I came across a beautiful piece written by Carol recently.
“Morning Coffee Reflections” is a narration of Carol’s childhood memories as a 3rd grader who chose to recite Edward Rowland Sill’s poem “The Fool’s Prayer” in class, as well as her journey and thoughts on openness, truth and social nature.
The Child Clown
The poem’s protagonist was the court jester. When required by the King to provide frivolous entertainment in the ill-suited form of a prayer, the Jester prayed aloud for forgiveness of his own follies and mistakes, while alluding the same foibles to the Court. It follows that at the end of the day, instead of taking offense, the King chose to quietly heed wise counsel. The contrast is subtly intimated in Carol’s recollections: Carol’s teacher was less amused by her 3rd grader’s thought provoking poem, and subsequently banished her from future participation in class.
The point? We have much to reflect on to better ourselves, yet there is room for improvement when it comes to being positive to enlightening truth / a mirror. Like the King perhaps, we can learn to listen to/follow a wise critic, “like we would, a map to hidden treasure.”, and like the Jester, we can have the courage to convey the facts when required (albeit gently).
Happiness is a state of mind, but pass basic contentment, it does help additionally if we become better people and our surroundings improve through truth and consideration..
“Fool” Training School
I have reproduced the “The Fool’s Prayer” below, but I profess I am wanting of Carol’s great skill to delight with her elegant weaves, light touch and vivid imagery. Hence, a visit to her blog “Voices from the Margins” to savour the treat and peruse the original emphasis is much warranted (it differs slightly from my more general view re humility, courage and consideration), and highly recommended.
Do enjoy the reads and interesting opinions!
The Fool’s Prayer
Edward Rowland Sill (1841 – 1887)
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!
” ‘Tis 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 clense 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!”
Image Credits: Pan-American Coffee Bureau, Katherine Kirkland, Richard Elzey