Friday, April 24, 2009

Ten Times One is Ten

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Despite the title, this is not a stab at getting my daughter to love math facts (although I'm open to suggestions), this is my contribution to Poetry Friday via Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909). Mr. Hale was a Unitarian minister in Boston who wrote short stories, the most popular of which is "The Man Without a Country". His short story, "Ten Times One is Ten", quoted above contains an idea that I wrestle with the everyday: "I can do something."

Sadly, I've not yet read anything by Mr. Hale, so I can only comment on what I can gather from biographical sketches that I would not agree with his overall philosophy. He is a fascinating character, nonetheless, and is attributed with saying and doing some pretty interesting things.

Mr. Hale's expression of individual activism inspires me mostly because of the first line: I am only one. That's all I can and must be.


Beth said...

This little poem gets to the crux of it for me. Someone asked what I thought I was accomplishing by attending the SJ tea party on the 15th, and I had to answer "Probably not much." But then, my one little vote doesn't change the outcome of elections either----and yet, I can not imagine I would not vote because of that. There is something about standing up to be counted, and the physical act of casting my vote which makes my beliefs more concrete, more real, more in-this-world---and that all is good for ME. And Hale is right, it can add up to something that does make a difference--if not for the world, at least for me.

LB said...

Excellent point, Beth. My actions need to make a difference to me. And they do.