This I Believe
Peter La Count
This, I Believe that everybody should, within his or her life time, commit to memory at least one poem. Poetry and poets strive to understand the essential beauty that exists in the world. Often times as we see bad things going on around us it is easy to forget the fact the beauty exists everywhere– in friends, family, strangers and the natural world around us.
The poem I have committed to memory is the St. Crispian’s day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. I love this poem because I believe that poetry matters and Shakespeare matters. To set the scene, Henry’s army is surrounded and faces insurmountable odds. I think of his rallying speech every time I am faced with a challenge I feel like I can not overcome. His willingness to inspire and to sacrifice all for his soldiers always seems to give me courage. In short he says:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
I believe that poetry matters; that great literature can inspire us to do great things and to be better people. I believe that committing a poem to memory is something to be proud of and that inspiration may carry you through difficult times.