Sunday, May 30, 2010

A look at the mindset of Yesterday's Warriors

A few months back my wife was rummaging through some of her old papers of her mothers and found the following poem inside a world map folded into a small pamphlet. I thought what a great way to show what the men of that time period thought about honor and self worth. It was written by Edmond Vance Cook and the poem I have was printed on a small 3X5 paper with a logo of "American YMCA, Paris and it was dated, 1918. The card itself is frayed around the edges and looks well worn....

HOW DID I DIE ?

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful ?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it.
It isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts
But only how did you take it ?

You are beaten to earth ? Well, well, what's that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there - that's disgrace
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce:
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts;
It's how did you fight - and why?

And though you be done to the death, what then?
if you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl,or it comes with a pounce,
and whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that your dead that counts,
But only how did you die?

Edmond Vance Cook

When I read this poem I thought, How far we have come from that time to this...today, we don't want to be hurt no matter how and today it's OK for men to cry, but back then that was not the mark of a man...he was suppose to grin and bear it. "it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game."
As I mulled over the words in this poem, I thought of the men who might have read it and the time???? It was the Great war,,,The war to end all wars.....WW1 in Paris, France.....They were in the thick of it and here was a poem telling the men, it isn't if you die, it's how you do it that counts.....Wow!!

17 comments:

In_spired said...

This has much to say to all of us, if we but heed the words.

A very profound poem,Tap. A fitting tribute for Memorial Day. Thanks for posting it.

Take care and stay well. Peace to you and your household.

Tapline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tapline said...

Thanks for stopping by....When I was in Paris years ago, I remembered that the first American Legion Post was located there, but I didn't join to get a card from post number 1. I never thought of the YMCA as being located there also.....stay well...

WomanHonorThyself said...

hiya Tap!..what wonderful insight my friend..thanks for shoring me up and keeping the faith!!

Seane-Anna said...

What a great poem, Tap! It's an inspiration to me in my "war" against cancer, which I'm winning, I'm happy to report. Thanks for posting this and thanks for your kind words of support.

Tapline said...

Seane-Anna, I'm glad you got a lift from the poem and ,God willing, your prayers will be answered and youw will be Cancer free.....God Bless.....

crabby old man said...

It takes a special person to die graceful . hope when my time comes I will be able to do so

Tapline said...

Angel, Sorry, I didn't answer you comment before but I do read you blog daily....Thanks for stopping by.....


Crabby, I noticed that much of the propaganda for that period was being brave in the face of adversity, unlike today unless you are a warrior,(military) one does not possess these qualities.....At least they don't show it.....stay well my friend.....

In_spired said...

Have a happy and safe 4th of July, Tap.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. (Psalm 33:12)

Joe said...

Is it more important how one dies, or how one lives?

WomanHonorThyself said...

thanks Tap for comin faithfully by at WHT..hey come to WHT today to work up an appetite..heh

In_spired said...

Just touching base with you, Mr. Tap. Hope all is well with you and your family.

Our daughter, her husband and 2 children spent 4 days in Rockland, Maine last week. Said it was one of the most beautiful places they had seen. Quite different from Texas!! I thought about you when they called and told us where they were.

I miss your blog...though I haven't done my justice either. Take care and stay well...

Tapline said...

inspired, Thanks for stopping by. I was about 50 miles from them further east toward Bar Harbor, where I have been most of the summer....just came back to check in with the doctor and get refilled medication....It is indeed a place touched by God....stay well...

Tapline said...

Joe, Thanks for stopping by,,,,I am not certain which is more important, I do think that what the writers of that period were trying to get across to the populance was how honorable it was to die with honor. Living, it was understood that if one deviated from the norm it would not be tolerated by the public....stay well.... and again thanks for the visit...I enjoy your blog.....

Honor......Thanks for stopping by and I will visit your blog again. I continue to do it daily when I'm here....stay well....

Inspired,,,I was at camp over the 4th and surpisingly,,,I was reading some responsive reading in a 1910 hymnal and came across a passage in Isiah,,,,I can't remember the exact chapter and verse but it referred to a nation who no longer follows God will perish. I thought,,,,how appropriate especially today in this world of ours..With God being pushed out daily...Thanks for stopping by......God Bless and stay well....

WomanHonorThyself said...

thanks again Tap for all your support..always a pleasure to read your insights and comments at WHT!

Shah Alexander said...

Will some one compose a song with this lyric?

WomanHonorThyself said...

hope your'e having a blessed weekend my friend!:)