Featured Poem: Life by Charlotte Bronte

In this week’s browse through the archives we’ve unearthed a beauty by Charlotte Bronte and a lovely piece written by our former colleague Lizzie who chose Life to celebrate a colleague’s success (and half marathon-survival).

This week’s Featured Poem comes from Lizzie, Communications Assistant, who gives us an encouraging view of ‘Life’ springing up against adversity through the words of Charlotte Bronté – which have also proved to be an important point of inspiration for a namesake of the poet in question…

It was my turn to bring the poem to our weekly Communications Team meeting here at Reader headquarters recently, and I wanted to find a poem for my colleague Charlotte, who was about to run the Yorkshireman Half Marathon on behalf of The Reader’s Apprenticeship for Life campaign. “Something by Charlotte Bronté” was all I’d managed to come up with, so I was delighted to stumble across Life immediately – I don’t think I could have found a more appropriate poem if I’d tried.

We had a lively discussion in the meeting – the poem is certainly a stirring piece, but is it too cheery? Too blasé about suffering and sadness? There’s more than a hint of a ‘get over it’ mentality, something which isn’t necessarily very helpful when you’re going through something difficult; when you’re struggling, sometimes you just need sympathy and understanding. However, we do have to find a way to deal with what life throws at us, and that wonderful image of hope enduring, “elastic springs” buoyant with golden wings, points at the glimmer of possibility for a brighter future.

So what of Charlotte’s marathon – was she inspired by her namesake? She completed the grueling course in a very respectable time, despite damaging her knee, raising nearly £300 for our Apprenticeship campaign. I like to think a little bit of Charlotte Bronté helped her along the way.

Life

Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day.
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom,
O why lament its fall?

Rapidly, merrily,
Life’s sunny hours flit by,
Gratefully, cheerily,
Enjoy them as they fly!

What though Death at times steps in
And calls our Best away?
What though sorrow seems to win,
O’er hope, a heavy sway?
Yet hope again elastic springs,
Unconquered, though she fell;
Still buoyant are her golden wings,
Still strong to bear us well.

Manfully, fearlessly,
The day of trial bear,
For gloriously, victoriously,
Can courage quell despair!

Charlotte Bronté

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