasion.

A weblog dedicated to Poetry for Children.
Watch Sonja Cole's reviews of children's books at

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