Monday, August 31, 2009

True friendship is abiding, not fleeting

There was a wonderful story in the Chicago Tribune today about how poetry is pulling a former English teacher out of the depths of depression.

A clergyman's English teacher of many years ago had a stroke, and the reverend has been spending time reading poetry to him. In his sermon the pastor told his congregants: "True friendship is abiding, not fleeting; it is deep, not shallow. It includes giving of one's self to another and receiving what another has to give." The latter concept is particularly important. Sometimes we do quite well at giving, but not at receiving. Friendship is a two-way street.

The ex-student, who had been turned onto poetry by his teacher, is spending time reading Matthew Arnold, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Milton, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Robert Browning and Dylan to his former teacher. Indeed, "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" seemed particularly appropriate:

Do not go gentle into that
good night,
Old age should burn and
rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dy-
ing of the light.

Now the teacher is beginning to eat and even to communicate. What an amazing turnaround the reading of poetry has caused. I look below (in my Blog) at that post where a reader said nobody reads poetry anyway, and I really hope he read this amazing article.

1 comment:

Cat said...

What a lovely story of hope and compassion. Thanks for sharing it, Kalleh.