An Old Poem and Lesson

One of my favorite poems is Edward Rowland Still’s The Fool’s Prayer. I hope you like it too. He was born in 1841 and died in 1897


The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: “Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!”

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch’s silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: “O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

“No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

“‘T’is not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
‘Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

“These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

“The ill-timed truth we might have kept–
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say–
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

“Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders — oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

“Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!”

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
“Be merciful to me, a fool!”



Starbucks Observations

I’ll be in the Big Apple next week and I always go in early to watch the show. One time I sat at a Starbucks coffee counter in New York City watching the passersby out the window in front of me. I had some time to kill before a meeting. There was a bus stop there too, so I had a plethora of humanity from which to observe.

Here are some observations about people.

Very Fat
Very thin
Well dressed
Nearly undressed
Nose rings
Collar rings
On the phone
Security on Segways
Traffic Cops
Parking ticket agents
Heavy coats
No coats
Muslim by dress
African by dress
Red hair
Yellow hair
Green hair
Purple hair
No hair
Short hair
Long hair
Short dresses
Long dresses
High boots
High heels
Army boots
Babies sleeping
Babies crying
Toddlers clinging
Toddlers wandering
There was so much more than I can remember and all of these observations were within 25-minutes.

Ain’t life wonderful.

Good Grief!


Did you hear? Nordstroms, the high-end department store, is now selling mud covered Blue Genes for $425 a pair. The mud is fake, but the cost is real. They look like something out of depression that hadn’t been washed ever.

The Nordstrom ad says: “the jeans are “rugged, Americana workwear that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.”

Criticism of Nordstrom’s is coming from everywhere. And it should.

$425 for a pair of fake muddy genes? What have we become?


I got thinking about borders the other day. You know the borders between, yards, towns, states, and countries. My thought concentration was on the borders of countries. The United States has a very lengthy border between the US and Canada. We have another contentious border with Mexico.

I then moved my thinking into another realm. I chose Heaven. Why not! In my fantasy place, there were no borders, fences, walls, or checkpoints to pass from one place to the other.

It was an interesting dichotomy.

Then came the finite earthly questions in my wonderings. Why on this sentient and nourishing planet do we have borders? Why when all ancient disciplines teach and preach that there is enough for all and we still see intrusion as an attack on our safety and comfort. If, in spirit, we see the other as equal, then why in form are we so protective?

The answer is probably perceived in differences and in that acknowledgment comes protections. Protections are needed to accommodate fear; fear is the needed emotion to precipitate change and encourage the difficult task of letting go.

Letting Go of Fear always brings us to love.