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Aug 31, 2020 - Feature of the Week

A Warrior Poet's Words

Alfred Lord Tennyson
Poet Laureate of England, 19th Century

He hardly looks like a warrior, doesn’t he? Yet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of England during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 to 1901), was a warrior, as we all are, frankly.

In fact, each of us goes to war every day, battling issues specific to our karma. No one is immune from the fray, from being forced to fight both our external problems and internal demons. It’s part of life in this world.

The question, however, is how well we fight, how well we battle the forces assailing us. Do we acquiesce to the onslaught of slings and arrows, or do we stand and deliver, even attack if need be, our most vicious foes, be those foes physical, emotional, psychological, financial, familial, professional, spiritual.

As all great writers, Tennyson had a depth of thought and feeling transcending the norm of human kind. That’s why he was great. He felt, he thought, he suffered, he cried, and through it all penned some of the most memorable and historic works of literature the world has ever known.

One of his most famous poems is Ulysses. The full poem can be read at the link. The last nine lines of Ulysses are shared here. Pay attention to the last line, especially. It echoes a great truth for every one of us who seeks to succeed and conquer.

Alfred Lord Tennyson
(final nine lines)
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


© 2020 by Richard Andrew King & Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts