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The Poetry of Life

In the crowded sunways and the quiet shadow-paths of life are met alike its prose and poetry. The straight path of our commonplace way that runs like a grey line from birth to death might be called the prose of life, while the lights and shades, the gay glints of sunlight, the purple haze of shadow and gloaming make up its poetry. To all is the prose given; to some alone, the poetry; and how fair a gathering they make of these stray gleams of God's light. "Out of the strong came forth sweetness"; so is the very sweetness of our lives born of their strength, their truth and sincerity, their faith for the unseen world, and their sympathy with the seen. The instinct for poetry must be cultivated—it is a case of seeking and as surely finding. There are men in the world who plod along the dull grey road of life and never realize its poetry; they see naught but its dust and grime; they only feel its stones. And no man ever yet Sought Goodness and Purity, God's witnesses in the earth, and found them not. In the straightest path of duty we may cull the fairest flowers; in the dark valley of the Shadow we may find saintliest light. Do we visit the house of mourning? Do we turn aside from the routine of our lives to weep with the sorrowing? For one brief hour we have changed the prose into poetry. Do we revel for a day in the beauty of God's country, gaze one instant in unuttered longing at the infinity of a sunset, or wonder at the heaven-light on a young child's face? 'Tis all in the poetry of life, a cooling breath from God on the dusty highway, a glimpse of a better country, a land that is very far off. Even to the lighters in life's grim battle there is poetry; victories are poems; falls are poems; the clash and clang of humanity's striving millions is all in the great Epic that God is writing for his world.

We must all read the prose—the poetry of life is at our hand to take or leave as we choose. There is no class to whom it is specially given, no age that should hold it faster than another. Speak not to me of youth inflamed with ardor and poetic fire, ready to find God in every wayside bush. Age has its sublimest poetry, the very sweetest cadence at the last, for at the very heart and center of the poetry of life is Love, which knows not age nor any withering.

Having found the Divine Beauty within ourselves, it springs to life in every outward thing.
James Allen from the chapter "Heaven in the Heart" in the book All These Things Added.

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