Real Courage


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“The Abnormal Is Not Courage”Jack Gilbert

The Poles rode out from Warsaw against the German
Tanks on horses. Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers,
A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace.
And yet this poem would lessen that day. Question
The bravery. Say it’s not courage. Call it a passion.
Would say courage isn’t that. Not at its best.
It was impossib1e, and with form. They rode in sunlight,
Were mangled. But I say courage is not the abnormal.
Not the marvelous act. Not Macbeth with fine speeches.
The worthless can manage in public, or for the moment.
It is too near the whore’s heart: the bounty of impulse,
And the failure to sustain even small kindness.
Not the marvelous act, but the evident conclusion of being.
Not strangeness, but a leap forward of the same quality.
Accomplishment. The even loyalty. But fresh.
Not the Prodigal Son, nor Faustus. But Penelope.
The thing steady and clear. Then the crescendo.
The real form. The culmination. And the exceeding.
Not the surprise. The amazed understanding. The marriage,
Not the month’s rapture. Not the exception. The beauty
That is of many days. Steady and clear.
It is the normal excellence, of long accomplishment.

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About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
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9 Responses to Real Courage

  1. Cat Forsley says:

    SERIOUSLY AWESOME .

    • John says:

      Thank you, Cat, for reading and for commenting!

      • Cat Forsley says:

        JOHN …..
        SORRY I HAVE MISSED A FEW OF YOUR POSTS …. SERIOUSLY MY FRIEND ….
        YOU WRITE SO WELL – AND A FEW SLIPPED BY MY EMAIL – SO I AM GOING BACK TO READ ………………….
        YOU REALLY HAVE A WONDERFUL STRONG VOICE – IN YOUR WRITING STYLE – I ALWAYS WANT TO DISCUSS …..!!!!!!
        SOMETIMES YOUR POSTS GIVE ME A GUT REACTION – LIKE ……….. SO RIGHT !!!!!!!!!
        LIKE I WANT TO REACH INTO THE COMPUTER AND SHAKE YOUR HAND TO SAY THANKS FOR WRITING ABOUT REAL LOVE – REAL COURAGE ……… JUST REAL …..
        🙂

        • John says:

          Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Cat! And thank you for the hand shake 🙂

          We live in a time where so many words and concepts and ideas are just thrown around with little to no idea about what the concept or idea reall means. Love and courage are powerful ideals that need to be delved into and examined, because these are ideals that we can devote ourselves to and build a very meaningful life around. So many people say “I love you,” but seem to say it simply for the gratification of hearing themselves say it and of having another say it back to them; they seem to have no real idea what “Love” actually is or might be or might mean. And that’s a shame.

          Thanks again for reading and commenting, Cat 🙂

          Warmest regards,

          John

          • Cat Forsley says:

            WARM REGARDS TO U AS WELL …
            WHEN I WRITE I LOVE YOU – I MEAN IT UNIVERSALLY ………….I CALL THAT ALL LOVE …..
            HOW CAN WE NOT LOVE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING – WE ARE ALL THE SAME …
            WE HAVE HEARTS ………

            IN RELATIONSHIPS …..
            ONE ON ONE
            IT TAKES TIME TO SAY “I LOVE YOU ”
            BUT I ALWAYS LOVE UNIVERSALLY …..

            IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO ME TO ….
            CALL ME A CHEEZBALL OR WHATEVER ……
            BUT LOVE IS THE ONLY EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS ….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            🙂
            HERE IS A SONG FOR YOU …..:)
            “ALWAYS LOVE ”

            • John says:

              Thank you for the song–it’s lovely!

              And I know that the point of my post is about the behaviors of Love–the intentions are important. But how we translate those intentions of goodness and benevolance and kindness and even Love into real world actions and behaviors in our daily interactions is key. To me, that’s the crucial thing–how do we actually go through this world and act as often as possible with some semblance of Love, gratitude, appreciation, understanding, forebearance, patience, courage, kindness, warmth, especially to those who are not going through the world like this–those who are living selfishly, blindly, arrogantly, deceptively, manipulatively, et cetera. How do we translate our intentions and our inner goodness and compassion into real world acts of Love and goodness and compassion?

              Thank you again, Cat, for the comment and the song! Both were lovely 🙂

              • Cat Forsley says:

                UR WELCOME
                …. TO ME 🙂
                WE ACT IN A LOVING COMPASSIATE WAY
                LOCALLY !!!!!
                KEEPING UNIVERSAL LOVE IN HEART AT ALL TIMES …..
                WE MAKE IT SO MUCH MORE THAN IT HAS TO BE …………. 🙂

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