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The Elders Speak

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Below is the poem entitled The Elders Speak which was written by poet Jim Fish. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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The Elders Speak

The elders speak in timeless tones to reconcile the past, And offer truths from which we choose to fill the roles we're cast. But though the sage will muse how well the truths can guide our way, So few will heed and recognize the worth of what they say. The elders speak a sacred tongue in soft and whispered tone, Of olden days and simpler ways, of souls who now are gone. They tell of lies and blunders made throughout the ages passed, And beg we put their truths to pen, for all to know at last. They come to me at varied times and occupy my thought With facts and lore of times before, and other things they've brought. They seek to put a record straight or make an error right, When history's lacking in some way and needs a ray of light. At first, I’d cringe in shock and awe, was overwhelmed and dazed. At times, I’d feel too small to deal with issues that they raised. "What should I do?" I asked myself, “Why should I care at all?” But time has shown that I should trust the wisdom of their call. I honed my skills and craftsmanship, and dedicated time. I lent my pen and acumen, and love of word and rhyme. I judged them not for wrongs they did, their ignorance or views, For though they erred, the lessons learned are much to dear to lose. It's not so much the words they say, or lives they lived and lost, Or ways they tried to go and guide, no matter what it cost. But what they learned from what they did and left for us to muse, Much more than gold and treasured gems, are lessons wrought with truths.
I believe many of us charged with making our history palatable for the generations to come get far too involved in our own sensitivities. We seem to place inordinate significance on our judgement of our ancestors' ignorance, wrongs done to one another, and politics. As a result, we overlook the value of the lessons learned and passed along with their legacy. It is the cost of the wrongs done, the lives lost, and the errors made that inflates the value of the lessons from which we have to learn... and leaving those lessons in the past is yet a greater cost, or loss, as the case may be.

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  1. Date: 7/7/2011 2:07:00 PM
    A most worthwhile piece here Jim, well worth you time to put this down. God bless you..

  1. Date: 12/8/2009 5:48:00 AM
    I love this poem, Jim. Every word had personal meaning to me because I was very close to both of my grandmothers and they both wanted me to write about their lives. That was long before writing was me... One died at age 98 and the other one at age 99. They learned a lot through their lives and we shared many ideas. Still, I have not written all. Your skills are definitely well honed and I want to give you thanks for writing and sharing this poem. Lovingly, Dane Ann (soup mail)

  1. Date: 12/7/2009 3:45:00 AM
    in memory of good elders'

  1. Date: 12/4/2009 5:35:00 PM
    An elder myself now, I am so sorry that I let time run out before I learned all there was to learn from my elders. So many of the young people have no idea of how tough their ancestors had and I would like to have more facts to pass down. I had one grandma who lived near me in my young years and I am sure had a rich store of memories had I had the good sense at the time to have listened. Thank you Jim for your poetry. Love, Joyce

  1. Date: 11/28/2009 9:56:00 PM
    Your poetry is storylike..I like your style.

  1. Date: 11/16/2009 2:18:00 AM
    Stirring write, Jim! This is absolutely a treasure to all who value truth and wisdom! Thank you for this important reminder of our heritage that is sometimes forgotten, misplaced, or covererd up! Hugs, Donna

  1. Date: 11/13/2009 4:52:00 PM
    Amen! Sometimes the simplist cures are the ones ignored for they require changes in "habits" which folks are not willing to invest the effort in doing NO MATTER the cost of not doing it. Light & Love

  1. Date: 11/8/2009 11:33:00 AM
    Great topic good flow I like this piece

  1. Date: 10/16/2009 11:02:00 AM
    Superb. I can tell you that I wish that I had written this. I would like to hear this as a vocal performance on audio. It should be there, as it reads like verse. Thank you for your kind remembrance of me. Sorry about so long getting back to you all, but I was moving all last month and I have finally gotten up and running. Regards, Gerard

  1. Date: 10/12/2009 3:05:00 PM
    This is a very insightful poem, Jim. There is much we can learn from the elders about past mistakes and ways to avoid thm in the future. Perfect tempo and impeccable rhyme make this a brilliant write! (I was also pleased to read your comment on Vince's blog. Couldn't agree more with what you said.) Love, Carolyn