I Shall Not Pass This Way Again

I SHALL NOT PASS THIS WAY AGAIN

I shall not pass this way again—
Although it bordered be with flowers,
Although I rest in fragrant bowers,
And hear the singing
Of song-birds winging
To highest heaven their gladsome flight;
Though moons are full and stars are bright,
And winds and waves are softly sighing,
While leafy trees make low replying;
Though voices clear in joyous strain
Repeat a jubilant refrain;
Though rising suns their radiance throw
On summer’s green and winter’s snow,
In such rare splendor that my heart
Would ache from scenes like these to part;
Though beauties heighten,
And life-lights brighten,
And joys proceed from every pain—
I shall not pass this way again.

Then let me pluck the flowers that blow,
And let me listen as I go
To music rare
That fills the air;
And let hereafter
Songs and laughter
Fill every pause along the way;
And to my spirit let me say:
“O soul, be happy; soon ’tis trod,
The path made thus for thee by God.
Be happy, thou, and bless His name
By whom such marvellous beauty came.”
And let no chance by me be lost
To kindness show at any cost.
I shall not pass this way again;
Then let me now relieve some pain,
Remove some barrier from the road,
Or brighten someone’s heavy load;
A helping hand to this one lend,
Then turn some other to befriend.

O God, forgive
That I now live
As if I might, sometime, return
To bless the weary ones that yearn
For help and comfort every day,—
For there be such along the way.
O God, forgive that I have seen
The beauty only, have not been
Awake to sorrow such as this;
That I have drunk the cup of bliss
Remembering not that those there be
Who drink the dregs of misery.

I love the beauty of the scene,
Would roam again o’er fields so green;
But since I may not, let me spend
My strength for others to the end,—
For those who tread on rock and stone,
And bear their burdens all alone,
Who loiter not in leafy bowers,
Nor hear the birds nor pluck the flowers.
A larger kindness give to me,
A deeper love and sympathy;
Then, O, one day
May someone say—
Remembering a lessened pain—
“Would she could pass this way again.”

by Eva Rose York

This was my favorite poem when I first read it in sixth grade, and I wanted to recite it for my drama class in seventh grade. I memorized it, but I couldn’t find anything about the author (who is very cool–Google her…), so I chose one by Ogden Nash instead. This poem was only surpassed by “Ithaka,” which I read my senior year of high school.

This is how I strive to live my life. I know I’ve seen beauty the few others are privileged to see. But I strive to never take it for granted, and to do for others whatever I can. I often fail. I often get caught up in waiting for the next great thing that is coming up.

Right now, I’m waiting for summer.

I’ve been waiting for summer so long that I’ve led myself to believe it’s not even real.

This summer, I will live in the moment. I will not miss a morning, or a chance to see the constellations above the water. I will learn everyone’s name, and take it all in.

Then, I can only hope, I will take it all home with me, and carry the mindset through the school year…

I know my days here are numbered as well...(6, to be exact)...and I will appreciate every single one of them.

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