Honors Senior Scholar
Christian Campbell - Liberal Arts
Honors Senior Scholar Christian Campbell's poem is meant to be a conversation between himself and his grandfather. Interestingly, he never met his grandfather but he was told he is a lot like him, so writing this poem was that much more meaningful to Christian. Just to note, the italicized sections were written by his grandfather.
Audio by Christian https://soundcloud.com/user-944611401/desktop
Grandpa Joslyn had seen the place I had been in lately.
My body was in safety
it was mainly my mind that was harder to find.
The unraveling of one truth
led to the abandoning of another
until I was falling down under
and didn't really mind the plunder.
He was worried
but I told him I was young
my life had just begun
and I was just trying to have some fun.
He believed I should
but cautioned that
a boy who steals a penny in childhood
will steal a pound in manhood.
Though I wasn't stealing
what he said I understood.
Patterns can turn into ways of being
so before I walk down a path without seeing it all
I need to halt a bit
Grandpa Josyln said it like this:
Stop, look and listen before you cross the street.
Use your eyes, use your ears then use your feet.
Alright I said.
That sounds like something I can complete.
I'm ready, send me on a fleet!
Grandpa Josyln chuckled at the wonder in my eyes
that shined as if moon lit.
He told me
ambition is the gas of life, step on it.
But don't forget to keep your feet on the brake of self control.
Okay I said.
I'll try to balance these things and stay afloat
but truth be told it looks like I'm alone.
It seems everyone has this balance thing down
and I'll be the only one to fall on the ground.
I can't do it, I cried.
Don't say you can't before you try
he said with a stern eye.
For if you are helped by others
then its they that do the work
Doing no work? Is that true?
How could that make him blue? I thought.
So I asked him
wouldn't you want to hit the jackpot?
Imagine never having to work again
only partaking in gin
and the occasional sin.
Apparently my words he did not enjoy.
By and by is a very bad boy
He told me without much joy.
Shun him at once and forever
for they who travel with by and by
soon come to the house of never.
I didn't know why
the ways of by and by
were such a crime.
Their highs made me feel divine
and were even easy to climb.
While I wondered
Grandpa Josyln was hushed
until I was done
then he said, son
The heights that great men reached and kept
were not obtained by sudden flights
but in the meantime while their companions slept
they were toiling upward through the night.
These words he spoke just seemed right.
While the heights of by and by were nice
they came at a step price.
We always came down so quick.
Either that or eventually we'd all just quit.
So I have to admit
the long game of success Grandpa Joslyn spoke of
might just be the trick.
Even though I knew this to be the truth
before I started, I needed proof
that this long route would bear sweet fruits.
My hesitation turned into stagnation
so Grandpa Joslyn said with clear dictation
Whenever a task is set for you
don't view it or wish it to be done
begin at once and do it.
When he spoke these words
I viewed him as a hypocrite
his words were split.
Before he told me to "stop, look and listen"
but now I'm supposed to jump right into this mission?
Why can't I just take my time
Everything will be fine.
Before I could even vocalize this to him
he had this to say
If you in the morning throw minutes away
you can't pick them up through the course of the day
you may hurry and worry and scurry and flurry
but you have lost them forever.
No, not forever.
There must be some clever way around this
or all this time would have been wasted in the abyss.
At that moment I decided
it doesn't matter whether the weather gets better
I have to take ownership over my path now.
• • •
It had been awhile now
since I heeded the words Grandpa Joslyn told
and I was still on that road.
Along the way
I saw sights that brightened my day.
But I had also seen scenes full of woe.
Through it all though
I was balancing ambition and self control.
But even so
I could feel myself beginning to fold.
I had too much to carry
and could barely keep my feet.
Suddenly I could feel Grandpa Joslyn
and I could hear him speak.
He asked me
Are you weary with your load?
Are you stumbling on the road?
I told him yes I guess
to which he said
here is a word to be your gold
I'd rather not
I told him
up ahead things don't look too clear
and back there it was so much easier to steer
I may just stop here.
To this he said
Do you think you'll fail today?
Are you feeling dull and grey?
Keep on your way
I'll put on a brave face and have some faith.
But won't there be days I'm in a daze
and I'll feel like I can't escape the haze?
Sometimes my life feels full of plight.
So many different things are magnificent
that I forget I too am significant.
I was never really told to dream
just to lay low
and not cause a scene
or I'd be beaten with a beam.
Grandpa Joslyn agreed that
whipping sounds a little odd
but it don't mean whipping with a rod
Oh, there is a message to every wreckage?
Yes he expressed
It means to teach your kin as much as you can
what is fine, bright and fair
And that's when I knew I had a flare to share.
I had been through dark days
when all I could do is spark and gaze
at a life with a little less strife
that always seemed an arms length away.
But one day I reached the other way.
I reached inside myself and found
away went my malaise.
I may only be a drop of water in the ocean
but don't I make up the sea?
Maybe there's more to me
Agree to disagree but I know
we're all here to make our own decree.
Yes! Grandpa Joslyn said.
He was rather impressed.
He had given me all his knowledge
There was nothing left except for me to
Speak the truth
speak it boldy and never fear
speak it so that all may hear.
The truth is best in age and youth
speak the truth.