Friday, January 25, 2013


Why is it that some words seem to stick with you while others fade like a warm breath on a cold morning?
The lyrics to songs, bible verses you learned when you were a kid, or the words to a poem all can seep deep within your mind, and bubble up at unexpected times.
Some how the writer strings together a handful of common words in an uncommon way, and the result is a verse, or line that resonates.
Last week while walking at sunset in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico, the words to my favorite Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem came rushing back as fresh as the first time I read his poem Psalm of Life. The verse that's stuck in my mind like a sailor's tattoo is:

Lives of great men all remind us
We can live our lives sublime
And in passing leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time.

Longfellow died in 1882, but his words live on.


  1. I think I've heard the answer about memory, but it's pretty complicated and it's been a LONG time since psychology class. Human memory is a very interesting subject.

  2. I remember that verse too. It was one of the many poems we had to memorize. Another one is Paul Revere's Ride. About 100 years ago when I was a child we had to learn something when went to school. lol

  3. I have loved those lines since I first read them.

    To live lives sublime--that's what we all want.

  4. If you're going to have something stick in your mind forever, that poem is a good one! Enjoy your weekend and I'll just have to dream about walking on warm sand somewhere. This cold snow just isn't doing it for me!

  5. That's the beautiful thing about words...they are immortal.

  6. I don't know why, but I think we associate certain words with moments in our lives, experiences we go through. Music plays a huge role for me; certain songs take me to a particular time in my life, good or bad, but mostly good.

  7. oh- You have hit one of my favorites there- My father read me poetry from the time I was a baby- I think the next verse is this one:
    Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing over Life's solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
    Seeing it, shall take heart again.
    (I don't think that is exact but pretty close) Great post, Rick- Diana

  8. Maybe I think too much... but I think that when we are younger, our memory isn't as crowded as when we are old and we retain certain memories better than others, especially if we had to learn them by heart.
    Somehow, I remember better when there's music that goes along with it.

    Just the fact that our walnut looking brain can remember is an awesome gift.

    Wishing you great memories today.

  9. I love The Psalm of Life.
    Scent can also provoke the strongest, most specific memories.. perhaps the ocean had something to do with it.

    Breakfast After 10

  10. How beautiful. I love this post!

  11. I agree with Susan. Beautiful. And how wonderful that that poem came into your mind the way it did. I find that many of the bible verses that I learned as a child come to mind in times of great emotion.

  12. It's interesting to see what sticks with us. Sometimes I think I remember something and then discover I had it wrong in my overloaded brain.


  13. I know exactly what you are speaking about Rick. I remember some words from specific moments in the first time I ever heard that word being used and it stuck.


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